Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Congress Has Broad Powers to Define Intellectual Property Rights including Copyrights: The SCOTUS Decision in Golan v. Holder at Frankel's On the Case

Alison Frankel in On the Case at Thomson Reuters News and Insight
has an excellent posting about the recent U.S. Supreme Court
foreign copyright and public domain case Golan v. Holder
at her nicely titled
Amid SOPA debate, SCOTUS gives Congress broad copyright power.

Although we definitely share
the sentiments of the dissenting Justices Breyer and Alito
-- a strange alliance politically and judicially, but understandable in terms of their intellectual principles --
we have to agree with the SCOTUS majority of Justices in Golan v. Holder
that Congress has the power to define intellectual property rights
nearly any way it wishes,
as long as the promulgated laws
conform to the very general dictates of the U.S. Constitution.

What we object to is that:
  • intellectual property rights have been imprudently so defined by Congress
  • as to extend unnecessarily massive monopoly powers
  • not only to authors and inventors
  • -- far beyond what the Constitution could be said to require --
  • but also that Congress has extended the already overly broad reach of the intellectual property laws
  • to heirs of authors and inventors, and to exploitative corporations and other organizations such as patent trolls and publishing monopolists
  • who have as a consequence
  • created pervasive monopolies and systems of rights
  • that extend unduly over generations
  • and which greatly harm the economy
  • and unduly interfere with the progress of science and useful arts
  • rather than to promote them.
Really, that is it, in a sentence.

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