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Re: [dvd-discuss] Eldred Amicus
- To: dvd-discuss(at)cyber.law.harvard.edu
- Subject: Re: [dvd-discuss] Eldred Amicus
- From: "Arnold G. Reinhold" <reinhold(at)world.std.com>
- Date: Wed, 29 May 2002 20:31:06 -0400
- In-reply-to: <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- References: <email@example.com>
- Reply-to: dvd-discuss(at)cyber.law.harvard.edu
- Sender: owner-dvd-discuss(at)cyber.law.harvard.edu
At 1:34 PM -0500 5/29/02, Roy Murphy wrote:
>'Twas brillig when Steve Hosgood scrobe:
>> Jolley <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
>> > The answer for an upper limit could be in the constitution.
>> > ...by securing for limited Times to Authors...
>> > Anything granted beyond an author's lifetime
>> > is being granted to someone else.
>> That's the neatest observation I've seen for a while! There must be
>> some way to draw the court's attention to it.
>It's a doomed argument. SCOTUS gives special consideration to the acts
>of the First Congress. Since the members of that Congress were largely
>the same people who wrote the Constitution, the Court presumes that
>their actions were constitutional. Since the First Congress passed the
>1790 Copyright act with a 14 year term (and a 14 year extension upon
>renewal if the author is still alive and renews), terms exceeding the
>lifespan of the author are presumptively constitutional.
That suggests the natural meaning of "limited" might be the original
terms set by the 1790 copyright act, since the first Congress knew
best what "limited" meant. If anything, the speed of modern
communication would argue for shorter terms than those deemed
necessary when type was set by hand and books were distributed by ox
cart and sailing ship. I'd also argue that if Congress is to extend
copyright duration at all, it should be by adding additional 14 year
renewal opportunities. This would cause the vast majority of
published works, plus gazillions of pieces of ephemera, to enter the
public domain while protecting those few works that do have long term
By the way, in the new movie "About a Boy," from Universal Studios,
Hugh Grant plays a playboy social parasite who lives off of royalties
from a popular Christmas song that his father wrote in the '50s.
Hollywood makes the case against long posthumous copyrights better
than we ever could.