Letter to the International Trade Commission
Letter to the International Trade Commission
Letter to the International Trade Commission

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    The Honorable Meredith M. Broadbent
    Chairman, United States International Trade Commission
    500 E Street SW
    Washington, DC 20436

    Dear Chairman Broadbent:

    We are 28 organizations, associations, and scholars of law, policy and economics, representing the public interest in the areas of technology, intellectual property, and consumer policy. We write regarding the Commission’s decision of April 9, 2014, in the investigation 337-TA-833, In re Certain Digital Models, and in particular with regard to the decision of the Commission that transmissions of digital data constituted “importation…of articles” over which the Commission could maintain authority in a § 337 investigation.

    Briefly, we urge the Commission to reconsider, for future investigations, its decision that pure data transmissions are within the ambit of the Commission’s powers. The decision has enormous ramifications, opening the door to Internet content blocking efforts rejected by Congress and the public. But the Commission took this monumental step not after public debate or Congressional review, but rather in the context of a single, idiosyncratic patent case. And recent external developments not known to the Commission at the time of Certain Digital Models further demonstrate unintended but troubling possibilities that may result from the decision.

    Respectfully submitted by:

    American Civil Liberties Union
    American Library Association
    Association of College and Research Libraries
    Association of Research Libraries
    Center for Democracy and Technology
    Computer and Communications Industry Association
    Electronic Frontier Foundation
    Engine Advocacy
    Fight for the Future
    Free Press
    Internet Archive
    Internet Infrastructure Coalition (I2Coalition)
    New America’s Open Technology Institute
    Public Knowledge
    R Street Institute

    Brandon Butler
    Practitioner in Residence, Glushko-Samuelson Intellectual Property Clinic, American University Washington College of Law

    Sean Flynn
    Associate Director, Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property, American University Washington College of Law

    Eric Goldman
    Professor of Law, Co-Director of the High Tech Law Institute, Santa Clara University School of Law

    Margot Kaminski
    Assistant Professor, The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law; Affiliated Fellow, Yale Information Society Project

    Mark A. Lemley
    William H. Neukom Professor, Stanford Law School; Director, Stanford Program in Law, Science, and Technology; Senior Fellow, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research

    Paul Ohm
    Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Associate Professor of Law, University of Colorado Law School

    Lucas S. Osborn
    Associate Professor of Law, Campbell University School of Law

    Blake Reid
    Assistant Clinical Professor, University of Colorado Law School

    Christopher Jon Sprigman
    Professor of Law, Co-Director, Engelberg Center on Innovation Law and Policy, New York University School of Law

    Hannibal Travis
    Professor of Law, Florida International University College of Law

    Samuel E. Trosow
    Associate Professor, Faculty of Law and Faculty of Information & Media Studies, University of Western Ontario

    Rebecca Tushnet
    Professor of Law, Georgetown University Law Center