Friday, April 01, 2022

Copyright and Disney, twenty years later

A friend sent me a link to a post by "E.C. Knight" titled Drain the Disney Copyright Swamp and Make the Public Domain Great Again .

Supposedly, is on the conservative side, and "E. C. Knight" happens to be a party in a famous Supreme Court case (156 U.S. 1 (1895))

Merely "looking backward," one notes

Title: Deciding Cases the Old Fashioned Way

Author: Lawrence B. Ebert Journal: Intellectual Property Today, page 12 ff, April 2002 [Twenty years ago this month)

LENGTH: 2360 words

(...) On the copyright front, on February 18, the Supreme Court granted cert in Eldred v. Ashcroft (99-5430) to review the holding by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit that the 1998 Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act is constitutional. Eldred's case has been spear-headed by Professor Lawrence Lessig, who recently came under attack in an article by Edward Samuels n6 who wrote of Lessig: "He doesn't even consider the international context in which Congress acted. Lessig suggests that the United States adopt a short copyright term, subject to renewal every five years. This proposal, or indeed any proposal for a term of less than life of the author plus 50 years, would be in violation of our treaty obligations under Berne." On the flip side, many point to a law review article by Justice Breyer, "The Uneasy Case for Copyright," 84 Harv. L. Rev. 281 (1970), and point to various special interests who benefit (opponents call the law "the Mickey Mouse Protection Act."). Somewhat lost in all of this is the idea that copyright law is to encourage authors, and ultimately create a public domain of works of authorship. Although copyright law, unlike patent law, has a work-for-hire provision, at some point the public, if not lawyers, has an expectation that the creator of the work should be rewarded. n6 Edward Samuels, In Step With the World, National Law Journal, March 7, 2002. For example, on the television show "Law and Order" on March 10, 2002, part of the story line was the purloining, by a state judge, of law review articles, actually written by his clerk, who was subsequently murdered. One of these was on intellectual property for the new millennium. n7 Although the drafting of documents by clerks (or by associates) for their superiors is not unusual, the show hammered away at the complete absence of knowledge, by the judge, of any substantive understanding of the issues within the law review articles, nominally under his name. n8 In the make-believe world of television, not only does one have the right to information but the right to know and to credit the entity who actually created it.


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