Supreme Court Upholds Law Expanding Copyright Protection

Jan 18, 2012  •  Post A Comment

The U.S. Supreme Court today voted to uphold a law that expanded copyright protection to include foreign works that had previously been in the public domain, The Washington Post reports.

The ruling gives protection to “paintings by Pablo Picasso, films of Alfred Hitchcock, music from Igor Stravinsky and millions of other works by foreign artists that had been freely available,” the story reports.

The piece notes: “The law’s challengers complained that community orchestras, academics and others who rely on works that are available for free have effectively been priced out of performing “Peter and the Wolf” and other pieces that had been mainstays of their repertoires.”

The Post adds: “The case concerned a 1994 law that was intended to bring the U.S. into compliance with an international treaty on intellectual property. Without it, American artists might have found it hard to protect their work in certain countries that lacked specific copyright arrangements with the United States.”

The law mandates that anyond who copies, plays or republishes foreign works must ask permission or pay royalties.

The story reports: “The court ruled in 2003 that Congress may extend the life of a copyright. Wednesday’s decision was the first time it said that published works lacking a copyright could later be protected.”

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