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Floyd Abrams Stop Online Piracy Act Letter To House Judiciary On Free Speech

Floyd Abrams Stop Online Piracy Act Letter To House Judiciary On Free Speech

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Published by Beverly Tran
Floyd Abrams, representative of the Directors Guild of America, American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, Screen Actors Guild, International Alliance of Stage and Theatrical Employees, Motion Picture Association, letter addressing the "Stop Online Piracy Act" and First Amendment free speech.
Floyd Abrams, representative of the Directors Guild of America, American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, Screen Actors Guild, International Alliance of Stage and Theatrical Employees, Motion Picture Association, letter addressing the "Stop Online Piracy Act" and First Amendment free speech.

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Published by: Beverly Tran on Nov 13, 2011
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11/14/2011

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FLOYDABRAMSL.HOWARDADAMSROBERTA.ALESSIHELENER.BANKSLANDISC.BESTSUSANBUCKLEYKEVIN..J.BURKE..JAMES..J.CLARKBEN..JAMIN..J.COHENCHRISTOPHERT.COXSTUARTG.DOWNINGADAMM.DWORKIN..JENNIFERB.EZRINGPATRICIAFARREN
CAHILLGORDON
&
REINDELLLP
EIGHTYPINESTREET
NEWYORK,NY
10005-1702
WILLIAMB.GANNETTCHARLESA.GILMANSTEPHENA.GREENEROBERTM.HALLMANWILLIAMM.HARTNETTCRAIGM.HOROWITZDOUGLASS.HOROWITZDAVIDG...JANUSZEWSKITELEPHONE:(212)701-3000FACSIMILE:(212)269-5420MICHAELMACRISANNS.MAKICH..JONATHAN
I.
MARKBRIAN
T.
MARKLEYMICHAELA.SHERMANDARRENSILVERHOWARDG.SLOANESUSANNAM.SUH1990KSTREET,N.W.WASHINGTON,DC20006-1181(202)862-8900FAX:(202)862-8958GERARDM.MEISTRELLANTHONYK.TAMAWILLIAM..J.MILLER..JONATHAND.THIERATHYA.MOBILIA..JOHNA.TRIPODORONOAHB.NEWITZGLENN..J.WALDRIP,..JR.MICHAEL..J.OHLERMICHAELB.WEISSLAIKATZTHOMAS..J.KAVALERBRIANS.KELLEHERDAVIDN.KELLEYCHERIER.KISER'EDWARDP.KRUGMANDAVIDR.OWENS.PENNYWINDLECOREYWRIGHTDANIEL..J.ZUBKOFFADAMZUROFSKYAUGUSTINEHOUSE6AAUSTINFRIARSLONDON,ENGLANDEC2N2HA(011)44.20.7920.9800FAX:(OIl)44.20.7920.9825..JOHNPAPACHRISTOSLUISR.PENALVERDEANRINGEL..JAMESROBINSONTHORNROSENTHALBARTFRIEDMANCIROA.GAMBONI..JOANMURTAGHFRANKEL..JOELKURTZBERG..JONATHAN
J.
FRANKELALiZAR.LEVINEJONATHANA.SCHAFFZIN
*AOMITTEDINDCONLY
TAMMY
L.
ROY..JOELH.LEVITINGEOFFREYE.LIEBMANNWRITER'SDIRECTNUMBER..JOHNSCHUSTER
(212)701-3621November7,2011ChairmanLamarSmithRankingMemberJohnConyersCommitteeontheJudiciaryUnitedStatesHouseofRepresentatives2138RayburnHouseOfficeBuildingWashington,D.C.20515Re:StopOnlinePiracyActDearChairmanSmithandRankingMemberConyers:IwritewithregardtotheStopOnlinePiracyAct(H.R.3261),whichiscurrentlyun-derconsiderationbythisCommittee.
1
IrepresenttheDirectorsGuildofAmerica,theAmericanFederationofTelevisionandRadioArtists,theScreenActorsGuild,theInternationalAllianceofTheatricalandStageEmployees,andtheMotionPictureAssociation.IwritetoyouattheirrequesttooffermyviewthatthislegislationisconsistentwiththeFirstAmendmentandtosetforththebasisforthatconclusion.
IhavepreviouslywrittenletterstotheSenateJudiciaryCommitteeregardingtheProtectIPAct,onMay24,2011,andtheCombatingOnlineInfringementandCounterfeitsAct(COrCA),whichwasreportedoutoftheJudiciaryCommitteeduringthe11lthCongress(S.3804(ReportedinSenate)).
 
