Mark Helprin Has a Sensible Idea …
… but it's not the one he thinks he's advocating.
In the course of an attempt at defending perpetual copyright, Mark Helprin wrote:
Absent the government’s decree, copyright holders would have no exclusivity of right at all. Does not then the government’s giveth support its taketh? By that logic, should other classes of property not subject to total confiscation therefore be denied the protection of regulatory agencies, courts, police and the law itself lest they be subject to expropriation as payment for the considerable and necessary protections they too enjoy? Should automobile manufacturers be nationalized after 70 years because they depend on publicly financed roads? Should Goldman Sachs be impounded because of the existence of the Securities and Exchange Commission?Since turning copyright over to the public domain is a matter of the government refusing to do something, clearly the equivalent when applied to roads etc. would be the government privatizing roads after 70 years. More generally, if a new technology allegedly requires government help to get off the ground, that help should stop after 70 years. This should have been applied to roads and airports and should be applied to nuclear energy and space travel. It has been applied to the Internet somewhat sooner than after 70 years.