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Congress May Protect Beastie Boys from Bootleggers
Description Appeals court upheld the constitutionality of a statute Congress passed based on an international treaty that calls for international protection of intellectual property, including protection for recording artists against bootleg recordings made at live performances.
Topic International Law
Key Words WPO, Intellectual Property, Bootlegging
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts Moghadam was convicted of violating the 1994 federal statute that makes it a criminal offense to bootleg musical performances. Moghadam recorded live performances by the Beastie Boys and others, then produced and sold CDs. The statute arose from the Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property (TRIPs), a part of the World Trade Organization agreements. Moghadam admitted to making the CDs, but claimed the law was unconstitutional and appealed his conviction.
Decision Affirmed. The statute is constitutional under the Commerce Clause powers of Congress. The anti-bootlegging statute had a sufficient connection to interstate and international commerce to fall within the legislative authority of Congress. The statute was enacted based on a treaty with other nations, "called for by the World Trade Organization, whose purpose was to ensure uniform recognition and treatment of intellectual property in international commerce."
Citation U.S. v. Moghadam, 175 F.3d 1269 (11th Cir., 1999)

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