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January 15, 2003

Supremes Give Disney a Win

In the hotly awaited (at least among techno-legal types) Eldred decision, the Supreme Court decided 7-2 that Congress was constitutionally within its powers to in 1998 extend copyrights on existing works for an extra twenty years.

Tech legal activists like Larry Lessig had led a legal challenge to the law, arguing that such an extension on existing works could create no retroactive incentive for creative production and was a theft from the public domain on behalf of corporate interests.

I agree on the outrageous theft from the public, but am glad that the legal challenge lost. It would have been terrible judicial activism for the Court to limit Congress in how they structure copyrights. It would smack too much of the rightwing court trying to strike down environmental laws as "illegal takings" or other times when the Court tries to act as a super-regulator.

If the Copyright Extension Act was an outrageous ripoff on behalf of corporate interests, its up to tech advocates to mobilize voters.

Elections are the place for fixing Congressional mistakes, not the courts. Larry in his blog at least seems to be admitting that the next step is the streets, not the courts, so that's a good thing.

Posted by Nathan at January 15, 2003 12:31 PM

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