Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: December 16, 2009 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412972048 | Print ISBN: 9780761929574 | Online ISBN: 9781412972048| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Key Documents: Section I. Journalism, Media, and the Law - Intellectual Property Protection
The U.S. Constitution guarantees the opportunity of retaining a copyright in intellectual creations by giving Congress the power to “promote the Progress of Science and the useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.” The term limited times suggests that the framers of the Constitution saw the need for all original copyrights to lapse at some point and fall into the public domain—a time when these works become open to use by anyone without obtaining permission from the creator. One key issue in intellectual property law revolves around what exactly the Constitution intended by the term limited times and what amounts to a fair duration for a creator's copyright to exist. The creator's copyright in a work was initially limited to 14 years with the right to a 14-year renewal period by the first Congress back in 1790. ...