Eldred v. Ashcroft, No. 01-618

The Constitution's copyright and patent clause, U.S. Const., art. I, § 8, cl. 8, gives Congress the power "To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries."

In Eldred v. Ashcroft, No. 01-618, publishers who specialize in republishing books and music for which copyright protection has expired have asked the Supreme Court to strike down the 20-year extension of the terms of all copyrights that is set forth in the Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998, Pub. L. No. 105-298, Title I, 112 Stat. 2827 (1998). The plaintiffs (including Eric Eldred, who distributes free electronic versions of books in the public domain over the Internet) argue that the 20-year extension violates both the copyright clause and the First Amendment.

Read the Copyright and Patent Clause.

Read the Copyright Term Extension Act.

See Petitioner Eric Eldred's Web Site, where he is posting the full text of numerous books that have entered the public domain.

Read the Supreme Court's opinion.

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