The Supreme Court Asked to Rule on the Constitutionality of “Restored” Copyright Protection
By Andrew Goodwin – Edited by Cary Mayberger
Petition for Writ of Certiorari, Golan v. Holder (U.S. 2010)
Petition hosted by The Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School
In June 2010, the United States Circuit Court for the Tenth Circuit held that § 514 of the Uruguay Round Agreements Act (“URAA”), codified in 17 U.S.C. §§ 104(A) and 109(a), did not violate the First Amendment rights of Golan et al. (the “petitioners”). See Golan v. Holder, 609 F.3d 1076 (2010). On October 20, 2010, the petitioners, a group of “orchestra conductors, educators, performers, film archivists, and motion picture distributors,” filed a petition for writ of certiorari to the Supreme Court. The respondents in this writ are Eric Holder and Marybeth Peters, serving in their respective capacities as Attorney General and Register of Copyrights in the Copyright Office of the United States.
The origins of this case trace back to Golan v. Gonzalez, 2005 WL 2064402 (D. Colo. Aug. 24, 2005), a 2005 case in the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado. In the original Golan case, the district court dismissed all of the plaintiffs’ claims, including the claim that § 514 of the URAA was unconstitutional because it violated the Copyright Clause and the First Amendment. The plaintiffs appealed to the Tenth Circuit, which in 2007 reversed the district court’s dismissal of the plaintiffs’ First Amendment claim while affirming the district court’s dismissal of the Copyright Clause claim. The case was then remanded for analysis of the First Amendment claim. Applying intermediate scrutiny, the district court granted the plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment in 2009. In 2010, a separate panel on the Tenth Circuit heard the government’s appeal, and reversed the district court’s judgment.
JOLT Digest reported on the Tenth Circuit’s original ruling in Golan, the district court’s subsequent decision, and the Tenth Circuit’s latest decision. The 1709 Blog provides an overview of the writ. (more…)