D.C. - The constitutionality of Section 514 of the Uruguay Round Agreements Act
(URAA), which restores copyrights in foreign works formerly within the United
States' public domain, will soon be debated before the U.S. Supreme Court,
which granted certiorari yesterday
morning (Lawrence Golan, et al. v. Eric
H. Holder Jr., et al., No. 10-545, U.S. Sup.; See December 2010, Page 21). Lexis.com
subscribers can view pleadings, briefs and motions related to Golan, et al.
v. Eric H. Holder. Non-subscribers
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review of an adverse ruling by the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals
(Golan v. Holder, 609 F.3d 1076 (10th
Cir. Colo. 2010) [enhanced version available to lexis.com
subscribers / unenhanced version available from lexisONE
Free Case Law]), petitioners Lawrence Golan, the estate of Richard
Kapp, S.A. Publishing Co. Inc., Symphony of the Canyons, Ron Hall and John
McDonough request clarification on whether the progress clause of the U.S.
Constitution prohibits Congress from taking works from the public domain, as
well as whether Section 514 violates the First Amendment.
dispute originated in the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado,
where the petitioners - which include orchestra conductors, educators,
performers, publishers and motion picture distributors - first challenged the
constitutionality of the Copyright Term Extension Act (CTEA) and Section 514 of
the URAA. As a result of both statutes,
the petitioners claimed that they were prevented from using derivative works or
were required to pay licensing fees to the copyright holders.
District Court initially granted summary judgment on behalf of the government
with regard to all arguments raised by the petitioners, but the 10th Circuit
partially reversed on grounds that the URAA challenge was valid. On remand, the District Court instead sided
with the petitioners, finding that "to the extent Section 514 suppresses the right
of reliance parties to use works they exploited while the works were in the
public domain," Section 514 was unconstitutional.
second ruling in the case, however, the 10th Circuit ruled in favor of the
government. Applying intermediate
scrutiny, the appellate panel relied on Turner Broad. Sys., Inc. v. FCC (520 U.S. 180, 189 ) [enhanced version / unenhanced version] in finding
that a content-neutral statute "will be sustained under the First Amendment if
it advances important governmental interests unrelated to the suppression of
free speech and does not burden substantially more speech than necessary to
further those interests."
Section 514 "narrowly tailored" and the governmental interests valid, the
appellate panel remanded the case with instructions for the District Court to
grant summary judgment to the government, which was entered in August.
Note: Full coverage will be in the March
21 issue of Mealey'sTM Litigation Report:
Copyright. For all of your legal
news needs, please visit www.lexisnexis.com/mealeys.]
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