October 6, 2000

Copyright stifles creativity, says attorney

Author: JT Smith

An article in the New York Times reports on yesterday's oral arguments on the Eldred v. Reno case.
-Anonymous Reader. ed. note: further information is found in the extended copy. The government tries to claim that the "system as a whole" provides an increased incentive to authors over the former law. Unfortunately for the government, this argument was anticipated and criticized months ago by this essay which points out that "No work not published before January 1, 1978 can ever qualify for the 67-year renewal term. Hence the extended renewal term cannot ... be argued to provide an indirect incentive to future creators by virtue of being part of a uniform regulatory system which by its overall structure provides the incentive, since it applies only to an obsolete system which is no current author is able to take advantage of." Then there is the Congressional Research Service Report 98-144E, "Copyright Term Extension: Estimating the Economic Values" by Edward Rappaport, May 11, 1998, which has this evaluation of the incentive
Provided by the life-plus-seventy term for new works: âThe additional incentive afforded by adding 20 years to the current life plus 50 appears to be small compared to the already existing incentive. This is due to two considerations: the small probability of a work surviving as long as the current term, and the effect of time-discounting of future incomes.â

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