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Re: [dvd-discuss] Copyright term only increased twice

On 8 Aug 2002 at 13:44, Bryan Taylor wrote:

Date sent:      	Thu, 8 Aug 2002 13:44:40 -0700 (PDT)
From:           	Bryan Taylor <bryan_w_taylor@yahoo.com>
Subject:        	[dvd-discuss] Copyright term only increased twice
To:             	dvd-discuss <dvd-discuss@eon.law.harvard.edu>
Send reply to:  	dvd-discuss@eon.law.harvard.edu

> A completely bizarre and amazing argument is put forth by Scott Martin and
> similar arguments were made in the DOJ reply brief. Martin puts it thusly:
> <quote>
> In fact Congress revised its view of the appropriate
> duration of copyright protection only twice in the past forty
> years: once in the 1976 Copyright Act  which changed the term
> from an initial term of 28 years plus a renewal term to a term
> of life-of-the-author plus 50 years (with a commensurate
> increase in the term of protection for existing works), and then
> again in the 1998 Sonny Bono Term Extension Act  which added 20
> years of additional protection to all existing terms of
> copyright. The other nine extensions were short interim
> extensions passed during the deliberation over the 1976 Act in
> order to ensure that authors of works on the cusp of falling
> into the public domain would not be penalized by Congress'
> glacial pace in enacting the new Copyright Act.
> <quote>
> This argument proves what it intends to refute: Congress has made it clear that
> it will not allow any more works to enter the public domain.

Excellent point. THey continued to make a bunch of little changes - NINE. to 
prevent what would have happened in the course of events (certainly, Hemingway 
or Fitzgerald would not even know or care)  I think that just about 
demonstrates the contempt Congress has for the public domain...

> In forty years, it made two fundamental changes. From 28+28 to life+50 to
> life+70. Given that almost all authors live longer than 26 years, Mr. Martin has
> shown us that on average the term will be extended every 20 years by an amount
> greater than 20 years. Worse, even if Congress can't keep up with their average
> pace for 20 year+ extensions every year, Congress will pass "interim"
> retroactive extensions for no other reason than to assure that no works enter
> the public domain. 

I think it also demonstrates that the Intellectual property community that has 
been advocating this does not understand the function of the public domain and 
so are just intellectual whores serviceing whomever pays them. (Scott Martin an 
obvious. )

> For forty years already, Congress has had the goal to prevent ANY works from
> entering the public domain. If they continue this with yearly 1-year extensions
> or 20-year extensions every 20 years, or a mix of the two, it does not matter.
> The error made by those who support the CTEA is that they believe the
> Constiution requires only that each "term" in a sequence of terms be limited.
> That is a bait and switch tactic that doesn't square with the text: they know
> something has to be finite, so they invent a new thing for it to be, the "term",
> so that it doesn't have to be the important thing which is the total period of
> copyright protection (the union of the terms of protection). The Constitution
> requires that the **"securing"** be for "limited times". It does not say that
> the limit is on the duration of each individual term in a supposed sequence of
> terms whose union can be of infinite duration. That sort of accounting is called
> a pyramid scheme, and it is found in the books of bankrupt companies, not the
> Constitution.

Well they are lawyers and probably haven never seen a limit as n->infinity 
before but that's no reason for them not to be educated...or hopefully the USSC
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