The US constitution provides copyright protection for the works of authors. Specifically, "To promote the progress of science and useful arts".

If I were to create a work, and after a few years decide I no longer want to promote it (sell), does this run contrary to copyright as per the Constitution whereby the art is no longer promoted; copyright protection would now cease.

  • 1
    I think you're either misinterpreting or too narrowly interpreting the word "promote" here. In the context used in the constitution it's not intended to mean "advertise or sell", it's intended to mean "encourage, boost, stimulate".
    – brhans
    Apr 24, 2023 at 18:49

1 Answer 1


A person's exclusive rights granted under U.S. statutory copyright law do not expire when the person ceases to promote the work.

The Copyright Clause of the Constitution does not provide copyright protection. It grants a power to Congress to create laws with a particular purpose. The Supreme Court has analyzed Congress's exercise of this power under a rational basis standard: are the laws chosen by Congress rationally connected to the specified purpose of the granted power (i.e. the promotion of science and useful arts)? See e.g. Golan v. Holder, 566 U.S. 302 (2012).

The Court has not required the laws created by Congress under this power to be so narrowly tailored such that they would only grant rights in circumstances where the rights actually promote the progress of science and the useful arts in that particular case.

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