6 Int'l Bus. Law. 646 (1978)
Some Observations on the New U.S. Copyright Law

handle is hein.journals/ibl6 and id is 736 raw text is: International Business Lawyer 1978, Vol. 6(vi) Printed in Great Britain

Some Observations on the New
U.S. Copyright Law
By EDWARD M. CRAMER, President Broadcast Music, Inc.*
The new copyright act is not merely a revision of the existing law, but contains
fundamental and, indeed, revolutionary changes in the concept of copyright as we
know it in the United States.
One of the immediate results is that there has grown up a new industry - the
selling of the Copyright Act of 1978. We have had magazine articles, technical
journals, law reviews, texts, symposia, review courses - all designed to educate the
Bar and interested laymen in the impact of the new act. It has created temporary
employment for a new breed of instant experts. When this fad gives way, I am
afraid that the draftsmen of the act will have ensured almost permanent employ-
ment for members of the copyright bar for years to come. It is known among
members of the Copyright bar as the Full Employment Opportunities Act for
lawyers. Despite the voluminous studies made and the years spent in implementing
the findings into law, there are, perhaps unavoidably, a number of unresolved issues
that can only be tested by litigation.
Having said all this, and having indicated the great complexities and the
fundamental changes of the new act, I am afraid that after I conclude with my
outline of the major revisions, those of you who are familiar with the copyright
laws in other countries will rightfully ask what was all the shouting about?
HISTORY OF COPYRIGHT REVISION
The present copyright law was enacted in 1909. There were a number of unsuccess-
ful attempts to revise the law in the period prior to World War II.
The present revision had its origins in a series of 35 studies undertaken by the
Copyright Office and published in 1961. As a result of these studies and confer-
ences held under the auspices of the Copyright Office, the predecessor to the new
copyright act was introduced in our Congress in 1964. Approximately 12 years
later, on 19th October, 1976, the new act was signed by the President, to take
effect as of 1st January, 1978. Hundreds of witnesses were heard by House and
*This paper was presented to the November 1977 Atlanta meeting of Committee L-Patents,
Trademarks, Copyrights. It is part of a continuing study by the Committe on Changes in the
Law of Copyright, papers dealing with the positions in Canada being published in the April
issue and the United Kingdom in the October issue.

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