US defends copyright law for famous foreign works

WASHINGTON - An Obama administration attorney urged the Supreme Court on Wednesday to uphold a law that gave copyright protection to millions of foreign works, including famous films, paintings and books, that had been in the public domain.
But an attorney representing an orchestra conductor, other performers and educators argued the 1994 act violated US copyright law and constitutional free-speech rights.
At issue was the law, adopted by Congress to comply with an international treaty, that restored copyright protection to foreign works, including films by Alfred Hitchcock, paintings by Picasso, symphonies by Stravinsky and books by C.S. Lewis and Virginia Woolf.
Under the law, the foreign works cannot by copied, played shared or republished without paying royalties or seeking permission.
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