Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law

First Page



Trade treaty partners recently have determined that the manufacturing clause violates United States obligations under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). If the clause does violate GATT, sanctions may be imposed unless the clause is eliminated. Even so, two bills have been introduced in the United States Congress to make the clause a permanent feature of the copyright law, and to apply the manufacturing requirement to all printed materials. Meanwhile, a group of United States publishers and authors is challenging the clause in court, claiming it violates both the first and fifth amendments to the United States Constitution.

Protection for United States printers has been written into domestic copyright law since its origin in 1790. While the manufacturing clause recently was referred to as a "legal dinosaur," it has been revised many times. The current version, allowing several exemptions, affects mainly books and periodicals, plus other literary and printed commercial materials. Penalty for overseas manufacture in violation of the manufacturing clause is a ban on imports and disallowance of United States copyright remedies.

In light of the approaching expiration date of the manufacturing clause, this Article will examine the clause's international copyright and trade ramifications, as well as its economic and constitutional validity. Upon concluding that the clause should at last be allowed to expire, this Article discusses alternatives for maintaining stability in the domestic book manufacturing market.