The Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998 extended copyright terms in the United States by 20 years. With it’s passing, copyrights now covered the life of the author plus 70 years and 120 years after creation for works of corporate authorship.
The law was also known as the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act named after the late Congressman Sonny Bono who lobbied for the bill and died nine months before it was passed.
A number of the copyright holders who lobbied Congress to extend the copyright term wanted the extension because they wanted the same term of protection that existed in Europe. The extension would protect American works in foreign nations. .
Congressman Bono wanted the copyright protection to last forever. However, this would violate the Constitution. Then MPAA president, Jack Valenti, proposed that the term last “forever minus one day.” While this didn’t happen, the bill was successfully passed and copyright protection was extended. .