Copyright Depreciation

According to the IRS, copyrights are worthless after fifteen years. They’re included in the definition of “Section 197 intangible[s]” by clause 197(d)(1)(C)(iii) of the Internal Revenue Code. Such intangibles are depreciated over a fifteen-year period.

I don’t know how much depreciation of copyrights really matters for tax purposes, but wouldn’t it be more appropriate if the depreciation schedule were tied to the length of a copyright term? If the content industries really want to claim that their copyrights are valuable for umpty-skeezix years, why shouldn’t they be forced to live with that definition of “useful life” for tax purposes and space out their deductions over the full term?

While writing the above, I needed to look up the right name for a fifth-level subdivision (not even counting the fact that the full U.S. Code is divided into “titles,” of which the Internal Revenue Code is but one). The sequence, according to the House DTD, is:

  1. Section
  2. Subsection
  3. Paragraph
  4. Subparagraph
  5. Clause
  6. Subclause
  7. Item
  8. Subitem

The implication would appear to be that, as prolix as our laws may be, we have not yet broken through the subitem barrier of complexity.