§514 specifically sought to offer protection to works published abroad which had not previously enjoyed protection in the United States. In doing so, §514 brought back under copyright works which had previously been in the public domain in the United States. The petitioners in Golan argued that in doing so, Congress exceeded the authority granted by the Copyright Clause of the U.S. Constitution, and also infringed on their First Amendment right to free expression. – American Bar Association February 2012 IPL eNews
Held: In a 6-2 decision (Justice Kagan did not participate), the Supreme Court upheld the Tenth Circuit’s ruling that §514 of the Uruguay Round Agreements Act of 1994 did not violate the First Amendment. Further, the high court also ruled that the Copyright Clause of the U.S. Constitution did not prohibit Congress from removing works from the public domain. Justice Breyer, joined by Justice Alito, authored a dissenting opinion.
Read the full text of the opinion in Golan v. Holder here. [updated 2/4/2012]