Most of us violate copyright frequently. Maybe we make a copy of a Netflix movie we won't have time to watch right away or we have an MP3 player full of music we never bought.
While these seem like small and insignificant violations, violating copyright is potentially very expensive and might even involve serious levels of incarceration.
If you ruled the world, how would you protect the citizenry from exposure to huge consequences for violating copyright while protecting artists and other creative people.
Finally, don't confuse copyright, which covers mostly artistic endeavors (visual or auditory arts or writing, mostly) with trade secret protection, which covers secret formuae and processes, or patent protection which applies to original inventions.
i hold strong opinions on a lot of things, but copyright law is one of those things where I JUST DON'T KNOW. I don't think there is a correct answer, it's just a complicated situation.
That being said, there should be shorter limits on how long a copyright can last, especially for corporations. Disney borrows old folk tales, copyrights them, and then has them in the bag (practically) forever? These things need to expire. Corporations are not people, not in the copyright-ownership respect at least.
I think you've hit on an important distinction, which is between actual persons and persons by legal art (artificial persons aka corporations). A corporation should be able to hold a copyright for 10 years and then renew it only by appealing to a Federal court where the corporation could make an argument for a 5 year renewal and those opposed to the renewal could argue against it in the public interest.
Flesh and blood persons should have their creative output treated much the same as real property which is theirs unless they sell it and if it is in their hands when they die becomes part of their estate like any other property (house, land, automobile, etc.).
At some point we, the people, have to get serious about establishing that corporations are NOT persons under the law.
An added wrinkle is that copyright is hybrid law, part U.S. law and part adhering to an international treaty, so getting something done may mean either working for changes to the international agreement or opting out of it entirely, which would expose our copyrighted works to dangers abroad.
Then corporations will, instead of buying the rights, will licence the rights, sometimes exclusive licences, sometimes ones they can transfer, and/or sublicence. Pretty much the same thing as it is now. And we'd be in the same mess as we're in now.
My perspective is that of the creator. If someone sells their copyright to a corporation, that's their right. They have made their bed and can lie in it. More and more bands are hanging onto their material and marketing it themselves. More and more writers are marketing their works themselves.
As a writer, I don't want my right to my works to go away after a period of time and I've never heard a convincing argument for why copyright should terminate. I made it; it's my property; it should belong to me and/or my heirs.
It's wrong for corporations to take a folk tale, for example, and copyright something they didn't actually invent. In fact, it's scandalous if that's actually legal.
Likewise, if someone violates my copyright by making a single illegal copy, I don't want to impoverish them or have them spending prison time. No more than if they stole some small item from me. If they turn around and start marketing it to their profit, well then the stakes should be higher of course.