Tuesday, June 09, 2009

The new justice, same as the old justice

While Sonia Sotomayor's proposed elevation to the US Supreme Court is refreshing for a few reasons, it's unlikely to herald much of a new attitude in copyright cases. Web Pro News' Jason Lee Miller points out what Ms Sotomayor's previous life included:

Those currently making, prosecuting, and interpreting intellectual property laws have a clear historical record of siding with Big Content. Sotomayor’s most notable decision as a judge regarding the digital copyright issue involved freelance writers versus Big Content publishers like the New York Times, Sports Illustrated, and Newsday. Freelance writers were peeved that their work, which was contracted for one-time print publishing, was being stored in online databases for use on publication websites.

Sotomayor sided with Big Content by interpreting the law in their favor. An appeals court would later overturn her decision, saying that the publications needed to negotiate for digital rights. The appellate decision was upheld by the Supreme Court. It might be unfair to say Sotomayor would bring a pro-Big Content viewpoint to the Supreme Court based on her anti-counterfeit work for Fendi, but her judicial history might suggest otherwise.

It's another sign that, while Obama and his campaign might have embraced the power of the internet to challenge the status quo, now he's in The White House, he's much more interested in shoring up that quo.

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