Take Two for October 29, 2012

Supreme Court defies Hurricane Sandy, hears cases on copyright law and wiretapping

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The U.S. Supreme Court took on a number of high-profile cases this term, including the decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act.

Hurricane Sandy has virtually shut down DC. Federal government offices, schools, the Metro - all closed.
 
But you know where it's business as usual? The Supreme Court.
 
This morning, the court heard oral arguments on government wiretapping of suspected terrorists and the case of a USC grad student accused of breaking copyright law.
 
First - the wiretapping case: A group of lawyers, human-rights activists and journalists in contact with potential surveillance targets argue they have the right to challenge the practice because they may be getting swept up in the surveillance, too.  
 
But the government counters that these lawyers and activists have no grounds to pursue lawsuits because they don't even know for sure if they're being monitored.
 
The other case justices heard this morning involved a Thai national named Supap Kirtsaeng and the publisher John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
 
Kirtsaeng came to the US to study at Cornell and USC, and to help pay for his tuition, he imported textbooks produced by John Wiley & Sons for the Thai market. The books were virtually identical to those sold in the US, but much cheaper.
 
In the US, we re-sell things all the time - at yard sales, ebay, Amazon. But John Wiley & Sons and other content makers like movie and music producers say they should be allowed to sell products for lower prices in poorer countries without worrying about the items being imported to the US for a profit. 
 
The justices will make decisions on these cases next year.
 
Just in case you're wondering, the Supreme Court doesn't plan to keep on defying Sandy. Tuesday's arguments have been moved to Thursday.
 
 
 



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