Is The Copyright Royalty Board Unconstitutional?

from the this-sounds-familiar... dept

Last month, we wrote about a Constitutional challenge to the patent appeals board. It was based on the theory that the Constitution clearly says that certain appointments can only be made by the President, the courts or the heads of a department. A legal change a few years back let the USPTO director appoint judges to the patent appeals board -- but the Patent Office director is not the head of a department. He reports to the Commerce Secretary who should be nominating the judges -- thus suggesting that all of the appointments over the last few years have been unconstitutional.

Of course, it didn't take long for folks to recognize that the same question may apply well beyond the patent appeals board. In fact, there's a court case challenging whether the current Copyright Royalty Board is constitutional as well. While the article doesn't go into details, it sounds like it's an identical issue. The CRB members are appointed by the Librarian of Congress rather than the President or the head of a department. This particular lawsuit has been filed by an organization that was hoping to compete with SoundExchange for collecting and distributing royalties. The CRB rejected the request. Given how many problems SoundExchange has had in carrying out its charter, it would seem like competition is a pretty good idea. However, rather than fighting that decision specifically, the company recognizes this same constitutional question. Funny how the boards involved in both copyrights and patents may be unconstitutional for the same basic reason.
Hide this

Thank you for reading this Techdirt post. With so many things competing for everyone’s attention these days, we really appreciate you giving us your time. We work hard every day to put quality content out there for our community.

Techdirt is one of the few remaining truly independent media outlets. We do not have a giant corporation behind us, and we rely heavily on our community to support us, in an age when advertisers are increasingly uninterested in sponsoring small, independent sites — especially a site like ours that is unwilling to pull punches in its reporting and analysis.

While other websites have resorted to paywalls, registration requirements, and increasingly annoying/intrusive advertising, we have always kept Techdirt open and available to anyone. But in order to continue doing so, we need your support. We offer a variety of ways for our readers to support us, from direct donations to special subscriptions and cool merchandise — and every little bit helps. Thank you.

–The Techdirt Team

Filed Under: appointments, constitution, copyright royalty board, copyrights
Companies: soundexchange

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread

  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 May 2008 @ 9:24am

    Re: Re: Re: Patent Insight

    What if the constitution is wrong?

    Oh sure, then you say, well what is to keep us from sliding into catastrophe, without the constitution as a bulwark?

    Well, what is keeping us from sliding into catastrophe anyway? The hard work and forbearance of many, many people, every day, and their love for this country.. not the constitution.

    But if it is reverenace for that old document that fuels your passion, then use it. Just know how it is being used.

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter

Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Make this the First Word or Last Word. No thanks. (get credits or sign in to see balance)    
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Discord

Introducing the new Techdirt Insider Chat, now hosted on Discord. If you are an Insider with a membership that includes the chat feature and have not yet been invited to join us on Discord, please reach out here.

Recent Stories

This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies. For more information, see our privacy policy. Got it

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.