A type of law known as copyright law guards people's ownership of intellectual property in relation to published writings. It belongs to the same class as patent laws, but patent laws cover intangible intellectual property, whereas copyright laws cover published works, especially books. The function of copyright law is to basically prevent further duplication of the work or publishing absent the author's express written consent. From this angle, copyright law protects the individual's right to be the only person authorized to reproduce his work. This prevents everyone else from taking advantage of this effort. The copyright law has a time frame within which it applies, designed to give the publisher and author enough time to benefit from their works. Once the time expires, the books are released into the public domain so that they are essentially owned by the public and can be copied and distributed freely. However, even then, the members of the public who decided to procure these books cannot claim to be the authors as this would be theft, they can only distribute and copy the books as they are without alterations. Recently, there have been changes to the copyright law that have allowed books to be within the copyright duration for much longer, which allows the authors to reap benefits from such books for much longer while denying the public from utilizing such resources. As a matter of fact, this law has reversed the states of certain books and removed them from public domain retrospectively.


The copyright extension act extended of 1998 set the copyright expiry date of books from the time the author died plus an additional 70 years for people and 120 years after creation or 95 years after publication for corporations. It is important to note that The copyright extension act applies retrospectively, which means that it affects works created and published before it was enacted as well as new works that have been made and upcoming ones. The 1998 copyright extension act was not the first one of its kind, there have been a number of acts that have sought to protect writers, another example being the copyright extension act of 1976. I do not agree with the implementation of these acts due to the fact that I find them actively going against the free availability of information. Every citizen has a right to information and as much as there may be restrictions placed on this right, in my opinion, they must cause the least burden to the recipient of the information. Exponentially increasing the number of years with every act I simply an act of selfishness, particularly considering that the authors would have already benefited from the books. This is one of the rationales that makes me oppose the act. The detailed discussion on this topic is found in the subsequent section.

In my opinion, congress should not extend the copyright for these items that are meant to be in the public domain in the year 2019. The rationale behind this is that the copyright extension act is not a necessity and violate the position of the united states on matters of intellectual property legislation which is that it should serve the public interest (Nytimes.com, 1998). As a matter of fact, legislators have gone to court to challenge the constitutionality of the act (Karjala, 1998).

Secondly, I oppose the extension of the copyright act due to the fact that it portrays the public domain as a negative force such as piracy that must be avoided at all costs (Legal Information Institute, 2017). The contrary is true, the public domain is, in fact, the market that provides cash for the authors, it is this public domain who the authors would like to buy their books. From this standpoint, we see that the copyright extension protection act is a misguided attempt and simply an excuse for greedy lawmakers and businessmen to capitalize on their works. The public domain is the citizens who were not participants in the authoring of the book, they too have their dignity and showing such a concerted effort towards denying them access to this material is a sign of bad faith and works against corporate social responsibility and good reputation (Homepages.law.asu.edu, 2017).

Last but not least, the copyright extension act is inconsistent with the life expectancy argument that forms one of its underpinning arguments. When looked at carefully, we notice that the life expectancy has increased by only 35 (Homepages.law.asu.edu, 2016) years since 1790 but the copyright extension acts have cumulatively increased over three-fold from 28 years after author’s death to over 70 years (Levine & Boldrin, 2017). This is such a big disproportion that warranties investigation.

The Pros and Cons of Copyright Extension Acts

The main advantage of the copyright extension acts is that they are at the very least aimed to guard the author’s rights over his/ her intellectual property which is logical. From this perspective, the copyright extension acts result in another advantage which is the encouragement of artists to write and publish books. When their rights are protected to the fullest extent, individuals tend to be motivated to create and express themselves freely. Last but not least, copyright extension acts are an indication that the law is active and adaptive enough to cater to changing societal needs. We can see that one of the motivating factors behind the protection acts is the changes in the life expectancies over the years albeit exaggerated.

The main con of the copyright protection act is the fact that it treats the public domain as a negative force rather than embrace it as a positive element in the society that can help in predicting the market trends and opportunity costs of books and printed works. This simply means that the writers and publishers would get to see the effect of public domain release of a book and see what they potentially lost by charging the book the price they sold it. Last but not least, these acts can result in a loss of interest in certain market segments who may see it as an act of bad faith. This can lead to loss of sales and diminishing customer support.


The copyright extension act has its supports and opposers as well as pros and cons. Ultimately it lies with congress to decide the path to take after considering the pros, cons and the various impacts on the society and the very works that they are trying to protect. In my opinion, it is pointless to protect a work at the cost of the customer’s wants and with the accompanying risk of losing goodwill.


Homepages.law.asu.edu. (2016, November 22). Help protect your rights to the great works in the public domain! Retrieved from law.asu.edu: http://homepages.law.asu.edu/~dkarjala/OpposingCopyrightExtension/

Homepages.law.asu.edu. (2017, April 15). Opposing copyright extension. Retrieved from homepages.law.asu.edu: http://homepages.law.asu.edu/~dkarjala/OpposingCopyrightExtension/legmats/1998statement.html

Karjala , D. S. (1998, January 28). Opposing copyright extension. Retrieved from law.asu.edu: http://homepages.law.asu.edu/~dkarjala/OpposingCopyrightExtension/legmats/1998statement.html

Legal Information Institute. (2017, 05 15). U.S. Constitution; article i. Retrieved from law.cornell.edu: https://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/articlei

Levine, D. K., & Boldrin , M. (2017, April 15). Retroactive copyright extension. Retrieved from levine.sscnet.ucla.edu: http://levine.sscnet.ucla.edu/general/intellectual/lp.htm

Nytimes.com. (1998, February 21). Keeping copyright in balance. Retrieved from nytimes.com: http://www.nytimes.com/1998/02/21/opinion/keeping-copyright-in-balance.html

Deadline is approaching?

Wait no more. Let us write you an essay from scratch

Receive Paper In 3 Hours
Calculate the Price
275 words
First order 15%
Total Price:
$38.07 $38.07
Calculating ellipsis
Hire an expert
This discount is valid only for orders of new customer and with the total more than 25$
This sample could have been used by your fellow student... Get your own unique essay on any topic and submit it by the deadline.

Find Out the Cost of Your Paper

Get Price