The news from the Eldred hearing is starting to trickle in. It appears from some of the transcripts that the justices gave Lessig a hard time, and the predictions of Eldred losing the case but with a strong minority opinion coming from the court look very likely.
The process has taught me a few things about the Supreme Court I didn’t know. I had no idea you could not take notes or bring pads of paper and pens into the court proceedings. That the highest court in the land keeps transcripts on a 2 week delay, and audio unavailable until the end of the term seems weird. It is afterall, the highest form of peoples’ court, no? I had previously assumed Supreme Court cases were like normal trials, but instead they’re mostly exchanges of briefs and responses that take place over many months. The oral arguments are only limited to an hour, and seem to almost be a formality to cap off the end of a long case. The decisions will still be months away, to boot.
The majority of news stories leading up to and including news from today’s day in court are largely focused on the potential loss of income that big publishers like Disney and Viacom could face. They ignore the trademark issues, and also make Eric Eldred sound like a crackpot for posting public domain books online. There are a couple standout articles that go beyond the basics. “Do we really need copyright?” examines the issues from the framers of the consitution view, and the semi-related road trip report from the Bookmobile is a great read. Declean McCullagh posted some photos from the event as well.