On Which Side Will Intellectual Property Laws Fall?

On the one side, we have the incessantly aggressive tactics of the RIAA, and the seemingly endless copyright extensions granted by U.S. lawmakers. On the other side, we have those defending Fair Use, like the EFF. The U.S. is obviously at a tipping point for intellectual property law. Which side will prevail?

Jeff Nolan at Venture Chronicles notes the inconsistencies; a judge refused to dismiss the case against Universal that claims the company issued an improper DMCA claim for a video of a toddler dancing to a Prince song at the same time that companies like DirecTV are adding DRM to lock programming down to a single box for viewing.

As more and more individuals start to fight back against some of the Draconian enforcement of intellectual property laws, however, Fair Use and public domain may win in the end. A small discovery noted nine years ago by a disgruntled former Disney employee may put an end to the endless copyright extensions driven by the Walt Disney Company‘s protection of Mickey Mouse‘s copyright. While only the older “Steamboat Willie” version of Mickey Mouse would enter the public domain if the evidence shows that Disney’s ownership of the copyright is questionable, it would still be a symbolic victory for a country whose intellectual property laws are some of the most convoluted in the world.