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NY Times: Copyright Extension Stifles Creativity, Lessig Tells Court

Oct 06, 2000, 15:54 (4 Talkback[s])

"Last year, a group of Harvard professors asked the United States District Court in Washington to declare the copyright extension bill unconstitutional. The case, Eldred v. Reno, was dismissed in October 1999. But Lawrence Lessig, a professor of law at Stanford University who was involved in the original case and who is representing the plaintiffs in the appeal, argued this morning before the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit that the case "merits heightened review."

"Alfred R. Mollin, arguing on behalf of the Justice Department... said... The extension... protects and promotes creativity by making the payoff more valuable. ... But in many cases, Mr. Lessig contends, large corporations have benefited the most from the copyright laws because they often hold valuable copyrights. Congress, by extending the duration of copyrights, are "rewarding and protecting monopolies," Mr. Lessig said."

"The 1998 law lengthened copyrights for works created on or after Jan. 1, 1978, to the life of the author plus 70 years; it extended copyrights for works created for hire and owned by corporations to 95 years, from 75."

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