UPDATE: Briefing for the cert. stage is now complete. You can read the government's opposition to our cert. petition here, and our reply in support of our cert. petition here. Amicus briefs in support of our cert. petition were filed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation on behalf of the Internet Archive (available here) and by Keker & Van Nest on behalf of the Conductors Guild (available here). From 10/20/10: Today we filed a petition for a writ of certiorari asking the United States Supreme Court to review the Tenth Circuit's decisions in Golan v. Holder. In that case, our clients challenge the constitutionality of the URAA, which "restores" copyright protection in thousands of foreign works the Copyright Act had previously placed in the Public Domain. Specifically, we assert that restoration violates both the Progress Clause and the First Amendment. In two separate decisions, the Tenth Circuit rejected these challenges, and reversed the district court's decision holding the URAA unconstitutional under the First Amendment. As our petition explains, we contend the Tenth Circuit is wrong on both issues, and its decisions conflict with the Supreme Court's prior decisions interpreting both the Progress Clause and the First Amendment. In our view, these questions could not be more important. The point of copyright protection is to encourage people to create things that will ultimately belong to the public. While the scope and duration of copyright protection has changed over time, one aspect of the copyright system has remained consistent: once a work is placed in the Public Domain, it belongs to the public, and remains the property of the public – free for anyone to use for any purpose. That principle was respected for more than 200 years, because it represents a critical limit on the intellectual property "monopoly" the Framers authorized. By restoring copyrights in tens of thousands of works that had been in the Public Domain for decades, the URAA represents a radical departure from these basic principles, and it affects a broad array of critically important public speech rights. The Tenth Circuit's decisions in this case suppress those rights, and threaten the integrity of the Public Domain itself. We hope the Supreme Court agrees these questions are worthy of its attention. You can read the whole cert. petition here.
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