United States Adherence to the Berne Convention and Copyright Protection of Information-Based Technologies
Jurimetrics Journal, Vol. 28, No. 147, 1988
6 Pages Posted: 28 May 2009
Date Written: 1988
The Berne Convention, which governs the international aspects of copyright protection in its signatory countries, has been in existence for over one hundred years. During that period, numerous attempts have been made to reform United States copyright law to permit our entry into the Convention, but while the reasons for our not joining may have varied with time, the United States has never acceded to its terms. Nevertheless, the differences between United States law and the requirements of the Berne Convention have steadily narrowed over the years, most particularly with the adoption of the Copyright Act of 1976. With increasing concerns about international piracy of the creative works of American authors, a major groundswell of support for United States entry into Berne has recently developed and seems to be gaining momentum. Three bills to amend United States copyright law to permit our joining the Convention were introduced in 1987.
The movement toward Berne is not without opponents, but the debate has focused on the historical issue of the desirability of maintaining our traditional differences from the requirements of the Convention, such as the United States preference for certain formalities like a notice of copyright on published works and the Convention demand that its members provide for moral rights of authorship. This article raises the neglected issue of the effect of United States entry into the Berne convention and the protection of information-based technology like computer programs and databases under American copyright law.
Keywords: Berne Convention, Copyright, Copyright Act of 1976
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