Interesting, but why? As has been pointed out here and elsewhere, copyright actually offers exactly the same protection to the holder be they a multi-national or you sitting at home in your kitchen working on the table.
That's a huge issue; I'm really tempted to pretend you didn't ask me. But I guess you did ...
The first is simply the reality of the net; music and video downloading is the obvious example. No matter what the law is, people are going to keep stealing it. Copyright owners can either fight what I think is a losing battle, or they can adapt. Musicians, at least, have the option of going on the road and playing concerts - film-makers? Or writers and cartoonists? I'm not sure what the answer is. Some, such as my fellow-Canadian writer Peter Watts (http://www.rifters.com) have, at least temporarily, just given up. Even those novels of his that are in print are also available for download on his own website, with the option to "pay" him via PayPal should a reader choose to do so.
Will that be a successful economic model? No one knows yet, but if people are
going to steal no matter what the law says, some
thing else needs to be tried.
Legalities and technical issues aside, I believe your argument, that copyright protects me as much as it does Moulinsart is hollow, if not quite bogus.
Neither HergÃ© nor Moulinsart are damaged by, say, Rodier's version of Alph-Art
. As it turns out, Rodier is good artist but no HergÃ©, and even if he had fully succeeded, who would have been harmed? People are still going to want to read the original.
Essentially, I think the world of art and culture is diminished by stringent copyright laws. A famous example is Shakespeare, who stole all but two of his plots from earlier works. The idea that art - concepts and characters - are private property, are a commodity, is a fairly new one and I don't think a healthy one.
Protection during the artist's life? Yes, probably, at least for the actual work
(as opposed to merely playing with characters). But protection for, say, Warner Brothers, so that they can keep making money off of Batman
in perpetuity (if they can get American laws revised once again)?
I don't see any reason for that beyond the almighty dollar.
HergÃ© has been dead for a quarter-century now; copyright doesn't protect him
in any way, shape or form - and arguably, it hurts the world by taking Tintin
out of the recombinant discourse that until very recently always had been - and should be again - the world of art, where artists borrow and steal from each other in the never-ending creative process.
P.S. Thanks muchly for links and the hints about King.