Progress on Point
Release 13.15 June 2006 Periodic Commentaries on the Policy Debate
How Long is Long Enough? Copyright Term Extensions and the Berne Convention
by Patrick Ross* When an opponent of copyright protection has exhausted himself of other arguments, the final fallback argument is often this: “Copyright terms are too long!” The accusation tends to resonate; after all, a work-for-hire copyrighted work created today by a corporation likely will not enter the public domain in any of our lifetimes. I will only see a copyrighted work produced today by an individual artist enter the public domain if I live to be exceedingly old, and that artist meets a sudden death in the very near future. We are also told, when the argument is made that copyright terms are too long, that they have gone up eleven times in the past forty years, with existing copyrights extended by 19 years in 1976 and both existing and future copyrights extended by 20 years in 1998.1 Some of those increases were stalling tactics as reform legislation slowly moved its way through Congress, but there is no question that the history of copyright protection in the U.S. has been one of increasing, not decreasing length; the original copyright terms, enacted shortly after the Constitution was enacted, called for a 14-year term renewable for 14 more years. So what does this mean, this acknowledgment that on a historical scale copyright terms are quite long, and that over time they have increased, not decreased, in length? Not nearly as much as copyright opponents would like us to believe. Their focus is on U.S. history and policy, but they fail (intentionally or not) to acknowledge that in fact copyrighted works are part of a global market. That global market is governed in part by a treaty that dates back to the late 19th century, but that we only joined in the late 20th century. Under the Berne Convention of 1888, which the US joined in 1989, U.S. artists are ensured that their copyrighted works will be protected in about 160 nations across the globe. By belonging to Berne, the US has committed itself to minimum copyright term lengths of life of the author plus 50 years for individual artists, and 75 years from publication for work-for-hire creations. This was the U.S. policy prior to the adoption of the Copyright Term Extension Act in 1998, which essentially added twenty years to the terms of both existing and future works.
Patrick Ross is a senior fellow and Vice President for Communications and External Affairs at The Progress & Freedom Foundation. The views expressed here are his own, and are not necessarily those of The Progress & Freedom Foundation, its fellows, staff or board members. 1 Lawrence Lessig, Free Culture: The Nature and Future of Creativity, Penguin Books, 2004, p. 4.
New York U. The Berne Convention Explained The Berne Convention stemmed from the promotion of a group of European authors led by Victor Hugo in response to international piracy.S.Page 2
Progress on Point 13. 160-161. and IP industries contribute nearly 40% of U.produced IP respected abroad is central to those economic numbers.S. the Sudan. net export revenues. did not choose to join Berne at the time. p. Berne was further amended in 1979. Stockholm in 1967 and at Paris in 1971. while finding ourselves in the unflattering company of nations such as Afghanistan.
Stephen Siwek. Switzerland in 1914. and ensure that other Berne Convention nations honor those copyrights. Representatives of numerous nations met in 1886 to iron out basic agreements on copyright protection. Berne calls for copyright terms of life of the author plus fifty years. cinematography and photography. The 1971 Paris version contains some of the key copyright provisions regarding terms and the prohibition on formalities. so to remain compliant with TRIPs we are also limited to.S. Brussels in 1948. and Yemen. Engines of Economic Growth: Economic Contributions of the US Intellectual Property Industries. Thus.15
The core copyright industries in 2003 contributed $33 billion in reported U. then revised at Rome in 1928. New York City. private industry growth and nearly 60% of the growth of U. The same copyright term length of life-plus-fifty is found in the Trade-Related aspects of Intellectual Property rights treaty (TRIPs) that the U. pp.4 Berne contains three core principles: (1) Works created in any Berne member state will receive the same protections in any other member state that is given to its own artists. and (3) protection is independent of the existence of protection in the country of origin of the work. wishes to preserve both the copyrights of individual artists and that of work-for-hire creations. was still primarily a net copyright importer. The alternative is to forfeit our membership in the league of Berne Convention countries and risk punishment under the WTO.S. then at most the U. adheres to under the World Trade Organization. 3 Siva Vaidhyanathan.
