In response to: Fair Use Rights by David Bradley
Copyright is a taking of a public benefit for a private entity. This was put into law in order to increase the total public benefit. The idea was that taking from the public to provide the creator a limited-term, exclusive, government-granted, right to their work would encourage individuals to invest their time in creating works that would benefit society.
So the debate is properly about how great the taking from the public should be. It seem to me the current situation is completely corrupt. Many of the actions are taking public benefit to provide to the private entity where no possible public benefit exists. Extending copyright periods of long ago created works, where obviously the public is harmed purely for private benefit. No possible argument can be made that their is a payoff to the public for this taking.
If you wanted to take such an action and made it only for new work then their could be an argument that now a creator knows they have 100 years of government provided rights and therefore investing more time and effort in their work creates new and better work. I don’t believe this argument but at least it is possible. The current actions though are mainly about large companies using government to take from the public to provide themselves private benefit with no corresponding public benefit.
Lawrence Lessig is the person who has the best insight in this area, in my opinion: The Value of the Public Domain.
Fair use is the right to reference (and quote limited portions of) works that have been granted government copyright protection. This is integral to the whole idea of creating the greatest public benefit (even while providing some government imposed limits on public rights to the creator). The large companies now are using lawyers to greatly increase the harm to society by expanding the taking of public benefit. They threaten and scare many into paying fees (or completely avoiding works that have been granted limited government granted copyright rights) where none are are rightly due (see Lawrence Lessig for examples). This causes great harm to society for the private benefit of a few. This is an obvious failure of government. Those countries that are successful at adopting more sensible systems are going to have a great advantage over those countries that chose to continue to increasingly bad practices of harming society to benefit a few private interests.
Related: What is Wrong with Copyright Taking Public Good for Private Special Interests – Innovation and Creative Commons – Diplomacy and Science Research – More Government Waste – Crazy Watchmen – General Air Travel Taxes Subsidizing Private Plane Airports – China and the Sugar Industry Tax Consumers