Session II: The Impact of International Copyright Treaties and Trade Agreements on the Development of Domestic Norms (Eric Schwartz)

Schwartz, Eric

I am going to put my own gloss on the question: “How do the copyright treaties and trade agreements affect national IP laws in the U.S. and elsewhere?” And I guess the real question is: are norms even being set by the treaties and trade agreements? Let me just start with the basics for the students in the room who may be unfamiliar with international copyright law. First, there is no such thing as international copyright law. I always put “international” in quotes. International copyright is an interlocking set of national laws for which the treaties set norms— often floors (minimum levels of protection). That is what happens when you get lots of countries in one room trying to agree on what the levels of protection and enforcement—and whatever else—should be – minimum sets of norms.

The most difficult part of putting the treaties into force is not the treaty language; it is the implementation of the treaties in the national laws. If you look at the history of the treaties—as Karyn has provided, and Steven Metalitz and Probir Mehta have talked about—there is a long lag time between the treaties being completed and being enacted into national laws.


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November 2, 2017


These remarks are a transcript of a talk that was given on October 14, 2016, at the Kernochan Center Annual Symposium at Columbia Law School.