March 12, 2003

Eldred rehearing petition, and principle

An Eldred rehearing petition was filed by Lawrence Lessig. (n.b. see notes from Donna Wentworth / Copyfight). This was an attempt to get the Supreme Court to rehear the Eldred case, the challenge to copyright extensions. The Supreme Court let the extensions stand. The rehearing petition was denied, and it seems those petitions aren't granted in practice. I noted the petition starts off:

The currency of this Court is principle. ...

When I read that, I couldn't help thinking of this classic Bloom County comic strip (it's in the first book, "Loose Tails"):

Bedfellow: And as your Senator ... I'm tickled to be here today, chatting with all of you ... um ... future voters ... yessir ...

Bedfellow: Now ... Can any of you little nits tell me which great principle our political system is based upon?
Milo: "Money talks".

Bedfellow: HMPH ... Yes, well, the other great principle ...

Bedfellow: Watch your tongue, boy, or somebody might CUT IT OFF.
Teacher: Milo ...

As I wrote much earlier in a posting Trying to think like a conservative Supreme Court justice on copyright , the Lopez case was about guns, a topic which stirs a certain passion in many conservatives, which copyright cannot match.

And the Morrison case was about "gender-motivated violence".

So as I said before:
"Bluntly, the losers from those decisions were going to be gun-control advocates in the former, and violence-against-women activists in the latter. Here, the biggest loser would be Disney. Maybe that's an overly political view. But it's something to think about."

Yes, it's a cynical view. No doubt some would upbraid me for having less than total respect for the principled operation of the judiciary. But asking the question "What outcome is more beneficial in terms of right-wing politics?" seems, empirically, to be more predictive. That is, in a conflict between the principle of limiting Congressional powers, versus hugely offending big business interests, the business interests win. That may be a "Critical Legal Studies" type analysis, but it also seems to be an accurate one.

By Seth Finkelstein | posted in copyblight | on March 12, 2003 07:56 AM (Infothought permalink) | Followups
Seth Finkelstein's Infothought blog (Wikipedia, Google, censorware, and an inside view of net-politics) - Syndicate site (subscribe, RSS)

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