. The Berne Convention Implementation Act of 1988 cleared Congress and formally wedded US copyright law to the Berne Convention.S. with some exceptions for anonymous works.S.3 The Berne Convention was revised at Paris in 1896 and again at Berlin in 1908. The U.S.S. Berne addresses many issues beyond terms and formalities. such as defining what works are eligible for copyright and what “moral rights” an artist may have. instead waiting more than 100 years.2 Having U. 2001. 162. rolling back CTEA. at most. (2) protection won’t be conditional on formalities. Economists Incorporated (2005). Professor Siva Vaidhyanathan speculates it was because in the late 19th century the U. New York University Press. if the U. could roll back copyright terms to the 1998 level. It was completed at Berne. exportable products and services. Copyrights and Copywrongs: The Rise of Intellectual Property and How it Threatens Creativity. 4 Ibid.S.
Some sources of nations and terms include a Penn State U. for example. I have made this argument myself.org/culture/en/ev. FAQ at http://onlinebooks. 7 The US is not the only nation that changes its copyright terms so this list may not be completely up-todate. http://www.unesco.jsp?country_id=ALL&start_year=ANY&end_year=ANY&sear ch_what=C&treaty_id=15 . 57. in 1990 it was 83. with life-plus-twenty-five (although Djibouti joined Berne in 2002 so that should change). showing a clear trend toward nations adopting.7 Utilitarianism vs.Page 3
Progress on Point 13.int/treaties/en/statistics/StatsResults.wipo. Should the US choose to offer less than life-plus-fifty for authors we would not be entirely alone.” Progress & Freedom Foundation Progress on Point 13. a 120-year-old treaty. 6 Ibid. Some argue that Locke’s views apply well to the creative aspect of artists and thus the theory translates from real to intellectual property. there are 161 countries around the world that have implemented Berne in full.library.5 That is nearly double the total of nations belonging to Berne when the US joined in 1989.wipo.9 But Landes and Posner say they “are skeptical that
List available on the WIPO site at http://www.
. Natural Rights There has long been conflict between utilitarian and natural rights approaches to copyright. namely analyzing the economic returns gained from various copyright laws. which offer no copyright protections. the vast majority of nations joining Berne.phpURL_ID=14076&URL_DO=DO_TOPIC&URL_SECTION=201. Stanford Law Review. not rejecting.int/treaties/en/ShowResults.S.6 In addition. Thus. 2004. the Berne Convention. February 2006. Our friends would include Afghanistan and Laos. have done so in the last 36 years.html#whatpd and a United Nations Educational.8 University of Chicago Law and Economics Professor William Landes and U.jsp?treaty_id=15&lang=en .upenn. but now it’s life-plus-fifty. in 2000 it was 147 and by 2006 it was 161. in 1980 it was 70. 8 Christopher Sprigman. 9 Patrick Ross. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit Judge Richard Posner are perhaps the most eloquent advocates of a “utilitarian” approach to copyright. or Iran and Yemen with life-plus-thirty.html . Scientific and Cultural Organization online collection of national copyright laws at http://portal. Iraq until 2004 was life-plus-twenty-five. and that conflict is central in the debate over copyright term lengths. The roots of the conflict can be found in which side one is focused on. with copyright defenders often taking a natural rights approach and those focusing on use of and access to creative works taking a utilitarian approach. “Artists and Culture: Empowering the Former to Foster the Latter. p. so any nation part of the WTO but not a member of Berne still is required to adhere to this copyright term or face possible trade sanctions.15
According to WIPO. Not all nations have joined Berne or are adhering to TRIPs. as stated above the TRIPs agreement imposes a life-plus-fifty term length to its signatories. Many scholars have cited 17th century philosopher John Locke’s theory that property becomes owned by the individual that invests labor to transform it. 544. Vol. The membership in 1970 was 58.6. Djibouti and the Sudan. Reform(aliz)ing Copyright.edu/okbooks.
