Tom W. Bell, professor of law at Chapman University and author of the concluding essay in Copyright Unbalanced, a new book edited by Surprisingly Free’s own Jerry Brito, discusses the ways in which copyright has evolved over time and why reform is vital.
Bell differentiates copyright from other types of property, arguing that conflating the two terms causes great confusion amongst laypeople and, over time, corrodes the value placed in tangible property rights. According to Bell, copyright is a privilege created by statute that doesn’t exist in a state of nature and is not recognized by common law.
As a special type of economic good, copyright must be treated differently than tangible property rights, according to Bell, who outlines five proposals for copyright reform.
While Bell is not opposed to copyright, he argues that copyright enforcement has gone too far, and lawmakers should structure policies to lead us towards a world in which we conceivably do without it.
- Copyright Unbalanced: From Incentive to Excess, by Brito, et al
- Intellectual Privilege: A Libertarian View of Copyright, Bell
- Copyright Duration and the Mickey Mouse Curve, Tech Liberation Front