If current copyright laws had been on the books when jazz musicians were
borrowing riffs from other
artists in the 1930s and Looney Tunes illustrators were creating
cartoons in the 1940s, entire art
genres such as hip-hop, collage and Pop Art might never have existed.
The debate over whether artists can use copyrighted materials entered
the national spotlight this
week as the Supreme Court heard opening arguments in Eldred v. Ashcroft,
a case in which plaintiffs
are seeking to overturn the 1998 Copyright Term Extension Act.