Copyright for anything should be a maximum of ~40 years (more like 15 years), not life of the author plus 50/70 years as it currently is.
I mostly blame Mickey Mouse/Disney and co.
This image is from a blog post by Tom W. Bell at TechLiberation Front.
“In this paper we have developed a simple dynamic model for analysing copyright term. In Proposition 1 we derived a single, simple, equation that defined optimal term as a function of key exogenous variables. Using the estimates for these variables derived from the available empirical data we obtained a point estimate for optimal copyright term of approximately 15 years (with a 99% confidence interval extending up to 38 years). To our knowledge this is the first such estimate which is properly grounded, both theoretically and empirically. This result has significant implications for policy. Copyright term is probably the most important aspect of the overall ‘level’ of copyright. The estimate obtained for optimal term (15 years) is far below the length of copyright in almost all jurisdictions. Furthermore, while an exact point estimate is obviously subject to considerable variation due to the uncertainty in the underlying parameters, we confirmed using a variety of robustness checks that current copyrights are almost certainly too long. This implies that there is a significant role for policy makers to improve social welfare by reducing copyright term as well as indicating that existing terms should not be extended.”
The Pirate Party’s copyright policy is also worth reading.