I'm looking for an online short story about the perils of indefinite copyright law. It is set in the future and watches a conversation between a lobbyist and a congressman (woman?). They are discussing a copyright bill up for vote.

  • Hi, welcome to SF&F! This question is very short; perhaps you can review the common suggestions for other details you can edit into your question? How long ago did you read this? – DavidW Feb 14 at 21:58
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    Ah never mind, further probing of my brain got it, I was looking for "Melancholy Elephants" – user111749 Feb 14 at 21:59
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    You can answer your own question, which is preferable to leaving the question abandoned with no answer. After 48h you can mark your own answer as correct, and the next person looking for this might find the answer... – DavidW Feb 14 at 22:02
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    And which you can read online; spiderrobinson.com/melancholyelephants.html – Valorum Feb 14 at 22:06

This is, I think, Melancholy Elephants by Spider Robinson.

The story is indeed between a lobbyist and a politician, and talks about the perils of extended copyright - specifically because the number of songs that can be produced is finite, based on the limited number of sounds humans can hear and the limited number of ways of combining said sounds. There is a reference to people being ruined, even committing suicide, because they thought they had come up with something original only to find it had been done before (and was copyrighted).

The title refers to the saying that an elephant never forgets, and the counterpoint (in this story) that elephants aren't happy [presumably because they can't forget].

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