This paper offers a critical view of the current international copyright regime through a comparative analysis of the protection of foreign copyrights in the 19th century United States and that in contemporary China. The first part of this paper is a retrospective analysis of how the early US copyright statute dealt with the copyright of foreign works and what the rationales were behind the discrimination against foreign authors' rights. The treatment of foreign works in Chinese copyright law is then discussed, demonstrating that such treatment was strongly influenced by the hegemonic power that the US and other developed countries had established in the arena of international copyright. In the conclusion the two historical accounts are drawn together to highlight the impracticability and injustice of the current trend toward the harmonisation of international copyright law.
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