Riffing off the Grey Album controversy, Pop Matters columnist Devon Powers writes a lyrical column that implicitly makes the argument for much shorter copyright terms without delving into legalities and economic arguments (Life Goes On). She may even have come up with a new rallying cry to go along with "Free the Mouse":
Something's gotta be done about the Beatles.
Her argument is that too-extensive copyright kills and mummifies culture, our culture, turning cultural touchstones into mere nostalgia:
[T]here's also a deafening cultural silence around the Beatles. Despite being one of the most influential recording acts in history, the Beatles do not allow their music to be sampled... And the Beatles aren't the only act; the collusion of exorbinant fees and copyright censure has made many of the musicians with the loudest cultural resonance into those whose music is only heard today as an echo from the past.
....But to me, it is beyond question that it is certainly time to free ourselves of the cultural nostalgia and legal stagnation that have allowed their music to fossilize. Music journalists must -- and important writing in Rolling Stone, New York Times, and other prominent publications already has -- applaud Danger Mouse's astounding artistic accomplishment, and let their critical praise become part of the discussion about what's at stake as copyright goes awry. And for all of us who hold music dear, we owe it to ourselves to not only let our musical past footnote our musical present, but also allow that past to live and breathe, change and reform, disappear and reappear in unexpected ways.
Indeed. Reading this column I can't help but think, "why not return to the original copyright term of 28 years?" That is approximately a single generation, which would mean that every new generation would be permitted to work with and reimagine the past, introducing older works to a newer audience. As Paul wrote and Devon reiterates: "La, la, la, la, life goes on."