Yes, but you still have to decide on the measurable criteria that make something 'successful', and this is a moral question, not an empirical one. What do you value? Freedom, or maximising the overall social benefit from copyrightable works? This is not an empirical question.
those aren't measurable criteria.
I'm talking about things like:
Reducing the number of abortions or
Reducing the number of people taking drugs.
as examples of something measurable.
At the moment we're attempting to tackle with both of those questions on a moral basis, and it's leading to damaging laws or wedge-issues that are never ever resolved. The "debate" would shift from arguing morality, to at least focusing on an outcome - so in both of those cases above, the debate would shift to whether those are the right outcomes... or whether the outcomes should be:
Reducing the harm caused by unwanted pregnancy or
Reducing the harm caused by drugs.
If we're focused on simple measurable outcomes - and people know what they are... then we've got a much better shot at achieving them.
In the case of copyright the measurables would probably be something to do with:
an increase in the volume of works created or
an increase in the number of artists able to make a living from what they do.
I received a letter from a Tory MEP this morning (I'm British as well as NZ) saying how he was pushing for the extension the copyright term to 95 years... for all sorts of specious reasons, not least of which was that a study by PWC said that it could boost the music industry by £3.3 Billion over the next 50 years.
Now this is complete shit. What is actually happening here is that our common-culture - something that ALREADY belongs to the us... is being stolen from us, and given to corporations to sell back to us.
And they're fucking foreign corporations. EMI (a cornerstone of this drive, because the beatles stuff is about to become public domain... that's what the panic is over)... EMI are owned by Citigroup... one of the corporations responsible for driving the economy over a cliff.
And this Tory Bank-Poodle has all his framing and rhetoric sorted out... talking about "unprotected works" etc... but the only measurables are that corporations should get more money. If measurables actually made up the structure of the bill it would be a completely different conversation.
In a way though, copyright is a tough one to experiment with... to isolate whether it's the law that's having an effect or... something else - the internet say. Which leads me to:
3) - if no measurable criteria for success can be arrived at then the law is thrown out on the spot
Or in other words, if we can't find suitable measurable criteria for judging the success of copyright, then we scrap it.