Prof. Glynn Lunney asked the following question on an academic discussion list I’m on; with his permission, I’m reposting it here:
Anyone interested in starting a pool on whether Congress extends copyright for another 20 years by 2018? Or will the Mickey Mouse of Steamboat Willie actually fall out of copyright, though not necessarily into the public domain?
My friends on the Hill and in the Copyright Office say no way. Eldred may have lost, but he focused too much attention on the issue for Congress to think it can sneak through another extension without paying a political price. I’m not so sure.
The speculation that the Eldred plaintiffs (and Larry Lessig, their lawyer) may have partly won politically even though they lost legally struck me as interesting, though I have no independent basis for judging it. In any event, I thought it was worth passing along. (Note that Prof. Lunney chose 2018 for being 20 years after 1998, the date of the last copyright extension. Steamboat Willie won’t go out of copyright until a few years after 2018.)