Rights Returned: Section 104A of the Copyright Act Harms First Amendment Rights

They are a small, seemingly harmless group: two conductors; one non-profit community orchestra; a small record label; and a guy who sells old movies, TV shows and cartoons.

But they are taking on the U.S. government--and they recently scored a major victory.

Vested Rights

On remand, the district court in Golan v. Holder found for plaintiffs. (Because the plaintiffs are suing the U.S. government, the defendant's name changes when the U.S. gets a new attorney general.)

Safe Harbor

Even if plaintiffs had a First Amendment right to use works in the public domain, they needed to prove more in order to win their lawsuit. They had to show that Section 104A went beyond the government's interest in complying with TRIPS and restricted their speech more than was necessary to satisfy the treaty.


Steven Seidenberg

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