Etienne Azambre, At the Louvre, Two Women Copying Botticelli's Fresco of Venus and the Graces (1894)

Etienne Azambre; after Sandro Botticelli, "At the Louvre, Two Women Copying Botticelli's Fresco of Venus and the Graces" (1894). Musée du Louvre. Image and original data provided by Réunion des Musées Nationaux / Art Resource, N.Y.

The Supreme Court is weighing arguments in a case challenging the copyright provision of the 1994 Uruguay Round Agreements Act, which restored the copyrights in the United States of many foreign works that previously had been freely available. In an editorial in the New York Times, Peter Decherney, an associate professor of film studies at the University of Pennsylvania, points out that artists have long depended on the public domain and argues that the legislation puts technical, artistic, and industrial innovation at risk. The Supreme Court is expected to rule on the case before the end of its current session in June 2012.

Opinions surrounding intellectual property rights are in flux as our culture tries to adapt to the rapid changes brought about by new technologies. We welcome comments from our readers.