Short term, like patents.. 5-10 years.
Incredibly strong fair use rights for non commercial purposes. Parody, analysis, translation, media shifting, library use, background music in the video of a kid dancing, remixing music tracks and uploading to youtube, etc etc.
This is an issue that has long bugged me -- most of the anti-copyright types on geek forums can be incredibly loud with their opinions but are often startlingly short of facts.
Lias, please do people a favour and get yourself informed before you make these sorts of broad, sweeping comments about copyright/IP reform. They are frankly annoying to those who work to build informed understanding and contribute little to the debate. FYI, I am a lawyer and although I do not currently actively practice IP law, I have an LLM in information technology and IP law and have had research fellowships in the US also. I have also done IP valuation/risk assessment work for private equity/investment banks. Although my work in IP largely related to matters in the commercial arena, my personal views and research both reflect a fairly moderate stance towards copyright protection.
With all the disclaimers done, just from the sheer number of mistakes and flawed assumptions in your post, it can be safely concluded that little of your views on IP should be taken seriously.
- First of all, most developed countries have patent terms of 20 years. NZ and UK are two examples. Design patents in the US last 14 years; utility patents last for 20. There's a reason why patents have much shorter terms: generally speaking, these give the first inventor of an idea who is the first to come up with a novel idea or the first to file for the patent for a novel idea the exclusive right to exploit the idea. Even if I somehow independently come up with a great idea, if somebody else (depending on the jurisdiction) either thought if up first or filed for a patent ahead of me, tough luck. I can't exploit my idea AT ALL.
- The same doesn't apply for copyright. Ian Fleming might have come up with the idea of the ultra-romantic, swashbuckling "save the world on his own" super spy before I did but nothing stops me from writing my own series on a similar super spy. Why? That's because copyright doesn't protect an idea; copyright protects things upon which copyright subsists, according to the laws of the land. Therefore, nothing about the shorter terms of patents per se supports your stance of radically shortening copyright terms. There may be good grounds (and I frankly think there are in some cases) but make a proper argument.
- With (2) in mind, parody in the truest sense of the word, which doesn't involve substantial copying of the original work, is allowed. Whether each person's particular execution of a parody breaches copyright or not will depend on its own facts. But the point is that: don't pretend there isn't considerable protection for non-infringing usage. People will need to take advice to mitigate IP risks - again this isn't a per se ground in support of radically truncating copyright protection.
NZ law (and other jurisdictions' copyright law) also protect many of the things that you seem to be in favour of. Had you not made so many flawed arguments and assumptions, one might assume that you might have gone out of your way to understand these and concluded them to be inadequate after close analyses. But I have my doubts. For anyone interested in a readable and informed treatise in favour of copyright reform, I recommend William Patry's How to Fix Copyright. It's an engaging read and the ideas have universal relevance and application, even though the author (he's American and worked/works at Google) understandably focuses on US law.