arguing that a governmental action sanctioning tolerance sounds like that tolerance could later be removed by government. The Constitution in Article One.15
the noneconomic theories of intellectual property have much explanatory power or normative significance…”10 While Landes and Posner are applying the University of Chicago Law and Economics model in adopting a utilitarian approach to copyright. Natural rights advocates would argue that the same freedom holds true for property. Madison wrote. Madison instead rewrote the bill to promote “freedom” to practice or not to practice as one chose. Bell. is noted to have used a utilitarian argument in explaining the copyright clause and its adoption of a limited monopoly. which took Locke’s natural law phrase of “life. 12 Tom W. others invoke the Founding Fathers in arguing for utilitarianism.gov/national-archives-experience/charters/constitution.Page 4
Progress on Point 13.” Jefferson also borrowed from Locke’s writings on the separation of church and state in a bill he introduced in the Virginia Assembly in 1779. Random House. writing to Thomas Jefferson. 2001. “To move from today’s positivist. if only because that context is radically different from the utilitarian and positivist paradigm that dominates our political and legal discourse today. “Recognizing this past intellectual context is important in understanding history.S. in fact. it was not government’s place to grant religious tolerance. was a time dominated by the labor theory of property and the social contract theory of civil history. Cambridge Mass. liberty and happiness. utilitarian world to the natural-rights world of the eighteenth century and early
William Landes and Richard Posner.12 This argument suggests Locke was not on the minds of Jefferson and Madison when crafting the copyright clause. 5. the amended bill became Virginia law and served as a model for the religion clause in the First Amendment of the U. 2006. but we cannot be sure.crf-usa. he wrote. 13 “Bill of Rights in Action.org/bria/bria13_4. and the Making of a Nation. that the suggestion that Jefferson and his peers were utilitarians is a “historical myth.
. Constitution’s Bill of Rights.archives. by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries. instead.. the Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.” University of Cincinnati Law Review Vol. instead. Adam Mossoff has argued.” he writes. James Madison. American Gospel: The Founding Fathers.13 That bill called for tolerance of various religions. But Madison amended the bill.14 Thus. 2003. New York. Statutory Failure in the Protection of Expressive Works.” Constitutional Rights Foundation. Section 8.”11 Utilitarians note that there’s nothing in this language about natural rights to intellectual property.html). “Escape from Copyright: Market Success vs. 14 Jon Meacham. for a limited time. Fall 1997 (http://www. We know that Jefferson was heavily influenced by Locke in writing the Declaration of Independence. in order to promote science and arts.” The 18th century. Congress is given the authority to grant the equivalent of copyright. 11 Both a text version and an actual scan of the original Constitution can be found on the National Archives web site (http://www. p. The Economic Structure of Intellectual Property Law. it was an inherent freedom of all men. liberty and property” and declared we had the rights of “life. 69.html). Clause 8 states Congress shall have the power “To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts.
”18 That brief met with some challenge from U.15
nineteenth century is. Hazlett. April 2002. Supreme Court in Eldred v.”17 If that weren’t enough.Page 5
Progress on Point 13. seventeen esteemed economists – including Nobel Prize winners George Akerlof.
