Challenge to Copyright Act Rejected
The push by some to reform copyright law got a push back by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in the recent case of Kahle vs. Gonzales. Argued by Lawrence Lessig, a supporter of the Creative Commons licensing model, the court saw through the veiled attempt to put orphaned works into the public domain.
In sum, Kahle claimed that the change from an “opt-in” to an “opt-out” for copyright extension under the 1992 Automatic Renewal Act requires First Amendment review. Kahle also complained that the current copyright term (life plus 70 years) violates the copyright clause’s “limited times” prescription. If he had been successful, orphaned works would have lost their copyright protection. Instead, the court discarded Kahle’s argument finding that it, in effect, had already been reviewed and rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court in Eldred v. Ashcroft.
The court’s ruling can be appealed. But for now, creatives can take a breath of relief.
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