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[dvd-discuss] Golan v Ashcroft: to "Secure for limited times"
- To: dvd-discuss(at)cyber.law.harvard.edu
- Subject: [dvd-discuss] Golan v Ashcroft: to "Secure for limited times"
- From: John Schulien <jms(at)uic.edu>
- Date: Sat, 12 Jan 2002 12:56:00 -0600
- Reply-to: dvd-discuss(at)cyber.law.harvard.edu
- Sender: owner-dvd-discuss(at)cyber.law.harvard.edu
> The meaning and interpretation of "limited" was what I was
> grappling with (not successfully ) a few months ago with the
> question regarding why copyright terms had to be uniform.
The Golan v Ashcroft reply brief has an argument relating
to the "limited times" issue that I don't recall having been made
explicitly in Eldred:
The government’s view of “limited Times” ... also undermines any
notion that Congress has “secur[ed]” copyrights “for limited Times.”
The Framers were quite specific that Congress must “secur[e] for
limited Times” – in other words, not just to provide, [FN 12]
to establish, [FN 13] or to grant [FN 14] for limited Times, but
to secure for limited Times. The verb to “secure” means “to make
certain.” Oxford English Dictionary 852 (2d ed. 1989) (“to make
secure or certain”); see Wheaton v. Peters, 33 U.S. at 660
(“secure” means “to protect, insure, save, ascertain, etc”). ...
... The only way Congress can “secure for limited Times”
copyrights is to enact limited terms of copyright that are certain
and unchanging over time. Although Congress may alter the
term of copyrights, it may only do so prospectively. For a
term of an existing copyright that changes over time is, by no
means, secured or certain. Quite the opposite: if the terms of
existing copyrights keep changing – as it has 11 eleven times
in the past 40 years – and is always subject to further change
by Congress (as the government argues), those terms are