. Kenneth Arrow. known as the “Sonny Bono Act” after the late performer and congressman. Amicus Curiae in Support of Petitioners before the U. however. Arrow. Steven Shavell. they felt the 17 economists neglected to examine the elasticity of the
Adam Mossoff.html). Noll. Nov. James Buchanan.pdf). 17 Steve Forbes.com/Left+gets+nod+from+right+on+copyright+law/2100-1023_3-966595. 20. Kramer. Zeckhauser. 16 Declan McCullagh. Cohen. Who Cares What Thomas Jefferson Thought About Patents? Reevaluating the Patent ‘Privilege’ in Historical Context.com. When Lawyers Do History. Bresnahan. and had no impact on works already created because those works were created without knowledge of a future extension. James M. Timothy F. Thomas W. Robert W. Linda R. Varian and Richard J. 72 George Washington Law Review 387. 390 (2003). “Taken as a whole. Coase. C. Posner applied that approach to the 1998 Copyright Term Extension Act (CTEA).’”15 However.edu/openlaw/eldredvashcroft/supct/amici/economists. as the public domain provides underestimated societal wealth. Kenneth J. in the apt words of Larry Kramer. Litan. State Professor Stephen Margolis. Green. “it is highly unlikely that the economic benefits from copyright extension under the CTEA outweigh the additional costs.16 Steve Forbes took a similar view during the Eldred proceedings: “It is fitting and proper that your creations be protected by law for your lifetime and a reasonable period afterward. Jerry R. “Left gets nod from right on copyright law.” Forbes. “Term Limits for Copyrights.S.” they wrote. that is not what our Constitution stipulates. Hahn. May 20. Richard Schmalensee. Writing after the Eldred decision was handed down.law. Creativity and culture are enhanced by having works ultimately become public domain. Ronald H. So while under a natural rights perspective one could argue in favor of perpetual copyright. Posner said CTEA failed under a cost-benefit test.” CNET News. But there is no justification for what Congress has been doing: transforming a limited monopoly into an unlimited one. With a utilitarian perspective it is appropriate to examine copyright term lengths and attempt to determine the costs and benefits of term extensions. Hal R. Mossoff cites Larry D. Robert E. 92 Cornell Law Review (forthcoming 2007). That 1998 Act was the one that extended existing and future copyright terms by 20 years. nor is it the framework in which copyright law is crafted. Scott Hemphill. particularly with the advent of the Internet… The High Court would be right to rule that enough is enough and should knock down that 1998 law.com. 2002 (http://news. Ronald Coase and Milton Friedman – filed an amicus curiae in the Eldred case arguing that from an economic point of view.C.com. Akerlof. most arguments for and against copyrights and copyright term extensions in the US today are utilitarian in nature. Buchanan. ‘rather like visiting a foreign country. Milton Friedman. of Texas Professor Stan Liebowitz and N. the extension for works not yet created offered less than a 1% improvement on return for the creator. Ashcroft.harvard. making our copyright terms longer than the minimum terms in Berne. 18 George A. Roger G. 2002 (http://cyber.
“The right response to the CTEA therefore is not some generalized protest against all forms of intellectual property.23 But what has not been put forward is an economic analysis that would show what the impact would be from going beyond a repeal of CTEA to terms that would violate Berne and forfeit the international protections U.” The Wall St. was an unconstitutional takings: “Congress has the power to tinker with the length and scope of copyright protection for new works. Rather. Congressional Power. and failed to properly consider how features of copyright law such as fair use and the parody exemption could mitigate the costs of copyright. within the bounds of the Berne Convention. 36 LOY. 23 Vaidhyanathan. Thus.Page 6
Progress on Point 13. by taking works destined for the public domain and extending their time under copyright protection. Journal. REV.aei-brookings. 21. They agreed with the economists’ amicus that on its face. it should take the form of a rifle shot protest against the creation of rights for no particular reason than to line the pockets of existing rights holders.
