Case opinion for US Supreme Court ELDRED v. ASHCROFT. Read the Court’s full decision on FindLaw. ELDRED V. ASHCROFT () U.S. () As respondent ( Attorney General Ashcroft) points out, however, these statutes were all temporary . ELDRED V. ASHCROFT () U.S. () F.3d , affirmed. Syllabus, Opinion [ Ginsburg ], Dissent [ Stevens ], Dissent [ Breyer ].

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Eldred v. Ashcroft :: U.S. () :: Justia US Supreme Court Center

For anonymous works, pseudonymous works, and works made for hire, the Act provided a term of 75 years from publication or years from creation, whichever expired first. A second, equally important, cause for concern arises out of the fact that copyright extension imposes a “permissions” requirement-not only upon potential users of “classic” works that still retain commercial value, but also upon potential users of any other work still in copyright. Congress’ consistent historical practice reflects a judgment that an author who sold his work a week before should not be placed in a worse situation than the author who sold his work the day after enactment of a copyright extension.

History reveals an unbroken congressional practice of granting to authors of works with existing copyrights the benefit of term extensions so that all under copyright protection will be governed evenhandedly under the same regime. But see ante, atn. None of these arguments is persuasive. Although this truism may be illustrated in many ways, one of the best examples is Noah Webster[,] who supported his entire family from the earnings on his speller and grammar during the twenty years he took to complete his dictionary.

The public benefits not only from an author’s original work but also from his or her further creations. And, in assessing this statute for that purpose, I would take into account the fact that the Constitution is a single document, that it contains both a Copyright Clause and a First Amendmentand that the two are related. Where the case for extending new copyrights is itself so weak, what “justice,” what “policy,” what “equity” can warrant the tolls and barriers that extension of existing copyrights imposes?

v.ahscroft The statute at issue in Turner required cable operators to carry and transmit broadcast stations through their proprietary cable systems. This view of the Clause does not deny the empirical possibility that grant of a copyright monopoly to the heirs or successors of a long-dead author could on occasion help publishers resurrect the work, say, of a long-lost Shakespeare.


Concerning petitioners’ assertion that Congress might evade the limitation on its authority by stringing together “an unlimited number of ‘limited Times,'” the Court of Appeals stated that such legislative misbehavior “clearly is not the situation before us. United States Copyright Office.

Brief for American Association of Law Libraries et al. Thunder Craft Boats, Inc. The majority opinion, written by Justice Ginsburgrelied heavily on the Copyright Acts of,and as precedent for retroactive extensions. Only upon enactment, two years later, of an exemption for such allowances v.wshcroft the patent become valid, retroactive to the time it issued.

Eldred v Ashcroft – Law School Case Briefs for Class Prep

Emerson, The System of Freedom of Expression On the other hand, authors will receive the full benefit of the exclusive terms that were promised as an inducement to their creativity, and have no equitable claim to increased compensation for doing nothing more. Retrieved from ” https: Almost two centuries ago the Court plainly stated that public access to inventions at the earliest possible date was the essential purpose of the Clause:. In doing so, however, Congress has exercised its commerce, not its copyright, power.

See Brief for Petitioners ; Brief for Respondent 17, n. Judge Sentelle dissented in part. That history refers frequently to the financial assistance the statute will bring the entertainment industry, particularly through the promotion of exports.

Further, although prior to the instant case this Court did not have occasion to decide whether extending the duration of existing copyrights complies with the “limited Times” prescription, the Court has found no constitutional barrier to the legislative expansion of existing patents. Indeed, on that analysis even the “limited” character of the Consequently, the balance of copyright-related harms and benefits there is far less one-sided.

This proximity indicates the Framers’ view that copyright’s limited monopolies are compatible with free speech principles. But see anteat 8, n. House Hearings statement of the Register of Copyrights ; id. Claiming that 14 years had not provided him a sufficient time to realize income from his invention and that the net profits were spent developing improvements on the steam engine, Evans first sought an extension of his patent in December It is concerned about having to determine just how many years of copyright is too many-a determination that it fears would require it to find the “right” constitutional number, a task for which the Court is not well suited.

Cunard and Bruce P. And any remaining monetary incentive is diminished dramatically by the fact that the relevant royalties will not arrive until 75 years or more into the future, when, not the author, but distant heirs, or shareholders in a successor corporation, will receive them.


What benefit, then, might this partial future uniformity achieve?

Ag SupplyU. And the extension before this Court implements a term of life plus 70 years that appears to conform with the European standard. As we have seen, the present commercial value of any such difference amounts at most to comparative pennies.

Eldred v. Ashcroft, 537 U.S. 186 (2003)

The Court assumes that the Sears holding rested entirely on the pre-emptive effect of congressional statutes even though the opinion itself, like the opinions in Graham v.

On the logic of the Court of Appeals’ holding, which is apparently supported in this Court by the Solicitor General, Congress could pass a statute shortening the term of existing copyrights, reallocating a large body of currently-covered works to the public domain.

The lead petitioner, Eric Eldredis an Internet publisher. But I cannot find any constitutionally legitimate, copyright-related way in which the statute will benefit the public. As we have noted, see supraat 5, n. In a separate dissenting opinion, Justice Stevens also challenged the virtue of an individual reward, analyzing it from the perspective of patent law.

And in this case the failings of degree are so serious that they amount to failings of constitutional kind. Judicial deference to such congressional definition is “but a corollary to the grant to Congress of any Article I power. Patterson, Copyright in Historical Perspective ch.

It assumes that it is the disappearance of the monopoly grant, not its perpetuation, that will, on balance, promote the dissemination of works already in existence. And that vigilance is all eldrec more necessary in a new century that will see intellectual property rights and the forms of expression that underlie them play an ever more important f.ashcroft in the Nation’s economy and the lives of its citizens.

The Copyright Clause and the First Amendment seek related objectives-the creation and dissemination of information.

What monetarily motivated Melville would not realize that he could do better for his grandchildren by putting a few dollars into an interest-bearing bank v.ashcroftt See Brief for Petitioners 7. Extending an existing copyright without demanding additional consideration, petitioners maintain, bestows an unpaid-for benefit on copyright holders and their heirs, in violation of the quid pro quo requirement.