Albert Uderzo, the artist that together with Renè Goscinny created Asterix in 1959, is an 84 year old gentleman who (so the story goes) recently bought a real military fighter plane and a Pharaoh-like mansion, following the advice from his “plumber” (heck, who’s this guy, SuperMario?). Due to these and similar facts, Asterix’s sister, that is Uderzo’s daughter Sylvie, went to court to have her father declared mentally incompetent and to accuse the plumber to abuse of his influence on Uderzo. That’s what I read on Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera. If this were all the story, it would be a tragic or comic family fight, of little actual interest for everybody else.
The real news here, that is the only thing that impacts on all of us whether we like it or not, is what originated both the abuses (if the court will confirm them) and Sylvie’s rage. The fight isn’t over controlling the money that Albert Uderzo already made in the past with his character, but those that will come from the same source in the future: “publishing rights from 10 to 15 millions of Euros per year, plus the profits of the Asterix theme park, plus the money from merchandising and copyright on future movies…”
Regardless of what some extremist think, personally I think that copyright still has a sense and a reason to exist today. This said, what surely does not make sense are the current excesses of copyright, starting from its ridiculous duration, from 50 to 70 years from the author’s death. The actual problem that a judge paid with public money will have to solve doesn’t exist because a daughter and a plumber are fighting (boy, doesn’t this sound like some third rate movie title…). The problem exist because those two people know one thing very well: thanks to the current copyright madness, whoever will win this case will be the only one to get millions of Euros every year, for several decades, even if he or she never personally created anything Asterix, and even if they couldn’t draw a straight line if their life depended on it.