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[dvd-discuss] Eldred Amicus
- To: dvd-discuss(at)cyber.law.harvard.edu
- Subject: [dvd-discuss] Eldred Amicus
- From: John Schulien <jms(at)uic.edu>
- Date: Wed, 29 May 2002 23:47:47 -0500
- Reply-to: dvd-discuss(at)cyber.law.harvard.edu
- Sender: owner-dvd-discuss(at)cyber.law.harvard.edu
Jolley <tjolley(at)swbell.net> 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.
Your interpretation is supported by the first copyright
act -- the Copyright Act of 1790, signed into law by
"And if, at the expiration of the said [14 year] term,
the author or authors, or any of them, be living,
and a citizen or citizens of these United States,
or resident therein, the same exclusive right be
continued to him or them, his or their executors,
administrators or assigns, for the further term
of fourteen years."
I hadn't thought of it before, but the phrasing of
the original copyright statute clearly reflects
the constraints placed in the Constitution --
Perhaps the Founders made the arbitrary choice
to disallow copyright renewal if the author did
not survive. However, given the amount of
debate over the form of the copyright law, it
it seems more likely to me that instead they
were deliberately implementing their own
Constitutional constraint that copyright
be granted "to authors", because, as you
pointed out, any copyright extension or even
renewal granted after the death of an author
is granted to "someone else."
I don't recall reading any argument along this
line in any of the briefs so far, which surprises
me, given the extensiveness of the Amicus
briefs, and the extent to which the plaintiffs
invoke original intent. Has this point been
incorporated anywhere in the Eldred briefs?