Eldred V Ashcroft

Eric Eldred, Et Al., Petitioners V. John D. Ashcroft,
537 U.S. 186 (2003)

Eldred v. Ashcroft was heard by the Supreme Court on October 9, 2002 and decided
January 15, 2003. Eric Eldred, an internet publisher, published both commercial and non-commercial works. The defendant, the U.S. government, argued the constitutionality of the Copyright Term Extension Act and whether or not its retroactive copyright extensions violated the Copyright Clause. That clause was embedded in Article 1, Section 8 of the US constitution stating that “The Congress shall have Power… To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.” It is this clause that allows for federal restrictions upon patents and copyrights. The court held that the Copyright Term Extension Act was constitutional in a 7-2 decision.

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