Will Shetterly at It’s all one thing shows what will happen if the protection of intellectual property and the extension of copyright continue their recent trend. See “The People Who Owned the Bible”. The only quibble I would have is that McDonald’s would almost certainly grab the rights to Macbeth. On the other hand, one unintended but welcome consequence would be that people who quote the Bible on behalf of the Republicans would have to pay for the privilege. Excerpt:
It was time for another Mickey Mouse Copyright Extension to keep Disney’s star property out of the public domain. Somebody’s nephew had a bright idea. Instead of telling Congress to add the standard twenty years to the length of copyright, why not go for the big time? Extend copyright by 500 years.
Somebody’s niece added a smarter reason: A 500 year extension would let Disney track down Shakespeare’s heirs and buy all rights to the Bard. No matter how much the heirs wanted, the deal would pay for itself in no time.