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In October 1998, Congress enacted Public Law 105-298, the ” Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act,” which extends the term of copyright protection, for works created in 1978 or later, from life of the author plus 50 years to life plus 70 years, or for pre-1978 works, from 75 years to 95 years. Works made for hire are now protected for 95 years from publication or 120 years from creation, rather than 75 years from publication or 100 years from creation, as provided under prior law.

The extra 20 years of protection brings U.S. law into line with European standards, and will be available to all works still in their initial or renewal term of copyright as of October 27, 1998, the effective date of the amendments. Works which have already fallen into the public domain are not revived by the new legislation.

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