Friday, March 16, 2012

Copyright Laws

March 15, 2012

Dear Mr. President,

            My name is Crystal. I am a student at Parkway West Middle, and I am writing you today to share my thoughts about copyright laws.

            Through my childhood, I spent much of my free time on the internet. I noticed how content would sometimes disappear. As I got older, I started reading about why this happened and learned that it was due to copyright infringement. Then the January 18th SOPA protests occurred. Many people were frustrated and did not believe the bill would solve any problems. Some were even against copyright as a whole. But in the end, the general consensus was that copyright laws needed revision for the age of the internet, file sharing, and piracy.

            Revisions are necessary because current laws do not protect the rights of consumers. For example, it is only legal to store computer programs as personal backups. This does not extend to music and movies. If a person purchases a CD, he or she should be able to store its contents without fearing prosecution. We should protect this right. Personal backups do not harm the sale of work. They can only have benefits, such as allowing consumers to retrieve media that have been lost or destroyed.

            Furthermore, copyright lasts for the duration of the creator's life plus 70 years. What can a creator do with rights to a work if he or she passed away 30 years ago? Nothing, and no one else can use the work for another 40 years. Only 2% of works 55 to 75 years old have commercial value today. Works that old should be in the public domain and usable by everyone for art, education, and anything else. However, nothing will enter the public domain in the United States until 2019. The public domain has actually been shrinking with copyright extensions being retroactively applied to works with copyright that had already expired.

            As President, you can suggest legislation in speeches that would better protect consumers' rights and reduce the copyright term. This benefits everyone in the nation and helps make the United States even better.

            I appreciate all of the work you do and your service to the country. Thank you for your time.



Parkway West Middle

      Ballwin, MO

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