What is the Sonny Bono Act?
The Sonny Bono Act is the colloquial name for the Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998, a controversial act passed in 1998 which extended the duration of copyright protection by twenty years. Prior to this act, most copyrights were protected for the life of the author plus 50 years - now, these works are protected for the life of the author plus 70 years.
The Sonny Bono Act received a lot of attention at the time because a major proponent of the act was the Walt Disney Company. This is because the first copyright relating to Mickey Mouse was set to expire in 1999, and the enactment of the Sonny Bono Act extended this copyright until 2019, keeping Mickey Mouse out of the public domain.