Another good piece on the copyright land grab.
The main message of Heather Green’s excellent Business Week piece is that Congress’ continual extension of the protection period — under publishers’ tenacious lobbying — has all but ended fair use.
“To create a safety valve so that copyright wouldn’t clash with the First Amendment’s protection of free speech and to recognize fair abridgments, a fair use doctrine was established, granting individuals certain rights over how they use copyrighted material. Now, though, that balance is being upset. The threat of the Net sent the publishing industry scrambling, and fair use and public domain are being crowded. That’s putting innovation at risk. The first side of the squeeze on innovation comes in extending the delay in allowing works to fall into the public domain. That’s what’s at issue in the case the Supreme Court will hear in October. Congress has extended copyright terms 11 times since 1962, compared to only twice from 1790 to 1962. A big contention of the current Supreme Court case is that lawmakers are simply turning limited copyright protection into endless protection by continually extending the terms. That trend negates the intention of the limited copyright. ”