— Lawrence Lessig American academic, political activist. 1961
Context: By insisting on the Constitution's limits to copyright, obviously Eldred was not endorsing piracy. Indeed, in an obvious sense, he was fighting a kind of piracy — piracy of the public domain. When Robert Frost wrote his work and when Walt Disney created Mickey Mouse, the maximum copyright term was just fifty-six years. Because of interim changes, Frost and Disney had already enjoyed a seventy-five-year monopoly for their work. They had gotten the benefit of the bargain that the Constitution envisions: In exchange for a monopoly protected for fifty-six years, they created new work. But now these entities were using their power — expressed through the power of lobbyists' money — to get another twenty-year dollop of monopoly. That twenty-year dollop would be taken from the public domain. Eric Eldred was fighting a piracy that affects us all.