Intellectual Property

Anti-Bootlegging Law Upheld

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A federal statute that bars bootlegged copies of performances survived an initial review before a federal appeals court today.

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals based in New York ruled Congress had the authority to enact the law under the commerce clause.

However, the 2nd Circuit asked U.S. District Judge Harold Baer to review whether the law violates the First Amendment. Baer hadn’t reached the argument because he had held Congress did not have constitutional authority to enact the law under either the copyright clause or the commerce clause.

Twenty-nine law professors with expertise in intellectual property and constitutional law had filed an amicus brief arguing the law is overbroad under the First Amendment because it has no exception for fair use or recordings of limited duration.

The defendant charged in the case is Jean Martignon, the owner of a Manhattan record store called Midnight Records. United States v. Martignon, No. 04-5649-cr (PDF).

A hat tip to How Appealing, which posted the opinion.

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