[linux-elitists] Congress upholds copyright extension

Karsten M. Self kmself@ix.netcom.com
Wed Jan 15 12:33:08 PST 2003

on Wed, Jan 15, 2003 at 02:25:03PM -0500, Shawn McMahon (smcmahon@eiv.com) wrote:
> http://reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml;jsessionid=DMJO2DPPD0XHSCRBAEKSFFA?type=topNews&storyID=2050590
> "The U.S. Supreme Court upheld on Wednesday a 1998 law extending
> copyright protection by 20 years, delaying when creative works such as
> Walt Disney Co.'s Mickey Mouse cartoons, F. Scott Fitzgerald's novels
> and George Gershwin's compositions become public property."
> No surprise there, of course.  Vote was 7-2.

Stephen and Breyer dissenting.

Court's order and dissents are at Lessig's site:


I find that rendering the PDFs to textfiles makes searching and scanning
for arguments much more efficient:

    $ for f in *.pdf; do pdftotext $f; done

I note that there's a lot of speaking to the dissents in the majority
opinion.  The discussion of intent -- "to promote" -- in the majority
opinion is unconvincing, in particular on p23:
          We have also stressed, however, that it is generally for
    Congress, not the courts, to decide how best to pursue the
    Copyright Clause's objectives.  See Stewart v. Abend, 495
    U. S., at 230 ("Th[e] evolution of the duration of copyright
    protection tellingly illustrates the difficulties Congress
    faces . . . .  [I]t is not our role to alter the delicate balance
    Congress has labored to achieve."); Sony, 464 U. S., at 429
    ("[I]t is Congress that has been assigned the task of de-
    fining the scope of [rights] that should be granted to
    authors or to inventors in order to give the public appro-
    priate access to their work product."); Graham, 383 U. S.,
    at 6 ("Within the limits of the constitutional grant, the
    Congress may, of course, implement the stated purpose of
    the Framers by selecting the policy which in its judgment
    best effectuates the constitutional aim.").  The justifica-
    tions we earlier set out for Congress' enactment of the
    CTEA,  supra, at 14­17, provide a rational basis for the
    conclusion that the CTEA "promote[s] the Progress of

So the Supreme Court of the United States can invent a new power of
overriding the Constitutional role of Congress to elect a president in
the event of failure of the normal electoral process (which had not in
fact played out), but *abdicates* its duty of providing a check on

And "delicate balance" my ass.  The CTEA harmonizes US law with an
external authority to which the public has no recourse at all.

Another Supreme Abdication to the Corporate God.


Karsten M. Self <kmself@ix.netcom.com>        http://kmself.home.netcom.com/
 What Part of "Gestalt" don't you understand?
   There is no K5 Cabal:  http://www.kuro5hin.org/

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