September 24, 2004  ·  Lessig

A district court in the Southern District of New York has struck down the anti-bootlegging provision of the copyright act. There is a new report here. I should have the opinion up soon. (Disclosure: I did pro bono work on this case.)

UPDATE: I have a scanned pdf of the opinion. (Warning: It is huge (64mg)). (Thanks to Joe Gratz, here‘s a very readable compressed version at about 500k).

The opinion is fantastic. The Court concludes (1) that antibootlegging regulations are “copyright-like” regulations, and thus are within the scope of the Copyright Clause, (2) that this regulation violates the Copyright Clause because it doesn’t have a limited term (citing Eldred (sweet justice)) (And remember, the 11th Circuit’s case expressly did not consider the limited times argument), and (3) that Congress can’t use the Commerce Clause to do what it can’t do under the Copyright Clause, so long as the subject matter is “copyright-like.”

I have always been a fan of Judge Baer, but never more than today.

September 24, 2004  ·  Lessig

According to an article in the National Journal Tech Daily (9/23), Bruce Lehman claims he is on the Kerry Technology Committee, but is “playing a relatively minor role.” The article quotes an unnamed source that he “is not part of Kerry’s core group of tech advisers.”

But whether core or fringe, why is he part of “tech” advisers at all? Lehman’s policies did more to encourage the war on technology that these past 8 years have seen than anyone else in DC. Let him serve on the “last century protectionists” committee. Indeed, make him the chair.

Lehman says he finds it “really sad — pretty sad” that I had criticized him on this blog. (No confirmation which.) And just to show how effective I’ve been in getting my point across, Lehman is quoted as saying: “[Lessig] seems to believe you can have a post-industrial economy without any copyrights.” Oh yes. That’s exactly what I believe. I’m also a Marxist, and commune regularly with Chairman Mao. With insight such as this, I can see why he’d be such a valuable member of the Kerry team.

September 23, 2004  ·  Lessig

So as I reported earlier, two people whose integrity I would not question told me that Bruce Lehman had told them that he, Lehman, was now advising the Kerry Campaign on IP policy. Now two people, whose integrity I would not question and who have direct connections to the campaign, tell me that is not correct. Let’s hope.

September 15, 2004  ·  Lessig

John Gilmore’s battle to force the government to explain the basis upon which it demands that airlines verify an ID before permitting someone on a plane got a small victory last week. The government had asked to file its brief, defending a rule that is itself secret, in secret. The 9th Circuit said no.

September 15, 2004  ·  Lessig

There’s a great article in the New Scientist about the dangers in IP extremism. As it rightly notes,

THERE are some things in life we take for granted. Among them are the ability to lend each other books, record TV programmes, back up expensive computer programs, and sell on our old CDs when we’ve got tired of them. … That could change. New technologies are giving copyright owners the power to control the time and place we can view or play digital versions of music, films and text so tightly that we run the risk of losing these rights altogether.

But to read the article at the New Scientist website, you’ll need to subscribe. Oh well. One step at a time.

September 15, 2004  ·  Lessig

Making Torture Legal, a story by Anthony Lewis about an issue that ought to be an issue in this issueless campaign, is the best of its kind that I’ve seen. I was referred to it by an Israeli friend. As he said to me, “of course there is torture in Israeli prisons, but there is nothing remotely as bad as this.”

Truth, and justice. May it again be the American way.