Book People Archive

Anti-Bootlegging Statute Ruled Unconstitutional


Anti-Bootlegging Statute Ruled Unconstitutional
Mark Hamblett
New York Law Journal

A federal law that prohibits the unauthorized recordings of live 
concerts was ruled unconstitutional last week by a federal judge in New 

Southern District Judge Harold Baer Jr. found that the anti-bootlegging 
statute passed in 1994 exceeded Congress' authority under the Copyright 
Clause to protect the works of artists for a limited time.
Baer noted that the U.S. Supreme Court has made it clear that the 
Copyright Clause is "both a grant of power and a limitation."

"Because the anti-bootlegging statute provides seemingly perpetual 
protection for unfixed musical performances, it runs doubly afoul of 
Congress' authority to regulate under the Copyright Clause," he said.

Baer said the concept of "writings" in the clause "has expanded over 
time," but it has "never moved into the realm of unfixed works," such as 
live performances.