Shortening the Copyright Law

“Recently, the Supreme Court decided in Eldred v. Ashcroft that a copyright term of life plus 70 years is “limited” as the Constitution’s Copyright Clause requires. As a result, the Court declined to strike down the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act.”

“Once the Court found that Congress had not violated the Copyright Clause, it was left with no other way to rein in Congress’s excesses in this area. Longstanding precedent counseled that the Court ought to defer to Congress on the policy aspects of copyright law. And, as I noted in an earlier column, Congress had at least one good reason to enact the current copyright term: It harmonizes United States law with that of the European Union.”

“Yet there have been many such Congressional excesses in this arena – in the form of repeated extension of the copyright term at the behest of corporations who hold copyrights, and to the detriment of the public domain. Is there anything that can be done about them?” (from Findlaw)