Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Copyright Law - D.C. Circuit: Copyright Royalty Judges Held Unconstitutional

Copyright Royalty Judges, Appointments Clause of U.S. Constitution, Copyright Rate-Setting, Library of Congress
Intercollegiate Broadcasting System, Inc. v. Copyright Royalty Board, 684 F.3d 1332 (D.C. Circuit July 6, 2012 rehearing en banc denied August 28, 2012).  Judicial review of Copyright Royalty Judges found to be unconstitutional because it impermissibly gave federal courts legislative powers in violation of Appointments Clause of U.S. Constitution.  The D.C. Circuit eliminated any restrictions on the Librarian of Congress in removing Copyright Royalty Judges as unconstitutional.   With these restrictions gone, Copyright Royalty Judges are properly “inferior officers” of the Library of Congress, subject to the Librarian’s supervision.  Accordingly, judicial review of determinations once constitutional infirmity is cured would be appropriate.  The D.C. Circuit found that, despite past references to the Library of Congress as a “congressional agency,” the Library of Congress is a department of the Executive Branch and thus had the power to appoint and remove Copyright Royalty Judges.  The D.C. Circuit vacated the royalty rate determination challenged by appellant in and remanded for a new finding.
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