Intellectual Property

ALA Library Fact Sheet 7 Please note that ALA cannot give legal advice. If you need legal advice, you should contact an intellectual property attorney.
What are they? Library concerns with openness of trade negotiation process Current draft and signed treaties U.S.--Chile Free Trade Agreement U.S.--Singapore Free Trade Agreement U.S.--Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement U.S.--Bahrain Free Trade Agreement

Copyright Term Extension Act Brief

PURPOSE: To extend by 20 years the length of protection afforded to works created by both individuals and corporate copyright holders.

FUTURE LIBRARY ROLE: By taking full advantage of the limited but important exemption described below, libraries, archives and nonprofit educational institutions can minimize the practical impact of this unfortunate legislation.


Libraries are often asked about the current duration of copyright or how to determine if a work is in the public domain. In 1998, the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act was signed into law,extending the term of copyright for a the eleventh time in the last 40 years. An extension to the copyright term benefits copyright holders, since it allows them to continue to assert copyright protection of their works.

With the Bono amendment, the terms of copyright have been extended for an additional 20 years: