"What's yours is mine, what's mine is mine!"
That's the attitude Andrew Orlowski's got the problem with. I suspect he's confused it somewhat with copyright.
I came across these stories on a site run by our cousins the Aussies. You may find them interesting:
Zombie Copyright Extensions Unlimited
"Nobody knew just how the dead author James Arnold Bond received the payments we made, or where they were banked and drawn on, but the law was the law, and had to be observed. Psychics claimed they knew, but then they would.
Psychics also proffered the writings they claimed our payments had inspired dead authors to write. Our slush piles were overflowing with such detritus. We were obliged to accept a certain number, of course. The Court of Appeals had ruled that contracts were still contracts, even between a dead author and his publishing company."
"Professor John Walton's most popular work was titled: "Perverse Incentives of the Current Copyright Regime."
I've never read it."
With a cynical nod to that masterwork of postmortem copyright extenders:
Walt Disney And The Duck Lord
Inaugural Broadcast of The Children's Cooking Show: A Transcript
"But you know something? We discovered the DisneyWorld basements were infested with a group of three-foot-high mice walking around on their hind legs, wearing funny clothes and jabbering away in some outlandish gibberish.
Yes, dear, it was probably American."
A close friend of mine once told me I should be careful about life insurance, because it never pays to give someone a financial incentive to kill you. If I write a book at fifty and live for thirty more years and the publisher gets it for another seventy ... do the maths. Cui bono?
And of course the dead can't enforce the payment of royalties, can they? Cui bono?