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Legislative Materials (105th Congress) 
  • Click here for Dennis Karjala's summaries of the some 1000 pages of hearings testimony and prepared statements submitted to congressional committees (Senate Judiciary and House Judiciary's Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet).  This includes some links to the complete testimony and statements to the extent they are available.  The hearings cover both the 104th and 105th Congresses.  
  • Also, it turns out that the House Subcommittee actually issued a report on the CTEA in 1998:  H.R. Rep. 105-452 (1998).  It  mainly rehashes just what the amendments would accomplish, without giving much in the way of reasons.  Its discussion starts off with the "rule of the shorter term" and the "profound effects" on U.S. copyright if we do not extend as well.  It makes the wholly conclusory statement, "Extending copyright protection will be an incentive for U.S. authors to continue using their creativity to produce works, and provide copyright owners generally with the incentive to restore older works and further disseminate them to the public," without supplying any factual basis therefore.  Finally, it says, "Authors will be able to pass along to their children and grandchildren the financial benefits of their works."  Those reasons, apparently, were thought sufficient to meet the requirements of the Constitution that terms be granted for "limited times" and only to "promote the progress of science," because the Report actually quotes the constitutional text.  Rep. Lofgren added her personal views that she supported the bill because the "the reciprocal recognition of copyrights by the European Union part of the tradeoff if the United States extends copyright terms is important for American copyright holders."  She argued for a provision with respect to commercially unavailable works that would "allow, for the purposes of research, private study, or archival activities, the work to be used as if it were still in the public domain."  Her intentions undoubtedly were good, but it reflects a crabbed view  of the public domain and of its constitutional importance.
  • Text of the The Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act as adopted by Congress and signed by the President.  See the discussion of H.R.604 below for the major differences between the bill as adopted and those introduced in the 104th Congress.
  •  Statement Dated January 28, 1998, of Copyright and Intellectual Property Law Professors in Opposition to "The Copyright Term Extension Act."  This was Dennis Karjala's last and most up-to-date analysis of term extension and its many problems.  While written as a legal argument (addressed to a Congress that never considered it), part of it remains readable even to laypersons.  It shows, for example, that if the law as extended by special interests had been in place in the 19th century, both Santa Claus and Uncle Sam would have gone into the public domain only in 1973! 
  • The House Subcommittee on September 30, 1997, after having held essentially secret hearings in June and without even announcing that the Subcommittee was going to markup on copyright term extension, adopted and sent on the the full Judiciary Committee H.R. 2589 , which was identical to S.505  introduced in the Senate, except for a meaningless new Section 4 stating the "sense of the Congress" that copyright owners of audiovisual works negotiate in good faith with screenwriters, directors, and performers "to reach a voluntary agreement or voluntary agreements with respect to the amount of remuneration to be divided among the parties for the exploitation of those audiovisual works."  In other words, the fight as far as this Subcommittee was concerned was only about how to split up the spoils of which Congress hereby planned to rob the public.  This bill was eventually reported to the full House by voice vote, and essentially no dissent, by the Judiciary Committee.  The bill went to the House floor and was adopted on March 25, 1998, as the "Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act," but with amendments from the floor that included the controversial "Fairness in Music Licensing Act." ASCAP, which prior to this floor amendment had been a strong supporter of the bill, suddenly saw more royalty losses from the liberalized performance rights exemptions (which have nothing to do with term extension--it's just another special interest group getting its way with Congress without any consideration of the public interest) than it would gain from the longer terms. So, ASCAP became an opponent of the bill as amended, which gave some of us hope that nothing would pass the 105th Congress. Alas! Senator Hatch decided that Disney's support was more important than ASCAP's. (Michael Eisner personally lobbied to get the bill passed--of course, he gets a hearing from the likes of Trent Lott and Orin Hatch but not we representatives of the mere public interest.) Consequently, Senator Hatch sat on the bill until the closing days of the 105th Congress and then slipped it through when most people were following the impeachment proceedings as well as the important developments that turned into the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. 

