Date of Award

Spring 5-12-2018

Degree Type

Honors Thesis

Department

Criminal Justice

First Advisor

Dr. Kimberly Schweitzer

Abstract

Copyright term extension is often a contentious topic among copyright owners, corporate lobbyists, and opponents of copyright extension. The history of copyright law spans more than 225 years and has always been an ever-evolving process. The Copyright Act of 1790 was the first statute in the United States to identify definite provisions of copyright law and permitted authors the right to their intellectual property for a duration of 14 years. Today, depending on the type of work, copyright terms can reach up to 120 years. Historically, Disney has been exceedingly protective of their intellectual property and is a prominent supporter and lobbyist for copyright term extension (Bernaski, 2014). Disney’s involvement in copyright term extension originates from their goal to prevent their copyrights from entering the public domain, specifically their Mickey Mouse character. This paper examines the history of copyright law in the United States, copyright case law, Disney’s involvement in copyright term extension, various arguments for and against copyright term extension, and the future of copyright law.

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