[FSFE PR][EN] [GNU/FSF Press] Free Software Foundation Files Brief Amicus Curiae in Eldred v. Aschroft Supreme Court Case

Bradley M. Kuhn pr at fsf.org
Tue May 21 19:53:13 CEST 2002

 [ This release is also available at
   http://www.fsf.org/press/2002-05-21-eldred-brief.html  ]


Media Contact: Free Software Foundation
               Bradley M. Kuhn <pr at fsf.org>
               Phone: +1-617-542-5942

            Free Software Foundation Files Brief Amicus Curiae
                 in Eldred v. Aschroft Supreme Court Case

Boston, Massachusetts, USA - Tuesday, May 21, 2002 - Yesterday,
the Free Software Foundation (FSF) filed a Brief Amicus Curiae in the
pending Supreme Court case, Eldred v. Aschroft.  The future of copyright
law in the digital age is at issue in this case.  For decades, the US
Congress has been retroactively extending copyright protection, directly
harming the public good by withholding material from the public domain.
FSF strongly supports the rights of the public to benefit from useful
intellectual works.

In our brief, Eben Moglen, FSF Board Member and General Counsel, wrote:
"The constitutional importance of the 'limited Times' restriction
cannot be vitiated ... by affording Congress the opportunity to
create perpetuities on the installment plan, any more than Congress can
eliminate the constitutional requirement of originality".  He continues:
"To turn the system of free expression into a series of private fiefdoms
for the benefit of monopolists ...  is forbidden to Congress by the
plain wording of the Copyright Clause and by the First Amendment".

While nearly all of the Free Software code base at the core of the
popular GNU/Linux operating system is copyrighted--much of it protected
by FSF's GNU General Public License (GPL)--FSF promotes a healthy and
vibrant public domain.  Copyright is a government-granted, limited time,
monopolistic control that has run amok.  FSF filed this amicus brief
to stand with those who fight for the public's freedom to build on the
intellectual works of the past.

The full brief is available at

About Free Software Foundation:

The Free Software Foundation, founded in 1985, is dedicated to promoting
computer users' right to use, study, copy, modify, and redistribute
computer programs.  FSF promotes the development and use of free (as
in freedom) software--particularly the GNU operating system and its
GNU/Linux variants--and free documentation for free software.  FSF also
helps to spread awareness of the ethical and political issues of freedom
in the use of software.  Their web site, located at http://www.gnu.org,
is an important source of information about GNU/Linux.  They are
headquartered in Boston, MA, USA.

Copyright (C) 2002, Free Software Foundation, Inc.

Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article is
permitted in any medium, provided this notice is preserved.
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