Supreme Court Argument Preview: Golan v. Holder - Oral Argument Scheduled for October 5, 2011


Eight years ago in Eldred v. Ashcroft, the Supreme Court addressed Congress’ power under the Progress Clause of the Constitution, which provides Congress with the ability to grant copyrights and patents to “promote the Progress of Science and the useful Arts.” In Eldred, the Court rejected a challenge to a copyright term extension act which extended existing copyrights and provided for a copyright term of 70 years plus the life of the author, concluding that Congress had broad powers to determine what copyright scheme best promoted progress.

Now, in Golan v. Holder, the Court again faces a challenge to the outer limits of congressional power in enacting copyright laws. The case concerns a 1994 act of Congress which implemented treaties aimed at harmonizing global copyright laws. The act restored copyrights to foreign works, including numerous famous orchestral pieces, that had previously been in the public domain in the U.S. Petitioners, a collection of orchestra conductors, educators, and others that have relied on the public domain in their work, argue this violates the principle that works cannot be removed from the public domain, and highlight the potential danger in granting Congress a restoration power. The government counters that such restorations have previously occurred in both copyright and patent arenas, and that this is a rational exercise of Congress’ power by ensuring compliance with international obligations, promoting recognition of rights for American authors abroad, and remedying past inequalities in copyright protection.

Please see full update below for more information.

LOADING PDF: If there are any problems, click here to download the file.

Written by:

Published In:

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Finnegan | Attorney Advertising

Don't miss a thing! Build a custom news brief:

Read fresh new writing on compliance, cybersecurity, Dodd-Frank, whistleblowers, social media, hiring & firing, patent reform, the NLRB, Obamacare, the SEC…

…or whatever matters the most to you. Follow authors, firms, and topics on JD Supra.

Create your news brief now - it's free and easy »

All the intelligence you need, in one easy email:

Great! Your first step to building an email digest of JD Supra authors and topics. Log in with LinkedIn so we can start sending your digest...

Sign up for your custom alerts now, using LinkedIn ›

* With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name.