Joost Smiers and Marieke van Schijndel in the International Herald Tribune:
Copyright was once a means to guarantee artists a decent income. Aside from the question as to whether it ever actually functioned as such – most artists never made a penny from the copyright system – we have to admit that copyright serves an altogether different purpose in the contemporary world. It now is the tool that conglomerates in the music, publishing, imaging and movie industries use to control their markets.
These industries decide whether the materials they have laid their hands on may be used by others – and, if they allow it, under what conditions and for what price. European and American legislation extends them that privilege for a window of no less than 70 years after the passing of the original author. The consequences? The privatization of an ever-increasing share of our cultural expressions, because this is precisely what copyright does. Our democratic right to freedom of cultural and artistic exchange is slowly but surely being taken away from us.