[License-discuss] Golan v. Holder

Chris Travers chris at metatrontech.com
Mon Jan 23 07:28:24 UTC 2012

On Sun, Jan 22, 2012 at 8:35 PM, Lawrence Rosen <lrosen at rosenlaw.com> wrote:
> Colleagues,
> I commend for your reading pleasure the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Golan
> v. Holder, 565 U. S. ____ (2012), which holds broadly that Congress can
> restore the copyrights of works previously in the public domain in order to
> conform to the requirements of the Berne Convention.
> See http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/11pdf/10-545.pdf and 17 U.S.C.
> 104A. This 6-2 decision was written by the court's copyright expert, Justice
> Ruth Bader Ginsburg. It relies heavily on the court's earlier decision in
> Eldred v. Ashcroft, which some of you may remember from a few years ago and
> which affirmed Congressional power to extend copyright terms.
> Besides being a well-written summary of the purposes of copyright and the
> balance struck by copyright law, the Golan decision emphasizes again for us
> that the public domain isn't quite as safe as licenses.

Is it just me or does Golan more or less read out of the Constitution
any functional requirements regarding copyright law and read the
copyright/patent clause basically as delegating unlimited power to
Congress in this regard?  I mean can Congress now start allowing
telephone directories to be copyrighted, since we no longer care about
promoting the progress of anything?

Best Wishes.
Chris Travers

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