I hate copyright

And I’m an author.

Here’s the problem: copyright doesn’t serve any of the semi-noble purposes it was intended to.

I’m writing a book and I wanted to use some great old photos I found. But the magazine they were in had long gone out of business and the photographer, as best I could determine, was dead. None of the big archivers (Corbis, Getty, etc) had bought up an archive that owned the photos.

So we had two choices: skip using them or scan them from the printed material and run them ourselves, and if someone came forward and claimed the rights, we’d have to either pay them off or go to court. We skipped.

These are fifty-year old photos with no locatable owner. And that’s one example – I have a whole folder here with photos I can’t figure out how to clear. It’s crazy. No one’s helped by this situation.

Why? So Disney can keep Mickey Mouse out of the public domain. The public domain is great! Everyone wins with public domain! I’m seriously thinking about releasing all my short stories (and anything else I can pull this off for) under a Creative Commons license just to avoid inflicting anything like this on future generations.

2 thoughts on “I hate copyright

  1. Scraps

    Yeah. Copyright’s useful for the living creator, but sucks for the dead (if they care), and sucks for the preservation of the arts. I used to edit old westerns, and we often weren’t able to use pieces by long-dead authors because either we couldn’t find out who owned the copyright (or locate the owner); or the owner of the copyright would have ridiculous ideas of what they could demand for the reprint of a novella that hadn’t seen print in decades.

  2. DMZ

    Oh, yeah, and that — one of the reasons people are gunshy about running stuff that’s hazy is the risk that someone comes out of the woodwork and says “that’s my picture, and you owe me $1,000,000!”


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