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Media Contact: Free Software Foundation
Bradley M. Kuhn <pr@fsf.org>

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 http://www.fsf.org/philosophy/eldred-amicus.html.

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 © 2002 Free Software Foundation, Inc., 51 Franklin St, Fifth Floor, Boston, MA 02110, USA

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Updated: $Date: 2011/07/13 17:31:33 $ $Author: jturner $