Due to acts that have extended copyright expiration dates, Steamboat Willy, created in 1928, will not expire until 2023, 95 years after publication. The same goes for other works. As quoted from the U.S. constitution, the whole point of copyright and patent law is:
The Congress shall have Power . . . To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.
To put it another way, the point of patents and copyrights are to give incentives to authors and inventors and creators to make arts and inventions for the public in return for exclusive rights to their creations. However, after a certain amount of time, that debt has been paid, and works enter public domain for everyone to use.
Walt Disney is dead. Any incentive we can give has long since gone away. However, the Walt Disney Company still exists, and corporations cannot die. As long as the Walt Disney Company exists, they can continue to lobby for extensions to copyright terms, effectively allowing their works to keep making money by not allowing them into public domain.
This is not the goal thought up in the Constitution. This set of affairs allows for an unlimited time for copyright, and also does not promote progress of science or arts, because works cannot enter public domain to use, and possibly improve upon, until currently 95 years after publication. Is any work worth 95 years of exclusive rights to that work? I have no doubt that when we get nearer to 2023, copyright law will again be lobbied to be extended. We should not let this happen. Let copyrights die, and let works enter public domain.