Golan v. Gonzales: Uruguay round copyright provisions challenged

While the Doha negotiations are going nowhere fast, the Uruguay round might be moving backwards — its implementation is up in the air due to a court case decided this week. Orin Kerr reports:

Golan v. Gonzales, a fascinating Tenth Circuit case… went most of the way towards striking down section 514 of the Uruguay Round Agreements Act on First Amendment grounds. As I understand it, this section of the act restored the copyright of some foreign materials that had fallen into the public domain; it was passed to satisfy the U.S. treaty obligation to afford the same copyright protection to foreign authors as U.S. law provides to U.S. authors. Golan’s argument is that taking the materials out of the public domain violated the First Amendment.

I just learned of this case, and most of the bloggers covering it are lawyers, so I don’t know the implications for trade policy or how other countries might react.