People don’t think about this sort of thing when they’re talking about copyrights. Usually the topic centers around how music labels are losing money or screwing consumers. Or how movie piracy will put a makeup artist on the streets. (Even though digital editing of films might do it anyway.)
Forgotten in the argument are documentary films, which provide an incredibly valuable service in educating the public … especially in (of all places) schools.
Because of copyright extension laws like the Sonny Bono Act, it’s not only harder to make a documentary today, but to even reissue documentaries that have already been made. Some will soon be lost along with the Betamax tapes they’re stored on.
Check out this link from BoingBoing (which contains a link to a much longer article that’s also worth the read if you’ve got the time to kill): How copyright is killing culture