Eldred v. Ashcroft
October 9, 2002 (01-618)
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Case Summary
The Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998 (CTEA) extends the terms of copyrights for 20 years and applies retroactively. As a result, the CTEA now coincides with the terms of copyrights governed by the European Union. The plaintiffs, various corporations and non-profit organizations in the business of sharing or selling books and music, filed suit seeking a declaration that the CTEA is unconstitutional as a violation of the First Amendment and the Copyright Clause of Article I, 8 which authorizes Congress: "To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries." The D.C. Circuit held that copyrights are categorically immune from First Amendment challenge and that plaintiffs lack any cognizable First Amendment right to exploit the copyrighted works of others. The D.C. Circuit further held that Congress may retroactively extend copyright terms without violating the Copyright Clause. The lower court opinion is available at 255 F.3d 849.

To see the opinion of the lower court, click here.


PREDICTED OUTCOME ACTUAL
OUTCOME
Forecasting
Model
Expert
One
Expert
Two
Expert
Three
6-3 to Affirm 5-4 to Reverse 6-3 to Reverse n/a 7-2 to Affirm
VOTING TO REVERSE
Stevens
Souter
Ginsburg
O'Connor
Scalia
Kennedy
Thomas
Ginsburg
Stevens
O'Connor
Scalia
Kennedy
Souter
Thomas
Stevens
Breyer
VOTING TO AFFIRM
Rehnquist
O'Connor
Scalia
Kennedy
Thomas
Breyer
Rehnquist
Stevens
Souter
Breyer
Rehnquist
Ginsburg
Breyer
Rehnquist
O'Connor
Scalia
Kennedy
Souter
Thomas
Ginsburg

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