The Sony (sic) Bono Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998 granted individuals copyright protection for their life plus 70 years. Do you believe that a period this long is necessary to encourage the production of creative work? What are the advantages and disadvantages of a longer copyright validity period?
Before we can address copyright extension law we must first understand what a copyright is. A copyright is a set of exclusive rights granted to the author or creator of an original work, including the right to copy, distribute and adapt the work. Copyright does not protect ideas, only their expression or fixation. Copyright owners have the exclusive statutory right to exercise control over copying and other exploitation of the works for a specific period of time, after which the work is said to enter the public domain. Uses which are covered under limitations and exceptions to copyright, such as fair use, do not require permission from the copyright owner. All other uses require permission and copyright owners can license or permanently transfer or assign their exclusive rights to others.[i]
Copyrights are granted to protect writers, authors and others who produce intellectual properties from unauthorized use of their products and to insure that the originator receives the rewards of their labors. This is believed to encourage more creative works in society. If an originator cannot profit from his or her labors, why bother?
Initially only books were subject to copyright law; however in the 19th century, copyright law was expanded to include maps, charts, engravings, prints, musical compositions, dramatic works, photographs, paintings, drawings and sculptures i It was expanded even further in the 20th century to include motion pictures, computer programs, sound recordings, choreography and architectural works.i Copyright law is designed to protect the expression or manifestation of an idea rather than the fundamental idea itselfi If copyright law...
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