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New Judge Posner Blog - "Do patent and copyright law restrict competition and creativity excessively?"


by Barry Werbin

In the current issue of an interesting new blog site started by Judge Richard Posner (7th Circuit) and noted economist Gary Becker, Judge Posner openly opines that the “most serious problem with copyright law is the length of copyright protection” and he argues for a reduction from life + 70 years. In addition, Judge Posner argues that the “next most serious problem is the courts’ narrow interpretation of ‘fair use.’” He argues that “the boundaries of fair use are ill defined, and copyright owners try to narrow them as much as possible… Intellectual creativity in fact if not in legend is rarely a matter of creation ex nihilo; it is much more often incremental improvement on existing, often copyrighted, work, so that a narrow interpretation of fair use can have very damaging effects on creativity. This is not widely recognized.”

Rare publicly voiced opinion of a sitting appellate judge, but then again it is Judge Posner.