Siva Vaidhyanathan, however, has an article in Columbia Journalism Review (courtesy of ALDaily) that serves as an excellent introduction. I'll quote the following paragraph in the hope that it will get you to read the whole article, if not make copyright law reform your own cause celebre.
Recent changes to copyright in North America, Europe, and Australia threaten to chill creativity at the ground level — among noncorporate, individual, and communal artists. As a result, the risk and price of reusing elements of copyrighted culture are higher than ever before. If you wanted to make a scholarly documentary film about the history of country music, for example, you might end up with one that slights the contribution of Hank Williams and Elvis Presley because their estates would deny you permission to use the archival material. Other archives and estates would charge you prohibitive fees. We are losing much of the history of the twentieth century because the copyright industries are more litigious than ever.
And it all goes back to Mickey Mouse.