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Supreme Court Copyright Case Will Decide Fate Of Millions Of Once-Public Works

Publication Date: 
October 04, 2011
The Washington Post
Robert Barnes

Lecturer Anthony Falzone is mentioned in the following Washington Post article by Robert Barnes covering the case of Golan v. Holder which will determine if copyright laws will apply to foreign works in the public domain.

Another school year has begun at the University of Denver music department, renewing a familiar pattern for professor Lawrence Golan.

He instructed a nervous young conductor on the proper way to grip her baton. He patiently guided the orchestra through its second rehearsal of Jean Sibelius’s Symphony No. 5. He prepared for the season’s first concert.

But the fall also marks a culmination for Golan, whose 10-year trek through the legal system on behalf of fellow conductors, academics, film historians and others ends Wednesday at the Supreme Court.


“This case raises the question, ‘What is copyright really for?’ ” said Golan’s attorney, Anthony Falzone, of the Stanford Law School Center for Internet and Society. “Is it just something that benefits authors, or is it something that benefits society?”


Falzone said Congress went beyond its powers in 1994 when it extended protection to works that the public had come to rely on.

“For 200 years, there was no question that once something entered the public domain, it belonged to the public,” he said. “They can never be taken back.”