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Does the First Amendment provide a shield against Copyright infringement claims?

Posted by Steve Vondran | Nov 28, 2019 | 0 Comments

Attorney Steve® Copyright Infringement Essentials

SF copyright defense lawyer

Can the First Amendment Provide Safe Harbor against claims of infringement?

Probably not.  Here is one case from New York federal court which discussed this issue in the context of a Motion to Quash a Subpoena in a Malibu Media case (Case 2:15-cv-03504-JFB-SIL Document 36 Filed 08/23/16) - Malibu Media, LLC v. John Does 1-11, No. 12 Civ. 3810(ER), 2013 WL 3732839, at *5 (S.D.N.Y. July 16, 2013):

"The Supreme Court has “recognized that the First Amendment protects anonymous speech.” Sony Music Entm't Inc. v. Does 1-40, 326 F. Supp. 2d 556, 562 (S.D.N.Y. 2004) (citing Buckley v. Am. Constitutional Law Found., Inc., 525 U.S. 182, 200, 119 S. Ct. 636, 646 (1999)).

Moreover, “[i]t is well-settled that the First Amendment's protection extends to the Internet.” Id. (citing Reno v. Am. Civil Liberties Union, 521 U.S. 844, 870, 117 S. Ct. 2329, 2344 (1997)).

Nevertheless, “[t]he First Amendment . . . does not protect copyright infringement, and the Supreme Court . . . has rejected First Amendment challenges to copyright infringement actions.” Id. (citing Harper & Row Publishers, Inc. v. Nation Enters., 471 U.S. 539, 555-56, 105 S. Ct. 2218, 2228 (1985)); see also Arista Records, LLC v. Doe 3, 604 F.3d 110, 118 (2d Cir. 2010) (“The First Amendment does not . . . provide a license for copyright infringement.”); Malibu Media, LLC v. John Does 1-11, No. 12 Civ. 3810, 2013 WL 3732839, at *5 (S.D.N.Y. July 16, 2013) (“Courts in this District have recognized that internet users have a limited First Amendment privacy interest in anonymous internet usage, including the use of peer-to-peer file-sharing networks, but this interest does not protect those who use their anonymity to infringe the copyrights of others.”)." 

Contact a California Copyright Infringement Lawyer

If you are facing a copyright infringement action including cases involving Strike 3 Holdings, Malibu Media, Business Software Alliance, SIIA, Vero Software, CNC, Siemens, Autodesk, IBM, Joe Hand Promotions, G&G Closed Circuit Events, Zuffa, L.A. Gem & Jewelry, J&J Sports Production or Donahue Fitzgerald, call us to discuss.  We can be reached at (877) 276-5084.  We are a boutique copyright infringement firm with offices in San Diego, Santa Monica, Newport Beach, San Francisco, and Phoenix, Arizona.

About the Author

Steve Vondran

Thank you for viewing our blogs, videos and podcasts. As noted, all information on this website is Attorney Advertising. Decisions to hire an attorney should never be based on advertising alone. Any past results discussed herein do not guarantee or predict any future results. All blogs are written by Steve Vondran, Esq. unless otherwise indicated. Our firm handles a wide variety of intellectual property and entertainment law cases from music and video law, Youtube disputes, DMCA litigation, copyright infringement cases involving software licensing disputes (ex. BSA, SIIA, Siemens, Autodesk, Vero, CNC, VB Conversion and others), torrent internet file-sharing (Strike 3 and Malibu Media), California right of publicity, TV Signal Piracy, and many other types of IP, piracy, technology, and social media disputes. Call us at (877) 276-5084. AZ Bar Lic. #025911 CA. Bar Lic. #232337


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