Breakout Session: International Treaties, Copyright Law, and the Future of the U.S.A. Presented by Kenneth D. Crews, attorney, Gipson Hoffman and Pancione.
Nearly every nation in the world enacts laws that explicitly govern domestic copyright, dictating rights reserved for authors and specifying other important legal terms. Both geographical borders and the less well-defined borders of the internet affect determinations of copyright. On a global scale, nations enact international copyright treaties to achieve harmonization of certain aspects of copyright law that would otherwise create challenges or conflicts in enforcement of policies between individual nations. However, member nations may need to adjust domestic laws to bring them into alignment with the terms of the international treaties. International law expert Dr. Kenneth Crews discussed the evolution of copyright law and described how precedents set by some nations historically influenced geographic and sociopolitical peers. He also discussed how existing international copyright treaties address issues that continue to reveal weaknesses or compelling needs that cannot easily be served through existing copyright law. Lastly, Dr. Crews provided an update on the landmark 2013 Marrakesh VIP Treaty, which establishes special copyright provisions to accommodate individuals with print disabilities, and reported on his work commissioned by WIPO to study the status of copyright law exceptions in nations around the world.