Supreme Court to Review Challenge to Copyright Restoration Statute

A 1994 United States statute pursuant to international agreements restored copyright protection to thousands of works that had made it to the public domain through the march of statutory time. As Stanford Fair Use cyber-attorney Anthony Falzone reports: " our clients challenge the constitutionality of the URAA, which "restores" copyright protection in thousands of foreign works the Copyright Act had previously placed in the Public Domain. Specifically, we assert that restoration violates both the Progress Clause and the First Amendment. In two separate decisions, the Tenth Circuit rejected these challenges, and reversed the district court's decision holding the URAA unconstitutional under the First Amendment. As our petition explains, we contend the Tenth Circuit is wrong on both issues, and its decisions conflict with the Supreme Court's prior decisions interpreting both the Progress Clause and the First Amendment." According the the petition filed in Washington, " Section 514 restored copyright protection to thousands of works that had previously been in the public domain, including symphonies by Stravinski, books by C.S. Lewis, films by Federico Fellini, and artwork by Pablo Picasso." As with almost all Supreme Court cases, the decision will no doubt turn on a big business vs. public dynamic positioned as an alleged protection for the sturggling artists of the world. Interesting here is that petitioners have a large financial interest themselves in the outcome, having recorded and marketed performances of many works that they then correctly and freely rescued from the public domain. Share on Facebook

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