From Larry Lessig and Matt Haughey: Eldred v. Ashcroft (, a website for the noble case before the Supreme Court to get the latest Copyright Term Extension Act ruled unconstitutional. They’ve got some cool buttons, like “When Copyright Attacks” and “Create Like It’s 1790”.

Reading the opening brief (PDF) is mindblowing. The original copyright law only covered “Maps, Charts and Books” and even then only the right to “publish, republish, and vend” a particular work. Thus actual copying (and sharing and downloading and all the things that the copyright holders have been in a furor about as of late) were not restricted. Also, copyrighted materials had to clearly state that they were copyrighted, and when and copies had to be registered with the Library of Congress. The punishment was fifty cents per sheet in violation of the law. Imagine how much different life would be if we had even one of these restrictions on copyright still today. (Get your lobbyists ready!)

Also, LawMeme covered a yale moot court which heard the case and ruled in Eldred’s favor.

posted May 20, 2002 10:48 PM (Politics) #


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