Prof Patry: “The Global Garrotting of the Public Domain

“But for U.S. content owners, the EU reciprocity provision for term extension was merely a stalking horse for the greater prize: extending the term 20 years for U.S. works., and not just any U.S. works, but pre-existing ones, whose term would go from 75 to 95 years from publication, after already having been increased from 56 years to 75 years in 1978. It is these old act works that content industries were concerned about, not new act ones governed by life plus 50: after all, who in 1998, when term extension was passed, was worried about works whose term of protection were scheduled to expire in 2073? Who knew in 1998 what works would be worth anything in 2073? No one. But people in 1998 did have a fair idea about works created 75 years before are still be valuable. So to be clear about the purpose of term extension, it has always been about the past, not the future; it has always been about keeping pre-existing works out of the public domain and not about any alleged incentive to create new ones.”