Archivists Lose Another Round in Bid to Ease Copyright Restrictions on Old Books and





A federal appeals court has ruled against archivists who sought to ease copyright restrictions on old books and films in order to promote archiving them on the Internet, where they would be freely available.

In the case, Kahle v. Gonzales, two groups -- the Internet Archive, a nonprofit digital library, and Prelinger Associates, which preserves films -- sued the U.S. Justice Department. The archivists said that four copyright laws were thwarting the public from viewing out-of-print books, old films, and academic articles that have no commercial value. Under copyright law, works do not generally fall into the public domain until 70 years after the author's death.

But a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in San Francisco, said the case too closely resembled an earlier lawsuit that had challenged the Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998. In that case, Eldred v. Ashcroft, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the act (The Chronicle, January 24, 2003).



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