District Judge Maxine M. Chesney of the Northern District of California has granted the government’s motion to dismiss Kahle v. Ashcroft just weeks before the motion was set for oral argument. My previous posts on the case and related issues are here.
This is a personal disappointment for me, since I spent much of the summer working on the case at the Center for Internet and Society.
The court’s order is not yet posted on the Center’s web site, likely due to the Thanksgiving holiday. I grabbed it from PACER, though, and you can download a PDF of the decision here.
The Court doesn’t say anything particularly surprising. Chesney sees all challenges to CTEA foreclosed by Eldred, and chooses to apply rational basis review to challenges to all other copyright statutes. Under Chesney’s simple reasoning, any law that creates more or stronger copyrights is rationally related to the progress of science and automatically passes constitutional muster. Because all of the challenged statutes grant more rights to copyright holders, Chesney reasons, they must all be immune to further constitutional scrutiny.
Chesney is wrong, and I wish Chris Sprigman, Larry Lessig, and the rest of the Kahle team luck in their appeal to the Ninth Circuit.