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Abstract

In 1998, Congress granted a twenty-year deferment to expiring copyrights with the Copyright Term Extension Act (CTEA). Ten years later, debate over the Act's wisdom continues unabated. Major camps in the debate view the CTEA variously as a constitutional prerogative, an economic imperative, and a war on cultural freedom. This Note sidesteps this underlying debate, and, borrowing the property law concept of "givings," examines the result of charging for future copyright deferments. Under this analysis, a givings-based solution would force unproductive copyrights into the public domain faster and more effectively than current approaches, while protecting the most important assets of rights-holidng companies likely to influence future legislation.

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