Critics of the ever-lengthening copyright term lament its potentially immense cultural and economic costs, but their policy prescriptions have failed to bring about legislative change. Provocative evidence that the last copyright term extensionwas all-but-purchased through lobbying has not done much to spur legislative action either.
This Essay proposes a novel solution to the copyright extension puzzle. Congress, through the use of private bills, should grant unique copyrights with significantly longer terms to interested individuals and entities. Shielding intensely interested copyright holders from the threat of copyright expiration would reduce and potentially even eliminate opposition to the expiration of the general copyright term, while potentially preserving and protecting the public domain from another general copyright extension. It might even allow us to enlist these interested copyright holders as allies in the fight to return more creative works to the public domain.