9th Circuit rejects copyright law challenge

Simply amazing. The 9th Circuit ruled against Kahle and says that no constitutional review of the Copyright Act of 1976 is necessary.

From 1790 until 1976, to copyright a work you would have to register your work, print copies with a copyright notice, potentially renew your copyright later, etc. You had to take action, in a fairly clear manner, to have a work copyrighted (an opt-in system).

After the 1976 Act, all works are copyrighted, without registration, without notice, without renewal. Protection is automatic. You must take action, but not very clearly laid out, in order to renounce your copyright and give your work to the public domain (an opt-out system).

For the court to rule that this fundamental change doesn’t even deserve review for constitutionality? Just plain weird.

To me, that seems just the same as if Congress had said, “From now on, plaintiffs are guilty until proven innocent. The burden is no longer on the prosecution to prove you did it, but upon you to prove you didn’t.” Someone brings suit, arguing that it should be reviewed for constitutionality and the court says, “Sure Congress can do that, they didn’t take away your right to a fair trial. It’s still staying in the standard court system. It’s not like they’re deporting you to secret, foreign prisons with no trial. There’s really nothing here to review.”

Well, anyway, here’s the info at the Stanford CyberLaw.