The end of the "public domain experiment"

On January 16th, the Supreme Court of the U.S.A rejected a challenge of the Sonny Bonno Act, which now allows the US Congress to extend copyrights (by 20 years to begin with), and as much as it wishes, according to prof. Lessig. The New York Times runs an editorial titled "The Coming of Copyright Perpetuity" (through Boing Boing so you don't have to register).

Who did bring this in the first place? A mouse called Mickey, who was supposed to enter the public domain in 2004, to the eternal grief of Disney. Disney apparently lobbied the US Congress to extend the copyright period significantly, hence diminishing or nullifying the effects of the limited period before a work enters the public domain for reuse (see my post on Creative Commons and the definition of property, which encompasses both private property and the commons.)

Mickey Mouse responded to this ruling.

Last time I checked, a mouse was still considered as a nuisible rodent in Europe. It looks like it's the same in the US. Let's hope the EU doesn't import the pest back.

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