According to a study by Rufus Pollock, an economics PhD candidate at Cambridge University, the most economically sensible copyright term is a staggering... fourteen years.
The entire paper, titled "Forever Minus a Day? Some Theory and Empirics of Optimal Copyright", will be presented in Berlin this week, but it's already available for download as a 256k .pdf file from Pollock's website.
Warning: I just had a quick flick through it, and there's a lot of Greek symbols in the latter half of the thing.
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