Copyright and Time: A Proposal

This Article makes a very specific and concrete proposal: it argues that courts should adjust the scope of copyright protection to account for the passage of time by expressly considering time as a factor in fair use analysis. More specifically, this Article argues that the older a copyrighted work is, the greater the scope of fair use should be – that is, the greater the ability of others to re-use, critique, transform, and adapt the copyrighted work without permission of the copyright owner. Conversely, the newer the work, the narrower the scope of fair use. Or, even more concretely, this Article argues that fair use should be greater for Mickey Mouse than for Harry Potter.