“The natural home for ideas and creations is in the commonwealth, the public domain. We cleverly give the creators of ideas and art and inventions a temporary monopoly for their creations outside of the commonwealth in order to encourage them to make more new things. That is good. For a while that temporary period in the US was 58 years after the work was created for copyright and 17 years for patents.”
When copyright was first brought into law in the UK (1709) the terms were 21 years for books already in print and 14 years for new ones, with an additional 14 years if the author was still alive when the first term ran out.
“Unfortunately, as creators became corporations, they have lobbied for laws (and financially supported the elections of lawmakers) that have extended the “temporary” period till it is in effect, unlimited for copyright.”
Also: Copyright and Wrong - Why the rules on copyright need to return to their roots
“The notion that lengthening copyright increases creativity is questionable. Authors and artists do not generally consult the statute books before deciding whether or not to pick up pen or paintbrush. And overlong copyrights often limit, rather than encourage, a work’s dissemination, impact and influence. “