[sword-devel] Copyright Law

Chris Little sword-devel@crosswire.org
Tue, 19 Feb 2002 21:05:39 -0800 (PST)

Yes, this appeal, Eldred vs. Ashcroft, could have very good effects, if 
the good guys (Eldred) win.  I would ask that you guys all pray for a good 
outcome of this suit.

<explanation--if you already understand the case, you can stop reading>
Eldred vs. Ashcroft seeks to overturn the 1998 Sonny Bono Copyright Term 
Extension Act aka Mickey Mouse Copyright Act.  That copyright act extended 
copyrights from life of author plus 50 years to life of author plus 70 
years, plus it worked retroactively on already published works.  (This 
final fact was very important to Disney, who largely paid for the law, 
hence its nickname.)  The problem is, it's entirely unconstitutional.  The 
Constitution gave copyrights of 14 years (regardless of author's time of 
death) in order to encourage the creation of new works by granting a 
time-limited monopoly.  However, Congress extended copyright 11 times in 
the last century because it serves corporate interests, despite the fact 
that NO creation of new works would be encouraged by the copyright 
extensions (except plausibly in cases of corporate authorship).  By 
applying the law retroactively, works that had been in the public domain 
for less than 20 years were instantaneously back under copyright.  Eldred 
runs an internet achive of texts that had to remove such works, so he 
began this lawsuit.  One of the statistics that they point out is that in 
1930, over 10,000 books were published, only 174 of which are still in 
print.  Were it not for this law, internet archives could put the other 
9000+ works on the web. 

So, in conclusion.... pray. :)


On Tue, 19 Feb 2002, Jacob Daniel wrote:

> FYI, there is a discussion on slashdot on a copyright case that
> has been accepted by the Supreme Court.  I wonder what the
> effects would be on the works that The Sword Project can publish.
> Cheers,
> Jacob