A copyright isn’t supposed to be a reward. It’s supposed to be an incentive.
The good news for poetry lovers is that Frost’s estate doesn’t act like a movie studio or recording label and hurl “cease and desist” letters at everyone who reproduces the poem without permission. YouTube is full of children reciting “Stopping by Woods” as well as videos dramatizing the poem, including clay animation and Lego versions. Every one is a potential copyright violation.
Or maybe not. It all depends on the limits of “fair use.” Eugene Volokh, a law professor at the University of California at Los Angeles, notes that those cute kids rattling off Frost’s lines are “highly unlikely to be a substitute for any licensed video recordings or audio recordings.” The only way to be sure whether their performances qualify as fair use is to litigate the question and few proud parents with a video camera and a YouTube account have a fund reserved for court challenges. The costs of litigation make copyright more expansive than it is on the books. (For protection from charges of infringement, YouTube generally removes videos when someone alleges a copyright violation, even in cases of clear-cut fair use, such as a snippet of President Obama singing a copyrighted song that was used in a Mitt Romney ad.)
Vigorous enforcement of Frost’s copyright would hamper the spread of his poetry and deter new creative works illustrating it -- producing the exact opposite effect intended by the framers of the Constitution’s copyright clause.
Still looking at it myself, but something has to be done.
I am sort of a 'not interested in government being involved' kinda guy, so taking it away from special interests seems to be the way I lean.
We will see what happens as this thing plays out.
I suspect changes in the wind... and the old, tired, out of touch Hollywood folks are gonna kick and scream.
What gets lost is the small guy... someone like me. And you.
But I guess we are used to that.