Works encompassed by §514 are granted the protection they would have enjoyed had the United States maintained copyright relations with the author’s country or removed formalities incompatible with Berne. As a consequence of the barriers to U. S. copyright protection prior to §514’s enactment, foreign works “restored” to protection by the measure had entered the public domain in this country. To cushion the impact of their placement in protected status, §514 provides ameliorating accommodations for parties who had exploited affected works before the URAA was enacted.
In 1996, copyright was automatically restored in certain foreign works that were then in the public domain in the United States but were protected by copyright or neighboring rights in the source country. Owners of a restored work were directed to notify reliance parties if the owner of the rights planned to enforce the rights. One means of notification was filing with the Copyright Office a Notice of Intent to Enforce (NIE) a Restored Copyright.
The potential danger of this ruling is that it provides an additional precedent for Congress to "re-copyright" works that may have fallen in the public domain. While this ruling applies to foreign works, there may come a time where Congress attempts to pass (or actually passes) legislation to re-copyright public domain works by American authors. If so, the constitutionality of any such law will have to be judged versus the Copyright Clause. Until then, this ruling will govern.