Because it's a long established law, one which Moore would presumably accept, I don't think he'd have a problem with somebody using Rorschach in 200 years time, he'd be dead, who cares?
That's the difference, Moore isn't dead, L Frank Baum is. You can never know whether he'd approve of Lost Girls or not. Odds are he wouldn't, but you never know. We do know absolutely that Moore does not approve of Before Watchmen.
And really, you can't use public domain to defend DC and Marvel, they're notorious for trying to get out of the law, Superman should be in public domain by now, but they changed it. It's the same with Disney characters.
contracts are a long established law and it seems that people want companies to not accept that
and, it doesn't matter what DC does with the Watchmen characters only if Moore is dead? We may never know? They were children's book characters, even if the decedents should have no say because of the legal concept of public domain, should Moore have been conscious of the legacy of Baum, Carroll, and everyone else's characters he's used? Isn't that part of his whole thing with Before Watchmen?
Alice in Wonderland/Looking Glass is one of my all time favorite stores that stands up well on its own... just like Watchmen, I didn't need an "After Wonderland" story delving into her sexuality and whatnot - but all that's ok because Carroll is dead? its ok because of the legal shield of public domain? Its more ethical than fulfilling and abiding by the terms of a contract that says DC can do the same thing to characters Moore didn't create, but tweeked?
We know that Liefeld doesn't like the character development of Shatterstar, does that mean Marvel should have left him a padded swordsman with no depth?
and, i am not defending Marvel or DC at all, but the whole argument that Marvel and DC shouldn't use characters they have a legal right to use however they want because some one who used characters he had a legal right to use however he wants says so doesn't hold all that much weight for me.
For over 20 years DC let an obvious cash machine linger, as bad as an idea Before Watchmen might me, I'm not mad at DC for doing it, I'm impressed it took this long