Monday, September 8, 2008

Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act

Public domain is a work that is not protected by copyright. Once something is put into public domain it will never be able to be covered under copyright again. The book brings up the issue that Sonny Bono passed an act that was signed by former President Bill Clinton to extend copyright from 50 years to 70 years for an author or to 95 years for a corporation. Disney pushed Bono to pursue this act in order to save Mickey Mouse from going to public domain.

Once a work enters public domain it will remain there forever. With that being said that would mean that Mickey Mouse would be able to be reproduced however any user would like to distribute it. Laws are constantly changing but it seems that Disney influenced this Act in order to protect their Mickey Mouse.

This is yet another example as to why I think that once a work is obviously the work of a corporation it should be copyright protected till the end of the corporation plus 95 years. This will also help copyright laws to remain stagnant for a longer period of time.

Many people complain that they do not obey copyright laws because they are confusing and always changing so with something such as Mickey Mouse remaining in copyright that will help to alleviate any confusion and thus hopefully make people follow copyright laws better.


vbonnie said...

50 years...I had heard about the Disney copyright issue but hadn't really though about how long things can be copyrighted. I agree with your accessment of how long copyrights should stand for a corporation. After all, everybody knows that they came up with it. But, that makes me wonder about copyright for individuals. How long should those last?

mshoemaker said...

I hadn't ever considered the idea of copyright duration. It seems to me, if someone copyrights something, corporation or individual, that person or entity should maintain control indefinitely.

Valerie D. said...

Valerie, I think that copyright is a confusing issue personally. If there is a work created that has more than one author, then the work is under copyright for the life of the author plus 70 years. Then the interesting part is if there is a work that is created under a pseudoname then it is automatically protected for 95 years.

Valerie D. said...

In some situations such as Disney, I do believe that once a work is created and put into copyright then it should be protected forever. In cases that a corporation no longer exist then I think that is when the copyright can and should run out. The copyright laws will protect it long enough that people will be able to start the corporation back up and if not then the images that once belonged to that corporation will no longer be under copyright.

Pam said...

I believe that we should obey copyright laws, but we have authors like Shakespeare and Plato and many others who are still being appreciated because they are not copyrighted. I think that the creator of information has possession of that information during their lifetime, but eventually it should end up in the public domain.

Valerie D. said...

Thank you for your response. I think it is always interesting to see how other people belive things to be. So do you believe that once the author passes away whatever their creation is should go right into public domain or should it still have the 50-70 years after the life of the author?

Martha Nelson said...

Can you believe Sonny Bono was behind this piece of legislation? I wonder if he wanted "I Got You Babe" to be protected!

Valerie D. said...

I never thought of that but I am SURE you are right! :)

Steph Herfel said...

I agree with Pam here that once an author has passed on plus the 70 years is long enough to make sure that the author (and his family) are getting the proceeds of his or her life's work.

My concern in reference to copyright duration in reference to Mickey Mouse is that I wouldn't want to see this Disney icon being slapped on crude t-shirts with other "public domained" Disney icons being put in precarious positions, etc. for profit. I think most Disney characters are trademarks of the Disney name/brand, and it is hard to imagine someone not knowing they are Disney's work.

All in all, though, for most uses I feel that works that go into the public domain are great for librarians whose main goal is to make all works available to all.