Columbia Law School Profs Attend Int'l Copyright Conference

Columbia Law School Profs Attend Int'l Copyright Conference
Press Contact: Sonia von Gutfeld, 212-854-1453, [email protected]

December 10, 2007 (NEW YORK) – Copyright expert Jane Ginsburg addressed current threats to authors’ rights and discussed whether new business models benefit authors more than investors in a speech given at the 2007 Congress of the Association Littéraire et Artistique Internationale (ALAI) in Uruguay this fall.

“Treaties have strengthened [authors’] exclusive rights, but it does not wholly follow that stronger copyright produces better results for authors,” said Ginsburg, Columbia Law School’s Morton L. Janklow Professor of Literary and Artistic Property Law. “More copyright is not better for authors if authors have no share in it,” said Ginsburg, who is also co-director of Columbia’s Kernochan Center for Law, Media and the Arts, and president of the United States chapter of ALAI.

Ginsburg spoke on “The Author’s Place in 21st Century Copyright as Updated by the TRIPs [Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights related to Commerce] and WIPO [World Intellectual Property Organization] Treaties.”

ALAI’s three-day Congress, called “The Author’s Place in XXI Century Copyright: the Challenges of Modernization,” took place in Punta del Este, Uruguay. It was the first ALAI Congress in South America, reflecting the region’s growing awareness of copyright issues.

Holding the Congress in Uruguay “was a wonderful way to promote that growth,” said Pippa Loengard ’03, the assistant director of the Kernochan Center. It also recognized the importance of the relatively new Latin American chapters of ALAI, she said.

Loengard, Ginsburg and Kernochan Center Executive Director June Besek joined delegates from more than 25 countries to discuss and debate the state of authors’ rights in light of new international agreements that strengthen copyright.

ALAI, founded in 1878 in Paris with Victor Hugo as honorary president, promotes and defends authors’ rights. The organization in 1886 developed the Berne Convention, an international agreement to protect literary and artistic property, and has since participated in all efforts to revise it. Today, more than 25 national chapters advocate in their home countries for authors’ rights.

Six years ago, the 2001 Congress – the first held in the United States – took place at Columbia Law School, the headquarters of ALAI-USA.

At the 2007 Congress, held from October 31 to November 3, Ginsburg also participated in a panel on the evolution of the TRIPs Agreement and WIPO Treaties of 1996 and served as general reporter. Excerpts from her general report will appear as an editorial in the January 2008 issue of International Intellectual Property and Copyright, published by the Max Planck Institute in Munich. 

Prior to the Congress, Ginsburg gave a talk at the University of Buenos Aires in Argentina on the U.S. copyright system from the perspective of the interests of the author.

Jane Ginsburg speaks on U.S. copyright at the University of Buenos Aires.

The Kernochan Center for Law, Media and the Arts was established in 1986 by Professor John M. Kernochan ’48 to contribute to a broader understanding of the legal aspects of creative works of authorship. The Center has encouraged the development of instruction at the Law School in topics such as intellectual property, copyright, trademarks, the regulation of electronic media, and problems arising from new communications technologies.

Columbia Law School, founded in 1858, stands at the forefront of legal education and of the law in a global society. Columbia Law School joins traditional strengths in international and comparative law, constitutional law, administrative law, business law and human rights law with pioneering work in the areas of intellectual property, digital technology, sexuality and gender, and criminal law.