. Feb. Epstein. 10. Symposium: Eldred v.S. p. 36. they may have underestimated the potential for additional creativity through longer terms.19 Copyright defender Richard Epstein of the University of Chicago is more willing to agree with the economists’ amicus on the issue of extending existing the terms of already created and copyrighted works.”21 It should be noted that shortly after CTEA became law.”22 So while academics differ on copyright term extensions. Jan. said there could be societal benefits from extending the terms on such works as well. both sides of the bargain.org/publications/abstract. A. Epstein wrote that the law. 1998. Ashcroft: Intellectual Property. But Liebowitz and Margolis.” Progress on Point 13. public and private.20 But Epstein doesn’t share the enthusiasm of some CTEA opponents as far as remaking copyright law.php?pid=421). 2006.S. we see that under a utilitarian approach there are significant arguments in favor of a reversal of CTEA. and the Constitution: The Dubious Constitutionality of the Copyright Term Extension Acts. Such an analysis should be performed before any arguments are made in favor of abrogating Berne.” he wrote recently. 21 Ibid.” AEI-Brookings Joint Center for Regulatory Studies. But once rights have been created under an existing system. artists enjoy under that treaty. 157 (2002).15
supply of creative works. focusing instead solely on benefits received by authors. “Seventeen Famous Economists Weigh in on Copyright: The Role of Theory. and return us to a life-plus-fifty-years model that was advocated 100 years ago by Mark Twain. L. 123. Such a move would keep the U. Empirics. and Network Effects. 2004 (http://www. “Why Libertarians Shouldn’t be (Too) Skeptical About Intellectual Property. The Progress & Freedom Foundation. p. extending the terms for works already created made little sense because the extension didn’t factor into the work’s creation. L. arguing that it isn’t always most efficient to have works in a commons. See also Richard A. The Arguments For Shorter Terms
Stan Liebowitz and Stephen Margolis. 20 Richard Epstein. Dec. “Congress’ Copyright Giveaway. 22 Epstein. should be respected. “The new extension increases the risk of blockade without acting as a spur for further creation.4.
S. quoting the 1971 Paris Act providing guidance on Berne. That case was an attempt to overturn the CTEA.28 NYU’s Vaidhyanathan is less timid about addressing the Berne Convention. But Lessig dismisses that argument: “The draft solved any problem with international law. “Orphan Works Comments. but it inspired Lessig to write his own piece of legislation.”26 There is little doubt that the Public Domain Enhancement Act violates Berne. 29 Vaidhyanathan. 248-249.24 He has continued to argue for this approach in proceedings dealing with orphan works.” namely an obligation to register. p. 27 Ibid. which Rep. who argued the issue before the U. in that it contains a “formality. 253.30 But Vaidhyanathan’s hostility toward Berne seems to be reflective of the fact that it prevents
Lessig. Lawrence Lessig. p. and dismisses it as that “absurd” notion held by Europeans that copyright is a “natural right. Lessig lost that case on a 7-2 vote. entry into Berne in 1989. If a work wasn’t registered.gov/orphan/comments/OW0643-STM-CreativeCommons. but tells us a lot about how Lessig would reform copyright term extensions. Lessig is contemptuous of this change.”27 He doesn’t explain how to reconcile the fact that Berne doesn’t say one can have formalities if they are minimal. 30 Ibid. pp. Ashcroft.Page 7
Progress on Point 13. such enjoyment and such exercise shall be independent of the existence of protection in the country of the origin of the work. with the majority ruling that Congress has the authority to define what a “limited time” is for copyright protection. on behalf of Save the Music and Creative Commons.S. The case was a model of judicial restraint. such as registration. 250.29 These treaties led to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998. he admits. 2005 (http://www. of which Vaidhyanathan is also hostile. was amended in 1908 to forbid copyright formalities. the Public Domain Enhancement Act. with the consequences of not acting being forfeiture of copyright. p. opposes the multiple extensions of US copyright terms. 160-161. Vaidhyanathan. it bans them outright. 9. 25.
. p. Berne. like Lessig. Zoe Lofgren (D-Cal.) introduced on his behalf. “The enjoyment and the exercise of these rights shall not be subject to any formality. and in particular is offended by two treaties that emerged from Berne in 1996. it would enter the public domain.” says Article 5(2).” March 25. In fact.25 While Lessig makes a compelling case for his proposal. 26 Lessig.copyright.15
Perhaps the most noted advocate for shorter terms is Stanford Law Professor Lawrence Lessig. 1886. His plan would require a copyright owner 50 years after publication to register the work and pay the fee of $1. 28 Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works. The bill went nowhere. he is quick to denounce the U. he barely touches on the implications of this new model under Berne. Sept. It imposed the simplest requirement upon copyright owners possible. in particular the CTEA. Supreme Court in Eldred v. the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Copyright Treaty and the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty.pdf). authored primarily by European copyright attorneys.
the kind of copyright term rollback he’d like to see. but says authors would be encouraged to join “by exposing the works of noncompliant rightsholders to a ‘default’ license that allows use for a predetermined fee. Sprigman says. as a category.
