Macedition has an interesting Editorial on the changing role of copywright. He argues that copywright is already dead, and says it wasn\'t killed by the internet, but by the motion picture industry, the recording industry and the major publishers. Also check out this Interview with the Head of the RIAA.
\"In the past century, though, the wealthy and powerful have been lobbying long and hard through international consortiums such as WIPO to shift the balance of power back to the publisher. \"
Further He writes
\"Fourteen years became thirty. Then seventy five years. Then it became the life of the copyright holder. Then it became life plus thirty. Now it\'s life plus seventy years, applied retroactively, and ninety-five years if the copyright holder is a corporation instead of a person. No copyright held by a corporation has passed into the public domain since the first World War. Nothing at all has passed into the public domain since the end of the second world war unless the author donated it. As bad as that is, the fallout from the murder of copyright in the music industry is far, far worse. You see, most of the music you hear on the radio is considered \"work for hire\", which means even though the artist created and performed the music, the record studio owns all rights to it. This was unpleasant, but accepted by early recording artists, because, after all, work for hire reverted from its owner to its creator after 35 years. This was changed under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act so record companies, immortal entities, now own the copyrights in effective if not literal perpetuity. Tom Petty and Metallica will never own the music they wrote and performed while under a \"work for hire\" clause. \"