None of us object to those who create original works receiving payment for their labours. But those of us who place stuff online — usually stuff long forgotten, where the creators have never received much, and are in any case long gone — find it a real problem. The problem is that copyright has become too extensive, too all-encompassing, too much under the control of the publishing lobby and too little sanity-checked.
I had an email today, which drew my attention to some remarkable posts. There is a useful discussion of copyfraud here, the practice of claiming non-existent copyright. The penalties for this piece of malevolence are negligible, and I have never heard of a prosecution for it.
The author also points out that major corporations are not only quite willing to borrow content from bloggers and others who contribute their efforts for free. Those corporations go even further, and demand that the bloggers indemnify the corporation for its “risk”! That is, a major corporation, stuffed to the gills with money and lawyers, transfers all the responsibility of compliance and all the financial penalties to those whom it uses. Rightly is this called exploitation.
But which of us has the power to clean out this cesspit of vested interests?