Thread: SCOTAL Itch
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Old 01-23-2012, 07:43 PM
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Stephen Maturin Stephen Maturin is offline
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Default Re: SCOTAL Itch

Originally Posted by Nullifidian View Post
According to Wired, the Supreme Court has now ruled that certain works in the public domain may be yanked back and put under copyright again. :shakecopyright:
Pretty much!

Golan v. Holder (pdf, 69 pages)

Originally Posted by Nullifidian View Post
I'm not sure about the meaning of the legislation
Me neither. After reading the syllabus and first 4 pages of the majority opinion I'm all :eyesbleed:

Seems that the U.S. steered clear of the 1886 Berne Convention for over a century. Even after joining up in 1989 we didn't actually do much to enforce the Convention in this country. That, of course, pissed off more than a few of the other Berne signatories.

The legislation at issue in this case came out of the same overall dialogue that resulted in creation of NAFTA and the WTO. Viewed in that light, how can the legislation possibly be any good?

Congress responded to the 1994 Uruguay agreements with a statute (Section 514 of the Uruguay Round Agreement Act) that, according to the Court:

[E]xtended copyright to works that garnered protection in their countries of origin, but had no right to exclusivity in the United States for any of three reasons: lack of copyright relations between the country of origin and the United States at the time of publication; lack of subject-matter protection for sound recordings fixed before 1972; and failure to comply with U. S. statutory formalities (e.g., failure to provide notice of copyright status, or to register and renew a copyright).

Works that have fallen into the public domain after the expiration of a full copyright term—either in the United States or the country of origin—receive no further protection under §514. Copyrights “restored” under URAA §514 “subsist for the remainder of the term of copyright that the work would have otherwise been granted . . . if the work never entered the public domain.” (Citations and footnotes omitted.)
The full text of the statute is now codified here and here.

The statute does confer copyright protection on works considered to be in the public domain here in the U.S. One of the issues was whether the Copyright Clause of the U.S. Constitution authorized the legislation. The plaintiffs in this case wanted the Court to hold that the language "for limited Times" in the CC prohibited conferring copyright protection on works in the public domain. The Court rejected that (along with a First Amendment argument) by a 6-2 vote.

Might take a closer look at this one, but only after my eyes stop bleeding.
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