Supreme Court Decides Golan v. Holder

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Public Domain? – Maybe Not

When information enters the public domain it is free for anyone to use it – right? Maybe yes and maybe no. This uncertainty is likely the better answer in light of the recent decision by the Supreme Court in Golan v. Holder decided January 18, 2012.

The Golan case stems from Congressional action that was deemed necessary to bring the U.S. into full compliance with the international copyright agreement known as the Berne Convention (Berne or the Convention), which the United States joined in1989. The Convention requires member countries to recognize the copyrights of “foreign works” the same way they recognize copyrights by their own citizens.

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