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George Carless wrote:
> 
> What it is is ludicrous and unintelligent and counter to the
> entire spirit of copyright as it was intended.
> Perhaps the best solution is a good bit of civil
> disobedience: copy and paste and redistribute the bloody
> poems at will.  Copyright law is a mess.

The current law makes things worse.  Let's say that at some time
in the future (2158) someone wants to write about the
distribution of new poetry on the internet with an anthology of
examples.  And further suppose a good early example was a poem
written by "cyberpoet" and submitted to a webpage at example.com
in 1995.  Even with no copyright notice on the page there was a
copyright holder in 1995 that we might assume to be "cyberpoet."
At an early adoption of the use of the internet we might assume
that "cyberpoet" was young.  Let's say 20 yo. So, plugging in a
male's birtdate of 1/1/1975 into http://www.deathclock.com gives
an optimistic day of death just short of 2061 and adding 70 years
of copyright protection to heirs or assignees of 70 years after
death means the poem COULD be expected to enter the public domain
in 2131.  But it wouldn't be so unusual for someone to live 30
years past the statisically expected date of death.  So, it is
actually possible for a currently 13 year old poem to still be
under copyright protection over 150 years from now.

We could (maybe) track down "cyberpoet" to a name of John Smith,
find out which Smith in which city, trace his movements and
marriages and children over 80 years and contact every single
descendant to see if they have the copyright or all share equally
in it.  Let's say that 150 descendants all agree to relinquish the
copyright and we publish it.  Then we get sued because "cyberpoet"
signed away his rights to his best friend when he lost a bar bet.
Then that guy's great-great-grandchild in turn gets sued because
we have another claimant who also has a contract giving him
cyberpoet's copyright because fifty years later cyberpoet made and
lost a similar bet.

Regards,
    Rick Parker