Today the U.S. Court of Appeals handed down a decision
in the Eldred vs. Reno
case, which challenged the most recent extension of copyright terms on the grounds that it violated the Constitution in several areas - that it violated the First Amendment by overbroadly restricting speech; that it gave protection to non-original works (since it retroactively applied to old, already-published works); and that the constant extensions of copyright terms were not a "limited Time" as required by the Constitution. The Court rejected all of these arguments. However, one of the three judges in the case wrote an interesting dissent, which at least holds out the hope that in some future case, skilled litigators may be able to convince the judiciary that permanent copyright is an unwarranted extension of Congress' powers.