  • Click here for the text of H.R. 604, the Copyright Term Extension Act of 1997, introduced on February 5, 1997, by Representative Gallegly. This bill was quite similar to H.R. 989 (considered in the 104th Congress). In fact, it was essentially identical to the bill that passed the Senate Judiciary Committee in the 104th Congress. (This shows how closely supporters of these extension bills worked together in both houses of Congress.) Important differences from the earlier bills (as introduced) were:
    • H.R. 604 did not extend the period under section 303 (now set at Dec. 31, 2002) within which pre-1978 unpublished works remain under federal copyright unless they are published. It does extend until 2047 the term of the copyright for any such works that are published before the end of the year 2002. This was carried over into the Sunny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act, one of the few "victories" the public interest won in this sordid mess.
    • H.R. 604 would have added a provision permitting a "nonprofit educational institution" to make use of published works during the last 20 years of the copyright term "for purposes of preservation, scholarship, or research," unless either (1) the work is subject to normal commercial exploitation, (2) a copy of the work is available at a reasonable price, or (3) the copyright owner serves notice that either (1) or (2) apply. In fact, because fair use would already permit everything this provision allows, this purported benefit to libraries and nonprofit organizations is actually DETRIMENTAL, by implying that uses not complying with its very narrow scope are no longer fair! This, too, was carried over into the final version as passed. 
    • H.R. 604 made a technical revision of the proposals in the 104th Congress that could have been interpreted as reviving copyrights that have or will have expired before the effective date of the Act. H.R. 604's proposed amendment of section 304(b) makes clear that extension does not cover copyrights whose term has expired prior to the effective date of the Act. It became part of the Sunny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act. This, too, must be regarded as a small, but important, victory for the public interest.
  • Click here for the text of S. 505, the Copyright Term Extension Act of 1997, as introduced on March 20, 1997, by Senator Hatch and co-sponsored by Senators Leahy, D'Amato, Thompson, Abraham, and Feinstein. This bill was largely identical to H.R. 604 but included in addition a provision supplying termination rights in the additional twenty-year period in those authors or copyright owners who failed to exercise their termination rights under section 304(c) with respect to the 19-years already added to the term of their copyrights by the 1976 Act. This provision was also carried over to the Sunny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act. 

Legislative Materials (104th Congress)

  • Click here for Sections 302-305 of the U.S. Copyright Act, as amended by H.R. 989 (these are the copyright term duration provisions of the Copyright Act, with the alterations and deletions that would have been effected by H.R. 989 shown by strikeout and italics).
  • Introduction of S.483 into the Senate by Senator Hatch on February 22, 1995, explaining his reasons for the bill. It includes the text of S.483 as well as remarks by Senator Feinstein in support of the extension measure. Senator Feinstein relies heavily on a Billboard article by Professor Arthur Miller, which she also included in the Congressional Record. I append (with links from the text) some of my own comments on the Senators' remarks and on Professor Miller's assertions. This document is worth reading. It gives, presumably, the best arguments for extension that its supporters can come up with (and how easily these arguments are refuted).
  • Written Testimony of Dennis S. Karjala on behalf of Copyright and Intellectual Property Law Professors before the House Subcommittee on Courts and Intellectual Property, H.R. 989, July 13, 1995 (a careful legal analysis showing the harm to the public interest from copyright extension).
  • Oral Testimony of Professor Peter Jazsi on S. 483 before the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, September 20, 1995. A short, cogent, and readable analysis of the serious problems involved in copyright term extension.
  • Senate Judiciary Committee Report No. 104-315 containing the complete text of the bill that passed Senate Judiciary in 1996, together with the reasons and arguments offered in support of the bill. Comments of Dennis S. Karjala on this Report will be provided soon. The Report contains the minority views of Senators Brown and Kohl as well as the additional (although unfortunately concurring) views of Senators Leahy and Simon & Kennedy. The arguments in dissent of Senators Brown and Kohl are well worth reading--they give many examples of how the public domain will be harmed by copyright term extension, and how little public benefit will be provided.
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