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High Court Upholds Copyrights On Foreign Works

Publication Date: 
January 19, 2012
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Bloomberg News)
Greg Stohr

Executive Director of the Fair Use Project Anthony Falzone is quoted in the following article by Bloomberg News' Greg Stohr on the possible negative consequences of the decision in Golan v. Holder.

The Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld a federal law that gave copyright protection to millions of foreign-produced books, movies and musical pieces and may undermine Google's effort to create an online library.

The 6-2 ruling takes works by Alfred Hitchcock, Pablo Picasso, Igor Stravinsky and J.R.R. Tolkien out of the public domain, barring use without permission of the copyright owner. The decision is a victory for the film and music industries and a setback for Google, which had said it would lose access to many of the 15 million books it wants to make available online.


Even if would-be users can track down the copyright owners, they may face other obstacles, said lawyer Anthony Falzone, who represented the law's challengers.

"It's not always just a matter of writing a check," he said. "Copyright owners can say, 'No, we don't want you to do that. Forget about price -- we don't want you to do it.'"