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Final - Section 1

Final - Section 1 - Nick Hinman PS 301 3 16 08 Section 1...

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Nick Hinman 950-55-6355 PS 301 3 / 16 / 08 Section 1: Definitions (10% for each definition for a total of 20%) The Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998 was the most recent act to extend the legal protection of creative property before it is passed into to the public domain. Congress passed the first copyright law in 1790, creating a federal copyright and securing that copyright for fourteen years unless the creator opted for renewal. In this case, the creator could extend the copyright for a maximum of twenty-eight years. According to Lessig, this structure was efficient and logical because “most creative work has an actual commercial life of just a couple of years.” (Lessig, 134) In 1909, Congress extended the copyright from fourteen years to twenty-eight years with a maximum of fifty-six years. Then, in 1962, Congress started a practice that Lessig argues “defined copyright law ever since.” (Lessig, 134) Congress enacted eleven copyright extensions in the last forty years. Most extensions increased the copyright term by either one or two years; the largest extension was in 1974, which extended the term by nineteen years. Finally, in 1998, Congress enacted the Copyright Term Extension Act, alternatively known as the Sonny Bono Copyright Extension Act or pejoratively as the Mickey Mouse Protection Act, which extended the term of existing and future copyrights by twenty years. Lawrence argues that the effect of these extensions is “simply to toll, or delay, the passing of works into the public domain.” (Lessig, 134) The public domain has been effectively tolled for “thirty-nine out of fifty-five years, or 70 percent of the time since 1962.” (Lessig, 134) For the next twenty- years, one-million patents will pass into the public domain, but zero copyrights will pass into the public domain because of the extended copyright term. The effect of
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this post-1976 copyright structure automatically provides creative proprietors with the maximum copyright term. According to Lessig, it has become unclear whether or not it is even possible to put works into the public domain anymore. There is no legal assurance that works that are no longer exploited will pass into the public domain. This is detrimental to creative culture because it delimits copyrighted works that should pass or should have passed into the public domain. It
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Final - Section 1 - Nick Hinman PS 301 3 16 08 Section 1...

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