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May 23, 2002

ABA Feud over Copyright Giveaway

In a recent legal article, Split IP Bar Feuds Over Copyright Law, it highlighted how much the American Bar Association's Intellectual Property division is a just a bastion of lawyers on the payroll of corporations. The issue is a case being appealed to the Supreme Court, Eldred v. Ashcroft based on a law that extended copyrights another 20 years - it just so-happened that this saved Disney's Mickey Mouse from imminent entry into the public domain. Since the purpose of copyrights is to give incentives for future innovation, extending copyrights for already created work violates the constitutional purpose of the copyright clause of the Constitution. I have a general skepticism of Supreme Court overturning any Congressional laws, so I have mixed feelings on this case, but it's clear that most of the ABA corporate lawyers were not worried about overreaching judicial power but about the pocket books of their clients. It does look like the IP lawyer section was overridden by the general ABA organization which wanted to stay out of the controversy.

Posted by Nathan at May 23, 2002 11:28 AM


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