Updating the Berne Convention for the Internet Age: Un-Blurring the Line Between United States and Foreign Copyrighted Works


John Naughton, notable journalist and academic, has asserted that “[common sense] should also revolt at the idea that doctrines about copyright that were shaped in a pre-Internet age should apply to a post-Internet one.” And yet, in crucial aspects of international law, this is the situation in which the world finds itself today. The Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works (the “Berne Convention” or the “Convention”) is one of the most important multinational agreements concerned with copyright law, but it has not been amended since September 28, 1979. Although the internet technically existed in an early and limited form at that time, its use did not become popular and widely available to the public until it was privatized in the 1990s. Because of this timing, the Berne Convention does not reflect any of the practical possibilities for the creation and dissemination of copyrighted works that the internet has made possible, let alone the explosion of creative content and the changing attitudes toward authorship, sharing, and copyright that those realized possibilities have brought about

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