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Can Congress restore copyright in works that are in the public domain? This is the main question of the case, Golan v. Holder, which will be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court beginning in October of this year.

One of the plaintiffs, Lawrence Golan, is a professor and conductor at the University of Denver. The basis of the complaint is that Congress passed legislation that restored copyrights in foreign works according to the Uruguay Roundtable Agreements Act (URAA) in 1994. A significant number of orchestral standard repertoire titles, which were in the public domain, were restored to copyright protection due to the passage of this act. This has created a barrier to access and purchase of scores as well as other scholarly materials which were once in the public domain.

In conjunction with the Conductors Guild, the Music Library Association has filed an amicus brief in support of the Plaintiffs

For more information on this case, here is a link to a New York Times article, Chronicle of Higher Education article, and a posting on SCOTUSblog.

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