Lessig on Eldred vs Ashcroft

Lawrence Lessig argued against the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act in 1999. They lost (and lost on appeal to SCOTUS), which was a terrible thing for public domain works. One of the arguments lost in the (what little) reporting was done on this case is this one:

This point is rarely made, but it has far-reaching implications, and it was a key theme of our brief. When Congress decides to extend the term of existing copyrights, it is making a choice about which speakers it will favor. Not only would upholding the CTEA mean that there was no limit to the power of Congress to extend copyrights and further concentrate the market; it would also mean that there was no effective limit to Congress's power to play favorites, through copyright, with who has the right to speak.


He looks back not with regret, but with an almost unbearable responsibility. A very poignant article from an obviously passionate man.

Link (via kottke.org)

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