Media Law Prof Blog

Editor: Christine A. Corcos
Louisiana State Univ.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Supreme Court To Hear Challenge To Copyright Term Extension Act With Regard To Foreign Works (Golan v. Holder)

The New York Times' Adam Liptak discusses the importance of a new case to be heard by the Supreme Court, Golan v. Holder, here. Here is a link to the 10th Circuit decision. Said the 10th Circuit,

Plaintiffs filed this action, challenging the constitutionality of the Copyright Term Extension Act, Pub. L. No 105-298, ยง 102(b), (d), 112 Stat. 2827, 2827-28 (1998), and Section 514 of the URAA, seeking declaratory and injunctive relief. Initially, the district court granted summary judgment to the government. On appeal, we concluded that plaintiffs' challenge to the Copyright Term Extension Act was foreclosed by the Supreme Court's decision in Eldred v. Ashcroft, 537 U.S. 186, 123 S. Ct. 769, 154 L. Ed. 2d 683 (2003). See Golan v. Gonzales, 501 F.3d 1179, 1182 (10th Cir. 2007) ("Golan I"). We also held that "[Section] 514 of the URAA ha[d] not exceeded the limitations inherent in the Copyright Clause" of the United States Constitution. Id. We recognized that "legislation promulgated pursuant to the Copyright Clause must still comport with other express limitations of the Constitution," id. at 1187, and concluded that plaintiffs had "shown sufficient free expression interests in works removed from the public domain to require First Amendment scrutiny of [Section] 514," id. at 1182. We then remanded the case to the district court to "assess whether [Section] 514 is content-based or content-neutral," id. at 1196, and to apply the appropriate level of constitutional scrutiny.

Reviewing de novo, and applying intermediate scrutiny, the 10th Circuit held,

Congress acted within its authority under the Copyright Clause in enacting Section 514. See id. at 1187. Further, Section 514 does not violate plaintiffs' freedom of speech under the First Amendment because it advances an important governmental interest, and it is not substantially broader than necessary to advance that interest. Accordingly, we REVERSE the judgment of the district court and REMAND with instructions to grant summary judgment in favor of the government.

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