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I am Professor William Patry of the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law. I will be the moderator of this star-studded debate on the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act.

This panel will try to determine, on the great continuum of limited times that the Constitution prescribes for copyright in Article I, Section 8, Clause 8, the term of protection that Congress has actually fixed. In other words: How long is too long? Sonny's bill establishes a term of protection of life plus seventy years for individual authors for works created on or after January 1, 1978. The bill retroactively provides ninety-five years of protection for 1909 Act works. This legislation has been challenged in a complaint filed in the District of Columbia on January 11, 1999, in Eldred v. Reno. One of our speakers is actually involved in this challenge. I will quickly introduce all of the speakers, and then set out the structure of the debate.


Constitutional Law | Intellectual Property Law | Law