CAHILLGORDON
&
REINDELLLP
-2-
In
thisletter,IwillsummarizetheprovisionsofthestatutebrieflyandthenturntoitsconstitutionalityundertheFirstAmendment.Ithinkituseful,however,tobeginwithsomeobserva-tionsaboutcopyrightlawandtheFirstAmendmentintheageoftheInternet.Istartwithwhatshouldnotbecontroversial.TheInternetisoneofthegreatesttoolsoffreedominthehistoryoftheworld.Thatiswhy,asSecretaryofStateClintonhasobserved,thereisan"urgentneed"toprotectfreedomofexpressionontheInternetthroughouttheworld.Atthesametime,however,shepointedoutthat"allsocietiesrecognizethatfreedomofexpressionhasitslimits,"observingspecificallythatthosewhousetheInternetto"distributestolenintellectualprop-ertycannotdivorcetheironlineactionsfromtheirrealworldidentities"andthatourabilityto"safe-guardbillionsofdollarsinintellectualproperty[is]atstakeifwecannotrelyonthesecurityofourinformationnetworks."Itisnoanswertothischallengetotreatloosemetaphors-theInternetas"theWildWest,"forexample-assubstitutesforseriouslegalanalysis.
It
isonethingtosaythattheInternetmustbefree;itissomethingelsetosaythatitmustbelawless.EventheWildWesthadsheriffs,andeventhosewhousetheInternetmustobeydulyadoptedlaws.ItisthusnosurprisethatlibellawappliestomaterialthatappearsontheInternet.
Mi-
lum
v,
Banks,
642S.E.2d892(Ga.Ct.App.2007)(holdingthatdefendantpublishedlibelousstate-mentspostingthemonhiswebsite)
cert.denied
(June4,2007).Orthatlibelprecedentsregard-ingprintinginformationonpaperaregivencomparablemeaningastoinformationpostedonline.
Nationwide
tu.
WeeklyAdministration,Inc.
v.
BelaCorp.,
512F.3d137(5thCir.2007)(holdingthatthe"singlepublicationrule"forthestatuteoflimitationsinlibelsuitsappliestoInternetpublica-tion).Orthatprinciplesofprivacylawareappliedtopersonalinformationpostedonlinewiththesameanimatingprinciplesthatapplyinmoretraditionalmedia.
Yath
v.
FairviewClinics,N.P.,767
N.W.2d34(Minn.Ct.Ap.2009)(holdingthatpostinginformationfromapatient'smedicalfileonasocialnetworkingwebsiteconstitutes"publicity"elementofinvasionofprivacy);
Benz
v.
Wash-ingtonNewspaperPublishingCo.,
2006\VL2844896
CD.D.C.
Sept.29,2006)(holdingthatfalseinformationpostedonindependentwebsitesprovidedreasonableclaimfordefamation,invasionprivacyandfalselightagainstprivatepartydefendant,inadditiontoclaimsregardingpublicationofrelatedinformationbyanewspaper).Copyrightlawisnodifferent.
It
isnotdisputablethat"[ajllexistingcopyrightprotec-tionsareapplicabletotheInternet."EdwardH.Rosenthal,
J.D.SalingerandOtherReflectionsonFairUse,
1003PU/Pat35,42(2010).
SeeVideoPipeline,
Inc.
v.
BuenaVistaHomeEntertainment,Inc.,
342F.3d191(3dCir.2003)(upholdingpreliminaryinjunctionagainstwebsitecompilingvideoclipsofcopyrightedmoviesforcommercialuse);
UMGRecordings,Inc.
v.
Stewart,
461Supp.837(S
.D.
ill.2006)(finding
primafacie
caseofliabilityinsupportofdefaultjudgmentagainstIn-ternetuserwhoreproducedanddistributedcopyrightedaudiorecordingsonline).Theseizureprovisionsofcopyrightlawsareappliedtoseizeandstoptheuseofonlinepropertytofacili-tateinfringement,suchasdomainnames,justasofflinepropertycanbeseizedtostopitsusetofa-cilitateinfringement.
UnitedStates
v.
FollowingDomainNames:TVShack.netetal.,
2010WL
 
