I’d bet you good money that 12/12/12 will be trending all day today on social media and, as many people will be posting about the novelty of it, there will be just as many complaining about it or wondering what the big deal is. And while I don’t usually go for social networking trends or games, I’m not part of the “Who cares?” club on this one.
While I don’t know for sure how old any of you reading this are, I can tell you that the next time the date repeats like this will be on January 1st, 2101. That’s 88 years and 20 days from right now. Maybe we’ll have some crazy advances in medicine by then but I’m thinking it’s safe to say that most of us reading this right now will be long gone by 2101. So this is the last time we’ll see the date repeat like this in our lifetime.
There’s something really weird about realizing that. Sure, 88 years is a nice, long time away so it’s not like the clock is ticking all that loud but anytime you think about a future event and realize you won’t be there for it is a sobering moment.
On the flip side, it’s fun to think about the next generation, about my cousins and children and how it’s entirely possible that they’ll be around in 88 years to see the next repeat date. Will they remember the fuss about 12/12/12 or will they still be all, “Who cares?”. For that matter, will we still even be writing out the date that way or will we have some new system? Will we have our freaking flying cars by then or will everyone be a zombie?
While I was mulling about this, I realized something. Copyright is currently life of the author plus 90 years. Even if something happened to me tomorrow (though I’d clearly prefer it didn’t), my estate would still own my copyright on January 1st, 2101. The contracts I sign now that apply for the life of my copyright will still be valid at this far off date I’ve already realized I’m likely going to miss.
Of course there’s a million things that could happen between now and then to change either the landscape of how copyright works or what the world is even like. Who even knows what theatre, literature, publishing or copyrights will look like a dozen years from now, let alone 100? But it’s still interesting to think about.
I am, personally, tremendously tickled by the idea that my future kids or maybe grandkids will still be getting random checks from my plays or books after I’m gone (even if they are just for $1, $1 there as I suspect they will be). My grandmother always used to give me a dollar when I went to visit or mail me a random $5 with a note and I can’t help but think of this as a way I get to continue that with my grandkids long after I’m gone. No matter what I do with my possessions or finances between now and then, I still get to leave them a little something to remember me by, even if it’s just some words and a few bucks every now and again.
But I know that many people feel like the current copyright period is too long and that’s something worth discussing. There’s also the school that believes that “content should be free” and that creators should just create for the joy of it and never be paid for their work or however that argument that has never made sense to me goes. What role will piracy play? Does the argument about copyright change if we’re talking about my little plays and books or something that’s worth millions like Harry Potter or Mickey Mouse? Should it?
What do you think the future holds? What’s your prediction for where copyright will be in 88 years?
PS: I published this post at 12/12/12 12:12 just to be meta. 😉