International Copyright Law & Domestic Constitutional Doctrines

13 Pages Posted: 5 Apr 2007 Last revised: 24 May 2013

See all articles by Graeme W. Austin

Graeme W. Austin

Victoria University of Wellington


This paper examines emerging constitutional doctrines that emphasize the relevance of international copyright relations to the constitutionality of domestic copyright law. One line of judicial reasoning suggests that legislation that protects the interests of foreign authors is consistent with copyright's quid pro quo bargain. Another suggests that rational basis scrutiny can be satisfied by a sufficient showing that the challenged legislation advances the bargaining position of the United States in negotiations over the content of foreign copyright laws. To put these developments in context, this paper briefly summarizes the doctrine that has been distilled by recent challenges to the constitutionality of various aspects of U.S. copyright law. It then explores the contours of this new "internationalized" approach to constitutional analysis of copyright law in the domestic context.

Keywords: copyright, constitution, international

Suggested Citation

Austin, Graeme W., International Copyright Law & Domestic Constitutional Doctrines. Columbia Journal of Law & the Arts, 2007; Arizona Legal Studies Discussion Paper No. 07-11; Victoria University of Wellington Legal Research Paper No. 24/2013. Available at SSRN:

Graeme W. Austin (Contact Author)

Victoria University of Wellington ( email )

PO Box 600
Wellington, 6140
New Zealand


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