CAHILLGORDON
&
REINDELLLP
2666284(S.D.N.Y.June29,2010)(treatingdomainnameshostinginfringingvideosasforfeitablepropertyunder18U.S.C.
§§
2323(a)andorderingtheirseizure,lockingdomainnamesatregistrylevel,replacingregistrarinformationtoidentifythegovernmentasthedomainnames'owner,andcompellingtheregistrytoroutetraffictothedomainnamestoagovernmentIPaddressnotifyingthepublicthatthedomainnamewasseized).WhileCongresshascreatedsafeharborstoaccommodatetheinventionofonlineserviceproviders,ithasclearlydeclinedto"simplyrewritecopyrightlawfortheon-lineworld."Copyrightclaimsonlinearethus"generallyevaluatedjustastheywouldbeinthenon-onlineworld."
Ellison
v.
Robertson,
357F.3d1072(9thCir.2004)(internalquotationsomitted).CopyrightlawhasexistedthroughoutourNation'shistory.TheConstitutionitselfauthorizesCongresstoadoptcopyrightlezislation(Art.
I.
Sec.8.Clause8)andthefirstsuchlezisla-
-.LL"'-.._""-",./.....----
0
tionwasenactedin1790,ayearbeforetheFirstAmendmentwasapprovedbyCongress.Ch.15,1Stat.124(1790)(repealed).Fromthestart,injunctionswereoneformofreliefaccordedtovictimsofcopyrightinfringement.(Courtsappliedthe1790Act,anditslateramendments,tograntinjunc-tions"accordingtoprinciplesofequity."ActofFeb.3,1831,ch.16,4Stat.at438(1831)(repealed1870)(citedinKristinaRosette,
"BacktotheFuture:HowFederalCourtsCreateaFederalCom-monLawCopyrightThroughPermanentInjunctionsProtectingFutureWorks,"
2J.Intell.Prop.L.325,340(1994)).However,sinceinjunctionsinnon-copyrightcaseshavefrequentlybeenheldtobeunconstitutionalpriorrestraintsonspeech,
Near
v.
Minnesota,
283U.S.697(1931);
NewYorkTimesCo.
v.
UnitedStates,
403U.S.713(1971),andforotherreasons,thesubjecthasarisenastotheapplication,ifany,oftheFirstAmendmenttocopyrightprinciples.
Seegenerally,
MelvilleB.Nimmer
&
DavidNimmer,NimmeronCopyright
§
19(2010).Theissueofwhetherand,ifso,howcertainelementsoftheCopyrightActshouldbereadtoaccommodatevariousFirstAmendmentinterestsremainsopen.Thelawcouldhardlybeclearer,however,thatinjunctionsarealongstanding,constitutionallysanctionedwaytoremedyand
preventcopyrightviolations.
Indeed,
thatpremise
was
explicitcriticalconcurringopinionin
theSupremeCourt'smostfamouspriorrestraintcase,assessingpublicationofthePentagonPapers,whichnotedthat"noonedeniesthatanewspapercanproperlybeenjoinedfrompublishingthecop-yrightedworksofanother."
NewYorkTimesCo.,
403U.S.at1n.1(White,J.andStewart,J.,concurring).Currenttreatisesreflectthisjudicialconsensus."[C]ourtshavefoundnoconstitutionalobstacletoenjoining,pursuanttofederallegislativemandate,theunlawfuluseofaregisteredtrade-markorcopyright."FloydAbrams
&
GailJohnston,
CommunicationsLawintheDigitalAge2010:PriorRestraints,
1026PLIJPat247,261(2010);JamesL.Oakes,
CopyrightsandCopyremedies:UnfairUseandInjunctions,
38J.CopyrightSoc'y63,71(1990)("Apiratedorcopiededition,re-cord,movie,songorotherwork...criesoutforaninjunction").TheSupremeCourt'smostdetailedtreatmentoftheinterrelationshipbetweentheFirstAmendmentandcopyright,theseminalcaseof
Harper
&
Publishers,Inc.
v.
NationEn-terpr.,
471U.S.539,560(1985),stressedthatfarfromconflictingwiththeFirstAmendment,theCopyrightActactuallyfurtherstheveryinterestswhichFirstAmendmentprotects."First
H~UUH"_H
protections,"theCourtnoted,are"alreadyintheCopyrightAct'sdistinctions

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