In a recent column, Dan Gillmor of the San José Mercury News noted that, if the copyright in Gone with the Wind had expired after 56 years, as was originally agreed, the we would all now be enjoying The Wind done Gone as well as Gone with the Wind. But the extensions of 1978 and 1998 mean that the author of The Wind done Gone must either wait until 2032, or find a judge who agrees that her use of the earlier work qualifies as a "fair use."
Since the author has her publisher's money backing her, she might eventually argue fair use successfully. But this is small comfort for the many other authors who don't have deep pockets to draw on, or whose re-workings of in-term older works can't qualify as fair uses.
If Eldred v. Ashcroft succeeds, The Wind done Gone will be able to be published in 2012 even if it doesn't qualify as a fair use of Gone with the Wind.