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13 Colum.-VLA J.L. & Arts 1 (1988-1989)
One Hundred and Two Years Later: The U.S. Joins the Berne Convention

handle is hein.journals/cjla13 and id is 7 raw text is: One Hundred and Two Years Later: The U.S. Joins
the Berne Convention
In historic votes on October 5 and October 12, the U.S. Senate
and House of Representatives unanimously approved legislation
designed to bring U.S. law into compliance with the Berne Conven-
tion.1 The legislation was signed by President Reagan on October 31,
1988. Also signed by the President was a Senate Resolution of Octo-
ber 20 of Ratification of the Berne Convention. Following deposit of
the requisite instruments with the World Intellectual Property Or-
ganization in Geneva, U.S. adherence to Berne took effect on March
1, 1989.
For the U.S., this momentous step is the culmination of decades of
struggle, including many failed attempts by the U.S. over the years to
align itself with other developed and developing nations in subscrib-
ing to the world's oldest and most extensive treaty protecting the
rights of authors. The step was at last achieved in the closing hours
of the hectic session of the Congress shortly before the Presidential
election. It was achieved, also, in the face of internal political maneu-
vering that threatened the adherence bills with delay and possible de-
feat until the last moment.
U.S. Efforts to Join Berne
U.S. ratification came one hundred and two years after the United
States' official observer at the initial international conference from
which the Convention emerged recommended U.S. participation in
the Berne Union. At that time, the U.S. had no international copy-
right relations. We were, and had long been, a pirate nation for
whom protection abroad offered fewer attractions than free copying
* As'sb-iate Professor of Law, Columbia University School of Law.
** Nash Professor of Law, Columbia University School of Law.
Copyright © 1989, Jane C. Ginsburg and John M. Kernochan. All rights reserved.
1. The Berne Convention Implementation Act of 1988, Pub. L. No. 100-568, 102 Stat.
2853 (1988) [herinafter Berne Implementation Act].

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