US court rules that free speech trumps copyright (sometimes)

A major copyright victory -- the Tenth Circuit court has ruled in favor of Larry Lessig, et al, in Golan v. Gonzales, a case about the scope of fair use. The court has acknowledged that First Amendment freedoms must be considered when copyright law is made.
This is a very big victory. The government had argued in this case, and in related cases, that the only First Amendment review of a copyright act possible was if Congress changed either fair use or erased the idea/expression dichotomy. We, by contrast, have argued consistently that in addition to those two, Eldred requires First Amendment review when Congress changes the "traditional contours of copyright protection." In Golan, the issue is a statute that removes work from the public domain. In a related case now on cert to the Supreme Court, Kahle v. Gonzales, the issue is Congress's change from an opt-in system of copyright to an opt-out system of copyright. That too, we have argued, is a change in a "traditional contour of copyright protection." Under the 10th Circuit's rule, it should merit 1st Amendment review as well.



  1. That is great news! Can anyone find a list of all of the items covered by the case? Wikipedia lists a handful, but implies more.

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