The main question at issue is which view of copyright law the United States should adhere to. Founders of American copyright law based our Constitution on utilitarian principles that promote the spread of knowledge and information to the general public. It has always been held that innovation and creativity were of core importance in an efficiently functioning democracy. With the passing of Section 514, the United States digressed from its national roots in order to comply with an international regime of copyright law. This decision in Golan takes steps to afford private economic benefit to a few copyright holders at the expense of the public at large: a notion against constitutional principles. Congress and the Supreme Court have rationalized American compliance with international law at the great cost of impeding education and culture, discouraging business and investment, and creating a grey cloud over the public domain and copyright industry. Prior to this decision, the United States has never succumbed to the pressures of international adherence at national expense, and we should not start now. Again, if it is unfair for the neighborhood to lose out on Granny's fruit baskets, it is equally unfair on the American public to lose access to works in the public domain.
Following an International Copyright Regime at a Large National Cost: Is It Worth It?,
6 J. Bus. Entrepreneurship & L.
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