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March 22, 2004
First there was Eldred v. Ashcroft, in which Internet publisher Eric Eldred challenged Congress's power to extend the term of copyright seemingly ad infinitum--and failed. Then there was Golan v. Ashcroft, in which music conductor Lawrence Golan continues to fight Congress's "restoration" of copyrights to works that have passed into the public domain.
Now, there is Kahle v. Ashcroft, in which two archives--Brewster Kahle's Internet Archive and the Prelinger Film Archive--have launched a challenge arguing that the Berne Convention Implementation Act (BCIA) and the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act (CTEA) together create an "effectively perpetual" term with respect to works first published after January 1, 1964 and before January 1, 1978, thereby violating the Constitution's Progress Clause.
"This case is about freeing culture from unnecessary and harmful regulation," said Chris Sprigman, CIS fellow and lead plaintiff attorney in the case. "We will focus on a series of recent changes to copyright law that have failed to benefit copyright owners, but have instead created serious burdens on those who create digital culture."
Complaint here [PDF]; FAQ here.
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