Edward Samuels argues that the extension of copyright law is not a result of a scheme by corporations to cheat the public but rather a part of a system that the framers of the Constitution had in mind in order to “promote the progress of science and useful arts” by “securing, for limited times, to authors, and inventors, and the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries”. Samuels identifies six categories of the public domain, which have all supported the expansion of copyright. Samuels writes that, “In all six areas, the public domain advocates were making arguments against the tide; they lamented the expansion of copyright but could hardly claim that the public domain analysis had in fact already worked its way into dominant copyright theory”. Samuels notes that protectionists of the act try and justify the copyright law based upon natural rights, moral rights and property rights, all of which public domain advocates argue in objection to heavily, however, Samuels argues that the natural rights and property rights are “firmly rooted in copyright history” and that it is recognized as the basis for copyright protection in civil law and outer countries outside of England and the US. Samuels goes on in his article to discuss the Eldred case and argues for the support of the case. He notes that the D.C Circuit Court concluded, “Copyrights are categorically immune from challenges under the First Amendment”. The petitioners of copyright extension argue that the premise of CTEA violated the “limited Times” provision of the Copyright Clause and that Congress can only grant rights in the case that it will promote the creation of new works. They argue that the extension act of 1998 is unconstitutional, but Samuels then asks if that is unconstitutional, are all other proceeding acts unconstitutional as well and therefore have no stopping point. Therefore, Samuels argues, the Supreme Court should not endorse any approach the petitioners present.
This article is important to my topic because it discusses the rationale behind opposing or supporting the Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998, the premise of my paper. Samuels outlines the arguments that advocates of the public domain may make including that of the restriction of creativity and he then argues why the advocates arguments do not hold and why the act should be upheld, an act that protects Mickey Mouse.