IBS wants Supreme Court to take up issue of CRB appointments

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Issue Date: 
Feb 13 2013 - 12:25pm

From Issue:

Intercollegiate Broadcasting System Inc. (IBS) late last month filed a "petition for writ of certiorari" with the U.S. Supreme Court, arguing it should have been Congress, and not an appeals court, that restructured the law to make CRB judges' appointments constitutional.

The Copyright Royalty Board is the panel of judges that (among other duties) determines the industry "statutory" royalty rate webcasters must pay the owners of copyright sound recordings to peform them publicly.

As news source Law360 reports, IBS is accusing the D.C. Circuit of overstepping its authority when it revised the law to fix issues of the constitutionality of the CRB.

The appeals court in July ruled the Librarian of Congress' appointment of CRB judges violated the U.S. Constitution's appointments clause (see RAIN here), as the law required the judges to be appointed by the president with Senate confirmation. To fix that, the court simply changed language in the law (the Copyright Royalty and Distribution Reform Act) to make CRB judges "inferior officers," which don't require presidential appointment, thus making the Librarian's appointment of the judges constitutional.

IBS, which represents educational and noncommerical broadcasters and webcasters, says the court overstepped its authority by changing the law. The petition also asks the Supreme Court to determine if the newly-revised law is itself constitutional.

Read more in Law360 here.

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