Copyright Law Extension Act And The Copyright Term Extension Act

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BRIEF AMICUS CURIAE OF ELDRED V. ASHCROFT IN SUPPORT OF PETITIONER

QUESTION PRESENTED
Does the Copyright Term Extension Act, which extends the term of a copyright to 70 years after the creator’s death, violate the “limited Times” prescription of the Copyright Clause and the free speech guarantee of the First Amendment?

IDENTITY AND INTEREST OF AMICUS CURIAE We respectfully submit this brief amicus curiae in support of the petitioners, Eldred et al. The petitioners owned the copyrights of works now in the public domain. They challenged the 1998 Copyright Term Extension Act (CTEA) on the grounds that the act allows copyrights to exist in perpetuity and restricts free speech, so the act violates the Copyright Clause and the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. Justice Ginsburg denied Eldred’s challenges, finding that the terms established by the CTEA are limited terms and that the act accommodates for petitioner’s First Amendment concerns. We submit this amicus curiae in dissent of the court opinion that upheld the CTEA.

SUMMARY OF ARGUMENT The Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998 established that copyright terms now expire 70 years after the creator’s death, which is a 20-year extension from the previous copyright law in 1976 that established term expiration 50 years after the creator’s death. The Act applies equally to future works and works with existing copyrights. The court in Eldred v. Ashcroft upheld the CTEA as a rational exercise of congressional authority in that the copyright extension creates a significant benefit: encouraging copyright authors to produce more creative works. However, the extension has little influence on the motivation of authors to create and it constructs roadblocks in the creation process. Overall, the expected outcome of the 20-year copyright term extension is a reduction in the number of works being created and copyrighted in the future due to the increased costs of production. Without works entering the public domain, the copyright owner monopolizes their work, creating social costs associated with a monopoly market failure. The CTEA should be struck down as it is inconsistent with the ultimate goal of copyright law, which is to promote the
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