Intellectual property, including copyright specifically, has been a cornerstone of the United States’ (US) international trade policy over the past three decades at the bilateral, regional and multilateral level. Meanwhile, the past three decades has also been a period of intense disruption of copyright law due to the emergence of new technology. This includes home-taping devices, the internet and online file-sharing services. In response, the US’s domestic laws on copyright have also changed dramatically during this time. Applying a historical institutionalist analysis, this thesis examines how processes of domestic institutional change on copyright influenced, and were influenced, by the US’s international trade agenda. In particular, it analyses how the emergence of new technology changes the balance of power between local commercial interests and their preferences, and the impact this has on state preferences in international negotiations. However, the thesis does not limit its analysis to copyright owning interests such as film studios and software publishers. It also includes the commercial interests behind these new technologies themselves. Additionally, the thesis does not accept that the discursive strategies of these interests were pivotal in making copyright a major trade priority, or that they determine state preferences through institutional capture of the US’s trade negotiator’s office. Instead, the thesis argues that it is the confluence of commercial interests and state interests, particular on economic nationalist and security grounds, which has determined the international negotiating agenda of the US. As a result, the US international copyright standard setting efforts have been determined by a combination of the state’s economic nationalist and security interests, and how these align with those of local commercial constituents. US preferences have thus evolved with changes in these state and commercial interests due to new technology, and shifting power asymmetries in the international political economy. This approach is referred to as ‘embedded nationalism’.