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F & F


Copyright Extension Revisited
posted by mpawlo on Tuesday February 24, @07:58AM
from the same-thing-all-over-again-but-still dept.
Copyright Anonymous Coward writes "Last year, the Supreme Court ruling on Eldred vs. Ashcroft allowed extending corporate copyrights to be 95 years long. Now Douglas J. Keenan has a new argument against the constitutionality of the copyright extension (PDF-format). The basic idea is this: the duration of 95 years is not significantly shorter than the duration of perpetuity.

If this is correct, then 95-year copyrights must be unconstitutional (because the constitution says a copyright cannot be perpetual).

Keenan states:

'In the USA, the constitution gives Congress the authority to grant a copyright for a limited time. The purpose of this is clear from the context: economic benefits. An economic benefit can be regarded as a sequence of cash flows. In finance, the duration of a sequence of cash flows is not measured directly in years; rather, duration is calculated via a formula involving interest rates. At present, Congress has granted copyrights to corporations for terms of 95 years. The duration of 95 years seems not significantly different from the duration of perpetuity. Hence, 95-year copyright terms seem effectively not time-limited. Thus, such terms might well violate the constitution.'

Lawrence Lessig has posted the argument in his blog for comments."

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