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US Supreme Court: copyright can apply to the public domain

Eileen McDermott, New York

A group of orchestra conductors, teachers, performers, film archivists and distributors has failed to convince the Supreme Court that Congress does not have authority to restore copyright protection to foreign works that have fallen into the public domain

In Golan v Holder the US Supreme Court ruled yesterday that Section 514 of the Uruguay Round Agreements Act, which restored copyright protection to the works at issue in an attempt to implement the Berne Convention and comply with TRIPs, does not exceed the scope of Congress’ authority.

The Court also stated that the First Amendment does not inhibit restoration of copyright under Section 514.

The opinion, written by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, said: "The question is whether would-be users of certain foreign works must pay for...

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