Just imagine each and every audio/visual recording from the 1970s and before becoming public domain, what an enormous wealth of culture would become available, for free or a minimal access fee, to everyone. Even if you assume that for a "Creative Industries Improvement Fee" of say $250,000.00 per work a copyright could be extended for another 20 years (e.g. a "Star Wars", "Star Trek: The Motion Picture", or the "White Album" by the Beatles, etc.).
That serves the needs of the consumers, not the creators and we don't want a system where creators are slave servants to the consumers. Go to a public library if you want copyrighted stuff for free. Yes, there's a long waiting list for movies and music CDs. By comparison, non-popular books sit there collecting dust. But at least they provide valuable income to authors.
You can already listen to almost all music for a whopping $10/month. I imagine the same thing will happen to movies soon as bandwidth becomes cheaper. In the meantime, you have netflix and hulu for those needs. I don't get the constant fuss over copyright laws If you can't afford spend less than $100/month for content.
My personal view is that copyrighted content should be like real estate -- you should be able to make money off it as long as you want. No one has presented a convincing argument why real estate owners make money infinitely, but copyright owners can't do the same. My guess is limited copyright times were done to screw the authors (copyright owners at the time of formation of copyright laws). Imagine how many millions of dollars publishers have made from reprinting out-of-copyright Mark Twain and Charles Dickens novels and giving the authors and their descendants $0. Now that companies like Disney own copyright to works, they have lobbied to extend copyright duration times.
And I currently pay hundreds of dollars per month to access and/or own licensed copies of copyrighted material, many of which I could just as easily access for free, thank you very much.
LOL, if consumers like you didn't pay that amount, that content would cease to exist. Content gets created because content creators and businesses want your money.