This letter written on behalf of the Society of American Archivists expresses one group’s opposition to the CTEA and the need to oppose such a passing of an act. They argue that the law disrupts the balance between public and private interests and will have a negative impact on the public’s use of unpublished materials for teaching, scholarship and research. The point of the Society is to make things available to the public and they believe that such an extension will inhibit their ability to make things available and useable to the public. Maher on behalf of the society argues that there should be a vigorous public domain and protections for the rights of holders of intellectual property as well. They believe that too short of a copyright may discourage new works but too long of a period may limit the creation of new discoveries and Congress must maintain a balance between the interests of authors and the rights of the public. Maher argues that, “no extension of copyright term should be contemplated until there are available solid analysis of the likely impact of such an extension on the creation of new knowledge”. He goes on to say that the Society is troubles by the effect the extension may have on the use of unpublished material that is found in archives and that courts have continues to restrict the application of fair use, which applies, to archives. The final argument Maher makes is that the Society believes that only a few individuals of heirs and corporations would benefit from the extension of such an extension.
This letter is important because it takes the perspective of an organization that finds the passing of the CTEA to be unbeneficial and detrimental to their work. It is important to my paper because it takes a different perspective, a more personal perspective in a sense. The argument they make is not just for the public domain but also rather for the balance which is something that has not been argued for in other articles.
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.