Scott Hardie | January 15, 2003
I'm worried about today's ruling by the Supreme Court that the 20-year extensions to copyright protections by Congress in 1998 were legal. (article here) The court did what they had to do, of course: The extensions were legal, even though it sounds like some of the justices didn't want to protect them. I guess what I'm really worried about is that Congress did it in the first place, and could just as easily do it again in another 20 years, when the entertainment industry lobbies them hard once again. Between its attacks on fair use post-Napster and its push to extend its copyrights indefinitely, the industry can't really be blamed for doing what in its best interests, but it is doing harm to public freedoms in the process, and this should be stopped. The line has to be drawn somewhere on copyrights and when they expire - it was drawn at 50 years for personal works and 75 for corporate works, which seems perfectly fair. I fail to see how 20 more years is any more just, and I do not look forward to Congress passing the next inevitable extension in 2018, the next time Mickey Mouse and "The Wizard of Oz" are about to enter the public domain. This Supreme Court case was the best chance the public had to stop it, and its failure is a big disappointment.


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