Textualism and the Equity of the Copyright Act: Reflections Inspired by American Broadcasting Companies, Inc. v. Aereo, Inc.
On April 22, 2014 the Supreme Court will hear argument in American Broadcasting Companies, Inc. v. Aereo, Inc., a case involving such technological boondogglery, such Rube Goldbergian skullduggery, such naked and unapologetic circumvention of the perceived purposes and aims of the Copyright Act and its enactors, that it will strike textualism at its very core. In doing so, however, Aereo offers an occasion for deeper reflection on how we should understand the Copyright Act. Is there space for equity in the Copyright Act? The answer is an emphatic yes. But that equity is not to be found in judicially fashioned equities, spun from abstract incantations of the Act’s purposes or values. The answer is in its text.