From Chris Meadows via TeleRead:
Yesterday, the Supreme Court lost one of its most conservative judges at one of the most interesting possible times. There are plenty of articles going around about what this will mean for progressive cases in general, but I’d like to take a quick look at Scalia’s legacy through cases that have had an impact on e-books and related areas. After that, I’ll have some thoughts on what his departure could mean for the two big e-book-related cases currently seeking to be heard by the Supreme Court—USA v. Apple and Authors Guild v. Google.
Scalia was a user of some e-reading technology; in 2010, we noted that he owned an iPad. A quick review of some of the court’s major copyright cases shows that Scalia’s legacy is actually a mixed one, at least insofar as copyright, fair use, and e-books are concerned. In 1994, he joined with all the other justices in the Supreme Court’s last major fair use decision—Campbell v. Acuff-Rose Music, Inc., which concluded that commercial parodies can be fair use and enshrined the four-factor fair use test currently used in case law. That four-factor test is, of course, at the center of the current controversy over the Google Books decision which the Authors Guild hopes to convince the Supreme Court to hear. The case has also been a popular citation in discussions concerning fan fiction and other music parody matters.
In 2001’s New York Times Co. vs. Tasini, Scalia held with the majority, that freelance writers had copyright privileges over works of theirs that were subsequently included in a database without permission or compensation.
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In Kirtsaeng v. Wiley, another important first-sale doctrine case, Scalia was one of the dissenters who felt that exchange student Kirtsaeng should not have the right to reverse-import cheap foreign editions of college textbooks. And in American Broadcasting Cos. Inc. v. Aereo, Inc., in which Aereo was ruled to be infringing the copyright of the broadcasters whose content it rebroadcast, Scalia wrote the dissent, in which he compared Aereo to the VCR and felt that deciding if new technologies merited modification of the law should be Congress’s job rather than the Court.
It’s perhaps a little surprising, but it seems that Scalia was often on the same side as copyright reformers—helping to define fair use, insisting trademark not be permitted to trump the public domain, and feeling Aereo should have been permitted to continue.
Link to the rest at TeleRead