Fifteen years ago, the President signed into law the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act — aka, the Mickey Mouse Protection Act. That law extended the copyright term for EXISTING copyrights by twenty years.
The Act was a perfect example of everything that is wrong with Washington, because as economists from the right and left recognized, it made no public sense to extend the term of existing copyrights. Milton Friedman, the libertarian economist who won the Nobel Prize, called it a “no brainer.”
Copyrights are an incentive; there is no reason to increase the incentive for work that has already been done. “The real incentive here is for corporate owners that bought copyrights to lobby Congress for another 20 years of revenue,” wrote US Senator Hank Brown (R-CO) in a 1996 Senate Judiciary Report.
You can read about the Sonny Bono Act, and the fight to stop it at the link below. That fight took up a big chunk of my life, as we took the question all the way to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court's view was essentially, if Congress wants to do something crazy, Congress is free to do it.
The question now is whether Congress will extend the copyright term for existing copyrights again. They've already done it 11 times in the last 50 years.
It's time we say: NEVER AGAIN. Please sign our petition to Congress at the right demanding they not extend the copyright term again.
PETITION TO CONGRESS: Stop extending copyright protection for corporate interests. Copyrights are an incentive; there is no reason to increase the incentive for work that has already been done.
Read more about the Sonny Bono Act and the fight to stop it here. And add your name to the right to take action!
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