The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #17319   Message #166678
Posted By: M. Ted (inactive)
22-Jan-00 - 11:21 AM
Thread Name: Sonny Bono Copyright Extension
Subject: Sonny Bono Copyright Extension
I enclose the following, courtesy of the BMI website:

Legislative Newsflash

Contesting Copyright Term Extension in Court October 20, 1999 The Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension law is being contested in the U.S. District Court in Washington, DC in a suit filed by the Berkman Center for Internet & Society of the Harvard University Law School. The suit, Eldred v. Janet Reno, was filed on behalf of the Eldritch Press, which operates a website that posts the full texts and excerpts of literature on the Internet. The majority of the literature posted on this website is in the public domain. The lawsuit contends that the Constitution intended copyrights to be secured for a "limited" time, and that the extension of copyright violates the Framer's intent. Specifically, the Eldritch Press is concerned that the extension of copyrights will postpone their ability to post certain works on their site, as these works will now fall into the public domain further into the future.  Posting works that have not yet fallen into the public domain without permission of the copyright owners could mean that the Eldritch Press would face criminal or infringement charges.  BMI, along with a number of other associations that represent copyright holders, has filed two amicus briefs supporting the government's position in this case BMI supports the rights of copyright holders and believes the extension of the term of copyright was a good and necessary change to the U.S. Copyright Law, as it brought the United States Copyright Law in line with the copyrights laws of most of the rest of the world. 

I am assuming that we, as lovers of, performers, of, and writers of, music, have a real interest in this--my view is that I favor the overturn of thislaw, because I believe that its effect is to remove things from the "public domain" which is a public trust, and hands them over to private interests so that they may profit from them. 

I also believe that it is about time that the "Public Domain" had some sort of organized and active protector--any thoughts (for all of you who are worried about non-music chat here, this is a real music issue, and a biggie)