December 20, 2002  ·  Lessig

After some questions by readers, and suggestions by friends, Jason Schultz has produced his final report about the effect of invalidating the 1976 Copyright Act’s extension of copyrights. Bottom line: more support for the public domain.

  • blufive

    Nitpick: I think Jason’s arithmatic slipped for the book numbers on page two – 4363 is 0.174% of 2500707, not 1.74%.

  • http://none Bob Palasek

    I do not read many old books nor
    watch old movies. What I do
    however is study old time music,
    mostly that which was recorded
    since 1922. I play it among
    friends and family and
    occasionally on a saturday night
    gathering in a pizza parlor,
    among friends and acquaintances,
    not for money.

    I buy various CD reissues
    of ’78s and I learn from them.
    I used to listen to oldies and
    study them in an academic sense
    when they were available on
    Napster. Those were the good
    old days of the Internet.

    As far as invalidating the 1976
    extensions,
    are the numbers for old hillbilly
    recordings much different than
    those for books and films?

    By the way, it frosts me that
    “limited time” presently means
    longer than my life time.

  • http://www.hoffmang.com/ Gene Hoffman

    Though I certainly concur that the overall relative loss that the pre ’72 copyright would be low, this analysis does skip over one important issue for the AOL-TW’s of the world. The monopolistic use of a lot of works would significantly decrease. A good example at AOL-TW is the PD nature of Bugs Bunny cartoons. For folks like EMI, the Beattle early catalog would be available PD within 20 years instead of 60 or somesuch. I could imagine the Bowie Bonds being thrown asunder to some extent. Most troublesome for many are thinks like the Gershwin music publishing that would all of a sudden leave copyright.

    I am an ardent supporter of LL on the Eldrige issues and it is right that these works should leave copyright from a constitutional perspective, but it would create some devaluation havoc that is more real than is let on by this analysis. It also ignores the nature of copyright for the top 2% or works to be the economically interesting component. Its too darn bad that we can get “use it or lose it” copyright legislation passed…