House Judiciary OKs copyright extension

Term extended from 75 to 95 years

WASHINGTON — Studios, authors, songwriters and their heirs will benefit from a 20-year extension of current copyright terms that was approved Wednesday by the House Judiciary Committee.

The bill would extend copyright protections to 95 years from 75 years for works for hire, such as movies and scripts. It would also extend copyright protection for authors of fiction and non-fiction works from life plus 50 years to life plus 70 years.

Also in the bill is a non-binding “sense of Congress” resolution to encourage studios to enter negotiations with directors, screenwriters and actors. The creative guilds hope the “good faith” negotiations called for by Congress will lead to the first royalty checks for people such as “Casablanca” scripter Julius Epstein, who has never received a single residual payment since the 1942 classic first hit the screens.

The bill now heads to the House floor for approval. A similar bill is making its way through the Senate.

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