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Supreme Court to rule on copyright protections for foreign works

The US Supreme Court [official website; JURIST news archive] on Monday granted certiorari [order list, PDF] in Golan v. Holder [docket; cert. petition, PDF] to determine the copyright status of foreign works that used to be in the public domain. Section 514 of the Uruguay Round Agreements Act of 1994 (URAA) [text] restored copyright protection to thousands of foreign works that had previously been in the public domain. The questions before the court are: (1) whether the Progress Clause [Art I, § 8, cl 8 text] of the US Constitution prohibits Congress from taking works out of the public domain; and (2) whether Section 514 violates the First Amendment [text]. Petitioners are a group of orchestra conductors, educators, performers, film archivists and motion picture distributors, who previously performed, adapted, restored and distributed these works without restriction. The US Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit ruled [opinion, PDF] "that Section 514 of the URAA is not violative of the First Amendment," overturning the district court's grant of summary judgment for the petitioners.

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