In the Copyright Term Extension Act (CTEA) of 1998 (commonly known, derisively, as the "Mickey Mouse Protection Act"), US congress obliged to the Walt Disney Company's lobbying and signed a law that would for the fourth time since 1790 increase the copyright protection length of works, this time to 70 years after the author's death or 120 years after creation for anonymous works.

The Senate Report gave the following justification (in the Purpose section), which I find rather unconvincing:

Such an extension will provide significant trade benefits by substantially harmonizing U.S. copyright law to that of the European Union while ensuring fair compensation for American creators who deserve to benefit fully from the exploitation of their works. Moreover, by stimulating the creation of new works and providing enhanced economic incentives to preserve existing works, such an extension will enhance the long-term volume, vitality and accessibility of the public domain.

In 1790, the copyright duration was of 28 years after creation. It is now almost a century longer.

Is there evidence that a copyright duration of more than 30 years after creation will increase creative output?

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – Oddthinking
    Jun 20 '17 at 7:12
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    I came across an informal analysis by a publisher that implies that longer copyright terms are irrelevant: virtually all of the economic benefit of virtually all works is realized within the first decade.
    – Mark
    Jun 21 '17 at 1:22
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    @Mark This is my impression as well, do you have a source for this?
    – Pertinax
    Jun 21 '17 at 15:30
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    Have you read en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_Culture_(book) ? Lessig's other papers might interest you as well.
    – chicks
    Jun 21 '17 at 19:24
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    @chicks This doesn't surprise me. My father wrote a canoeing book once, sold 1000 copies in the first year, 30 the second, then 4-5 every year thereafter (beginning 6 years ago)
    – Pertinax
    Jun 24 '17 at 14:44

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