Tuesday, February 19, 2002

Eldard v Ashcroft It looks like Lessig and Co's petition to declare the Mickey Mouse Copyright Act (Sonny Bono Copyright Extension Act) unconstitutional might go back to the Supreme Court on appeal.

Lessig & Co. argued that a retroactive extension of copyright did nothing to "promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts"--which if course is 100% correct. The Supremes disagreed, arguing there are "no First Amendment rights to use the copyrighted works of others" (which misses the point). They also declared that the deprivation to society of keeping works out of the public domain is "threatened as much 'for works not yet created as for extant works on which the copyrights are about to expire'" essentially overlooking the economic difference between longer copyright and retroactive copyright extension. This is just plain wrong.

There's too much Disney money behind perrenial copyright for Congress to do the right thing, so the Supreme Court is it. I'll also post an economic analysis of copyright term to put a dollar value on extension Sometime Soon.

Correction Larry Stanton points out that the DC Circuit negged the original motion. This is the first time the Supremes are getting into the picture. Thanks Larry!

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