. authors. 34 Sprigman. 2001. p. Landes and Posner argue that current copyright terms. N.32 They advocate an elimination of our current life-plus system. when copyright protection generally began with publication or registration. Prometheus Books. But they differ in one key respect – their view of Berne. Sprigman has other proposals. “So our suggested system would require a return to something like the pre-1976 law. because anyone choosing not to register must not feel their work has value.31 Two respected scholars in the field argue that the U. 215.Y. but he argues that some reform can be done within Berne. not because he believes it violates Berne.Page 8
Progress on Point 13.S. and thus clearly has lost
Jessica Litman. Landes and Posner. but says these authors “are likely not. “This would require the United States to withdraw from the Berne Convention. also resents current copyright terms but doesn’t suggest any ways they could be significantly reduced while the US remains obligated to Berne.” That fee would approach zero. he makes no mention of any end-run around Berne. when analyzed on a cost-benefit analysis. joined it. One would institute “newstyle formalities” in the US copyright system. deprived of any aspect of the ‘enjoyment and exercise’ of the economic rights appertaining to copyright.” Landes and Posner note in a footnote on the topic. would in fact have to withdraw from Berne if it enacted any significant reform of the copyright system.S. but because it is insufficient reform.” The idea that forcing into a collective license priced near zero of any work not formally registered by its creator is not a violation of Berne seems a misreading of the ban on formalities.” Christopher Sprigman concedes that Landes and Posner say that the U. he dismisses for political reasons the possibility of applying formalities only to U. as Lessig suggests.”34 He proposes what he calls a “voluntary” registration program for works. Digital Copyright. Amherst. for anyone in that license loses the ability to negotiate price and exclude use. “of which it became a signatory in 1989 and which requires signatories to provide a minimum term of life plus fifty years.. He acknowledges his proposal means anyone who doesn’t register has lost his “right to exclude” use of his or her work. 33 Ibid. p. Wayne State U. He also dismisses Lessig’s legislation. Arguing that copyright needs to be “reformalized” in order for society to more properly utilize creative works. Instead. 555.” they write. Law Professor Jessica Litman. would have to pull out of Berne in order to do significant reform. which he says would not affect a copyright holder’s “enjoyment and exercise” and would therefore “comply with our Berne obligations under the current Paris Act.S.33 In this they are advocating a system not unlike Lessig’s proposal.S. Another scholar who has analyzed the Berne Convention and the process by which the U. are too long.
35 He acknowledges that any renewal requirement that might be imposed. conditions can be added without amending Berne. but Sprigman argues that because there is no language forbidding conditions on that length. for the most part. Sprigman also proposes amending Berne. if offered equally to every author. Ibid. there is little harm in rolling back copyright terms to a pre-CTEA level. In order to ensure that all artists in all Berne countries continued to receive protection and not have to deal with complying with dozens of formalities. Conclusion Does it matter to an artist whether her work will be protected 50 years after her death or 70? Perhaps. His proposal would remove the prohibition on formalities in Article 5(2) of the Paris Act of the Berne Convention and replace it with a provision allowing member countries to impose formalities. but reason would suggest it’s unlikely that factor alone would decide whether she were to create a work. Any copyright holder who failed to meet new formalities and thus saw her copyright taken away before the end of a life-plus-fifty length of time would seem to have excellent standing to challenge that action under Berne. in some cases dramatically. Thus. p. But the return they could see on their investment of time and effort in their creation would diminish. Creators. and that could reduce overall participation in creating culture. the life-plus-fifty requirement would have to be amended as well.
