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Hosannas have been widely sung over the treasure trove of lesser-known literature, music, and film that the Internet has made available to millions of Americans. What hasn’t been so widely recognized is the wealth of 20th-century art that isn’t available online or, often, anywhere else. A cultural legacy has gone missing. The cause this time isn’t digital technology, it’s copyright law. More specifically, the term of copyright, which, like poor Pinocchio’s nose, just keeps growing and growing. Set at the duration of the artist’s life plus 70 years, the basic copyright term now covers the works of the 20th century. Of course, copyright owners are very good at keeping their best sellers in print and ready to license. But the artists whose books, CDs, or DVDs don’t ring up big sales can find themselves and their fans out of luck. Peter Gutmann has a modest proposal. We’ve headlined his article “A Plea for Piracy”, but rest assured that Gutmann is making a thoroughly legal suggestion. Though many interested observers have been waiting (and waiting) for revisions to copyright law, those seeking a legislative fix to trademark law are apparently about to get their wish. As I write, the Trademark Dilution Revision Act seems to be teetering on the brink of passage. In a shocking twist on normal procedure here in Washington, D.C., the various stakeholders and legislators reached some kind of agreement on what needed to be done a mere 10 years after dilution protection first entered federal law. David Bernstein goes over the problems with the previous law and the pending solutions to protect America’s famous brand names ( “A Stronger Solution”). The Supreme Court has not been so prompt in its response to a current patent controversy. Many people think there are too many loosely written business method patents out there. And many people disagree, which is why it’s a controversy. However the justices might have ruled, a recent case seemed to offer them the opportunity to comment broadly on the proper scope of patentable subject matter. Instead the justices dismissed the LabCorp case. But Henry Bunsow and Aaron Levine doubt that’s the end of the matter. They predict the Court will take up the issue sooner rather than later ( “Methods in the Madness”). We recommend cautious optimism. — Elizabeth Engdahl Managing Editor

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