Sunday, October 06, 2002

Schlaflys in the news. Phyllis was on MSNBC/Donahue and is cited in Newsweek's Glitterati vs. Geeks. She is on the side of the Geeks in trying to limit copyrights in a current case before the US Supreme Court. Newsweek says, "Lessig knows that Eldred v. Ashcroft is the best chance to turn the tide in Silicon Valley’s war against Hollywood—a conflict where Hollywood has won every round so far."

Andy is helping AAPS defend Medicare physicians from vindictive prosecutions.

Ellen is a big college field hockey and lacrosse star. That's her picture on the right.

Gumma asks me to point out the difference between Eagle Forum's position on copyright extension, and Lessig's. Eagle Forum argued that the copyright clause in the US Constitution says:
To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;

and Congressional copyright laws should promote progress. There was an earlier DC Circuit decision (called Schnapper) that held that "Congress need not 'require that each copyrighted work be shown to promote the useful arts.' " Eagle Forum adopted a narrow reading of that decision, and persuaded one judge on the 3-judge DC Circuit panel. In other words, the laws enabling copyrights have to promote progress, but not every single copyrighted work has to promote progress.

Lessig was supposed to be on the same side, but he expressly acknowledged "that the preamble of the Copyright Clause is not a substantive limit on Congress' legislative power." At oral argument, he was given a second chance to support the Eagle Forum brief, but he refused. The final DC Circuit opinion was 2-1 in favor of upholding copyright extension, with one judge agreeing with Eagle Forum and two judges refusing to address the issue because Eldred's main attorney, Lessig, had disavowed the argument. Lessig ended up not convincing anyone of anything. Let's hope he does better in oral argument before the US Supreme Court this week. He claims to now support the Eagle Forum position.

You can support the geeks and get a free bumper sticker: FREE THE MOUSE.

Andy writes:

Your analysis of Lessig's errors is correct and to-the-point, but limited. The real issue is this: does Lessig oppose the copyright bill because he thinks government can do better, or because he thinks government overstepped limitations on its power? Eagle Forum says the latter, Lessig seems to be pursuing the former. Lessig apparently wants better government, not less government.

Only way he can win is if Eagle Forum persuades Thomas, who pulls in Scalia and Rehnquist, and are joined by some lefties like Stevens or Ginsburg. This case is unwinnable by pleading with the so-called middle, yet that is what Lessig does.

FYI, check out this professor at Texas Tech who teaches key premed programs, and refuses to recommend anyone who won't declare that he believes in evolution.

That is amazing. I had never heard of a science prof who maintained some sort of ideological litmus test for advancing to higher education.

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