Do current copyright and patent laws adequately protect today's new and advanced technologies? (e.g., MP3, software code, computer chips, gene therapy) Are their lengths of protection (i.e., limited monopolies) too long or too short?
First, a few definitions:
1) Copyrights: The owner of a registered copyright enjoys the ability of blocking the unauthorized copying or public performance of a work protected by copyright. Depending on how old a work is, whether or not copyright was renewed, when the work was published (if at all), and whether or not it is a work for hire, the U.S. copyright term for a work may be 28 years, 56 years, the life of the author plus 50 years, 75 years from the publication date, or 100 years from the date of creation. These terms are much longer than the 17-year or 20-year term of a U.S. utility patent.
2) Patents: In the United States there are three kinds of patents: utility patents, design patents, and plant patents. A patent permits its owner to exclude members of the public from making, using, or selling the claimed invention. In the United States, the term of a utility patent depends on when the patent application was filed. If the patent issued from an application filed prior to June 8, 1995, the term is the later of (1) 17 years from the date of issuance of the patent, or (2) 20 years from the first U.S. filing date for the ...