Ibid. they would have their hands full figuring out how to deal with works caught in the middle of the change.15
“enjoyment and exercise” of rights. 550. 546-7. from a utilitarian point of view. But Sprigman dismisses that notion by noting that they are separate provisions of Berne: “Remove the current ban on formalities. he proposes a centralized WIPO registry database. must be enjoyed in full by every author without condition. would continue to create. is clearly subjecting the creator to a formality. Berne clearly states that the minimum copyright is life-plus-fifty. and nothing in the Convention specifies that the term. Perhaps anticipating that conclusion. Losing rights because of a failure to register.”36 This is a peculiar conclusion. But what if the US were to abandon a life-plus system? What if we were to require copyright holders to register their works.Page 9
Progress on Point 13. one would suspect the impact would be little.
. pp. could conflict with a separate Berne provision that calls for a minimum copyright term of life-plus-fifty. It would seem that if formalities are to be reintroduced by amending Berne. This paper doesn’t advocate such a rollback but it doesn’t oppose it either. even in a “voluntary” registry. but overall creative works would continue to be produced. such as Lessig’s renewal at 50 years. as we did prior to the 1976 reforms? What if we were to require renewals on penalty of forfeiture of rights? It’s hard to say what impact that would have on the incentive to create. Should Congress decide that repealing CTEA better reflects the passage “for a limited time” in the US Constitution.
rather than ignore it. both to protect their own “natural” rights as creators and to ensure they have a utilitarian incentive to create. opinion leaders and the public about issues associated with technological change. they would have leverage to begin a reform of Berne. this move might be considered insufficient reform. For many utilitarians.
The Progress & Freedom Foundation 1444 Eye Street.pff. The views expressed here are those of the authors. as Victor Hugo and Mark Twain knew more than a century ago. Berne has been rewritten numerous times over the last 120 years. DC 20005 web: www. its Board of Directors. it is a private. Established in 1993. based on a philosophy of limited government. and with each passing year they become less susceptible to creative reinterpretation.S.Page 10
Progress on Point 13. 3) Repeal CTEA. and longer in other Berne nations. Any arguments put forward on copyright term limit reform must acknowledge Berne. and do not necessarily represent the views of the Foundation.15
It seems clear that attempts by academics to reintroduce formalities such as registration while remaining in Berne’s good graces are doomed to fail. 1) Withdraw from Berne. free markets and civil liberties.S. studies. 2) Rewrite Berne. That could lead to far more productive reforms. But it has the advantage of in no way interfering with Berne or TRIPs. creators. creators much-needed intellectual property protection worldwide. and to our economy and our balance of trade. A viable copyright system for creators is essential.org
. and from TRIPs. PFF does not engage in lobbying activities or take positions on legislation.S. NW Suite 500 voice: 202/289-8928 fax: 202/289-6079 e-mail: mail@pff. seminars. is committed to it. and that it brings U. Its mission is to educate policymakers.org
Washington.S. if utilitarians were successful politically with this campaign. It should be noted that few utilitarians propose this extreme action. than a unilateral disarmament in the U. Perhaps. that the U. conferences and electronic media of all forms. officers or staff. That would seem to leave three alternatives to utilitarians who fault our current copyright terms. and must offer concrete proposals that address its very clear and nearuniversally accepted provisions on formalities and term lengths. harmonization of copyright is critical. foundations and individuals. We have that harmonization today.
The Progress & Freedom Foundation is a market-oriented think tank that studies the digital revolution and its implications for public policy. In a global economy. nonpartisan organization supported by tax-deductible donations from corporations. with almost every nation of any economic significance belonging to the Berne Convention.S. at far less harm to artists. The prohibition on formalities and minimum copyright terms have been in place for decades in the U. The Foundation disseminates the results of its work through books. Any utilitarian who feels our copyright protections last too long must not obfuscate the fact that Berne exists. Perhaps the energies of those opposed to existing copyright terms could be directed toward generating sufficient momentum to prompt a rewrite of the Berne Convention. non-profit. This would be a tremendous blow to U. and thus enrich our society and economy.