May 21, 2003  ·  Lessig

So I’ve gotten tons of mail from people who have taken up the challenge to spread the idea of the Eldred Act. I’ll be reporting on this feedback over time. Christopher Kantarjiev sent a letter to Congresswoman Eshoo (CA, Democrat) who represents Stanford. Here’s her reply:

> Thank you for your e-mail about the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to
> uphold the constitutionality of the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension
> Act (CTEA), which adds 20 years to the terms of existing and future
> copyrights.
> The case of Eldred v. Ashcroft challenged the constitutionality of CTEA,
> charging that CTEA fails constitutional review under both the Copyright
> Clause’s “limited times” prescription and the First Amendment’s free
> speech guarantee. The framers of the Constitution wanted to promote
> science and arts by allowing Congress to grant exclusive rights to
> creations “for limited times.” Congress has extended this period
> gradually over time and the Court held that Congress acted within its
> authority and did not transgress Constitutional limitations when it passed
> While I appreciate the importance of the public domain and I remain
> dedicated to preserving such fundamental rights as freedom of speech and
> freedom of the press, I do believe that Congress must also act to ensure
> the international protection of copyrighted works. We must balance the
> tensions between these two sets of interests carefully.
> As you mentioned in your email, one possible compromise is the Eric Eldred
> Act, which takes a common sense approach to move unused copyrighted work
> with no continuing commercial value into the public domain. The Eric
> Eldred Act has not yet been introduced in the Congress, but I shall
> continue to monitor this issue, keeping your important thoughts in mind.
> If you have any other questions or comments, let me hear from you. I
> always appreciate hearing from my constituents and ask that you continue
> to inform me on issues you care about. I need your thoughts and benefit
> from your ideas.
> Sincerely,
> Anna G. Eshoo
> Member of Congress

“common sense” — I count that as good news. Keep those letter going…

  • mpt

    On the other hand: “I shall continue to monitor this issue, keeping your important thoughts in … uh … What were you writing to me about, again?”

    I guess visiting personally continues to be better than writing, if you can arrange it. (If not, by all means write.)

  • Lessig

    personal visits are always better, true. but let me know about any contacts, and we’ll keep this rolling.

  • Timothy Phillips

    “Ensure international copyright protection ?” We had plenty of that before the CTEA. Now we have international copyright overprotection.

    “Monitor the issue ?” Why doesn’t the representative introduce the bill, if it has not already been introduced ?

  • Gene Becker

    When Rep. Eshoo’s office responded to my email in less than a day, I was *very* impressed. Now I see it was a form letter (albeit a pretty good one), so I’m slightly less impressed :( Well, better than our two senators at least, no reply at all.