Mihály Ficsor


The copyright policy of the United States developed from initial isolationism, through the 1891 Chase Act, various bilateral and inter-American agreements and the establishment of the Universal Copyright Convention, to active participation in the international copyright cooperation. This development was completed by the United States’ accession to the Berne Convention in 1988. Since then, the United States has played a leading role in this field, which was manifested both during the negotiations of the 1994 TRIPS Agreement and the preparatory work of the two 1996 WIPO “Internet Treaties”, the WCT and the WPPT. These WIPO Treaties, the preparation and adoption of which the United States has had a decisive role, represent the most up-to-date international norms on copyright and related rights. The Treaties offer adequate responses to the challenges of digital technology and the Internet, and they do so in a well balanced and flexible way. The Digital Millenium Copyright Act adopted in 1998 has implemented the Treaties in the same way. In view of the fact that the United States is the main producer of cultural and information goods protected by copyright and related rights, and may also be found in the frontline of the development of digital technology and the Internet, it is its important national interest that the WIPO Internet Treaties be adequately and effectively implemented all over the world. It is in surprising contrast with this national interest that the United States is also the main source of obstruction to a more general adherence to, and an appropriate application of the Treaties in the form of various “copyleft” ideologies and movements.