Alice in the Wonderland of US Courts

It all started with a ability that absorb belongs to the author. And that absorb agency the appropriate to publish. And that for the absorb to accept any meaning, all the accoutrement of the absorb accept to be allotment and bindle of the copyright, and accordingly accord to the author, too. And that all this taken calm agency that the columnist can broadcast his plan himself and does not charge to be abased on addition affair -- the third-party administrator -- to exercise his appropriate to chargeless speech, and to accumulation from his work.

This is not Iran, nor China, nor North Korea, nor Arab states. This is the United States -- the Acreage of the Free! You accept something on your mind? Say it! Annihilation comes in your way!

Well friend, you've got agitated abroad in your affectionate pride. It bound transpired than one, key apparatus of your copyright, the one that is dispensed by the US government, is accustomed not to you, the absorb owner, but to a affair that has no absorb to your plan whatsoever -- to the absolute third affair publishers you anticipation you could outflank in your activity over American rights to accent and property.

That apparatus is the archive of the Library of Congress in which all accessible books that the government deems advantageous are entered, and area they can be begin by the nation's libraries and bookstores by their subject. Attendance in this archive is the authorization to the boilerplate exchange of ideas, afterwards which your book will accept absolute boxy time accepting into libraries and bookstores, back no one will apperceive about it. Alone books from the bigger publishers books are accustomed in by the government -- indiscriminately. Castigation is, as indiscriminately, blocked.

Blocked politely, to be sure. As a mark of appropriate consideration, a "preassigned ascendancy number" can be accustomed to your book to actualization that the government is not actually mean. A nice gesture, perhaps, but not awfully helpful. Librarians and bookstore purchasers are not acceptable to hit on your book if they put in keywords for capacity that absorption them. "123456789" is abiding a admirable cord of characters, but will not bout keywords like "butterflies" or "terrorism" -- in fact, it will bout no chat at all.

Well, all things considered, your absorb isn't account abundant -- because it is not actually yours. But shouldn't it be? Isn't America the country of laws? And of courts that accomplish abiding the laws are obeyed? Even by the government, if it tries to do what the Bill of Rights forbids it to do?

So I went to court, filing Overview Books v. US, to get rid of this accurate instance of accomplice capitalism, claiming the abomination of government-sanctioned abolition of author's bookish acreage (which, for acknowledged purposes, is the aforementioned as government's demography of acreage that is, unless compensated, banned by the Fifth Amendment), and that the accomplished affair was patiently actionable because it constituted a government-sponsored abridgment of accent (for accent agency annihilation alone if addressed to an audience, and the author-ineligibility aphorism acutely abridges the book's audience) -- which is banned the government by the Aboriginal Amendment.

To my surprise, the government about banned to fight. There was no allusive altercation in aegis of this adjustment whatsoever -- just empty, counterfeit statements to the aftereffect that book's absence from the archive did not blemish its affairs in the marketplace. There was artlessly annihilation of actuality -- in fact, the government actually banned to action any allusive altercation "in the absorption of administrative economy," as their advocate put it. Back we presented huge bags of facts and law in abutment of our position, we knew as we were cat-and-mouse for adjudicator Lettow's assessment that we won.

Except that we didn't. He handed the achievement to the government.

How come? What happened?

Magic. Literally. As I was account adjudicator Lettow's decision, I could hardly accept my eyes. Facts in abutment of the government were there in affluence -- the facts that were never declared by the government itself, the facts which we saw for the aboriginal time, if it was too backward for us to abnegate them. Law was alluded to, too -- the law to which the government itself fabricated no advertence whatsoever, and to which it was too backward now to respond. It was administrative abracadabra -- facts, law, the absolute altercation actualization out of nowhere.

Well, not actually out of nowhere. Adjudicator Lettow allegedly absitively that it was not appropriate to accord us a achievement if there was no government's argument. The government should accept been accustomed a angry adventitious -- and so the judge, as a accurate gentlemen in aegis of an afflicted and abandoned party, invented it himself, appropriate in his decision. And he allegedly absitively that it was fair not to apprehend our acknowledgment to this altercation afore chief on the case. Apparently, he rather admired the government's altercation that he came up with, and anticipation that it was bulletproof no bulk how we replied to it (or, perhaps, he feared that it was so adopted that we would annihilate it in no time). Either way, there was no acumen whatsoever to acquiesce us to acknowledgment to it. So, belief his own altercation adjoin ours, and acting in the spirit of administrative impartiality, adjudicator Lettow of the Cloister of Federal Claims absitively that his one was better. He (and, of course, the government) won; we lost.

But the arrangement is fair -- there is an appeals process. You get not even one, but two opportunities to prove that you were wronged: at the cloister of appeals, and at the Supreme court. You are accustomed the accomplished of fifteen account in the former, and it is beneath no obligation to explain its reasoning; a simple "approved" will do -- as it did for us. Your affairs of answer yourself and of accepting clear assessment in the closing are far bigger -- if you can get there. For "many are called, but few are chosen". Ten thousand humans wish to be heard by the Supreme cloister anniversary year; but it can alone do so abundant plan -- about two hundred cases annually, or two percent of those submitted, to be added precise. No allowance is there for a little guy alone clamoring for Americans' chargeless accent and acreage rights; the Supreme cloister is for the bigger fish, and bigger issues.

But not all is lost. The case afore Adjudicator Lettow had two locations to its argument: the acreage and the chargeless speech. The adjudicator claimed that, his accepting carefully a acreage court, he had no administration to alpha his assay with the chargeless speech, or to appraise it independently. The way his cloister worked, he explained, was to aboriginal appraise the acreage aspect; and alone if he apparent that the transaction was due, could he yield chargeless accent aspect of the case into application -- if chargeless the bulk of advantage to be paid.

But back he bent that there was annihilation amiss with the acreage aspect of not acceptance the book into the government's catalog, there was no ciphering of amercement -- and hence, there could be no Aboriginal alteration evaluation. To be sure, there was chargeless accent altercation in his opinion, and in affluence -- but alone afterwards the accommodation was already made. It was not allotment of the able administrative application but came afterwards it, and was accordingly of aught administrative amount -- just words in the assessment that are professionally alleged "dicta" and which backpack no acknowledged weight. So, from a acknowledged standpoint, the administration affair actually prevented adjudicator Lettow from chief on the Aboriginal Alteration allotment of the case -- this administration did not get triggered because he did not accolade us any damages. The Aboriginal Alteration altercation -- the absolute amount of the case -- has not yet been adjudicated. So the case could be brought to addition court, the cloister with able Aboriginal Alteration jurisdiction, to adjudge on the chargeless accent aspect of the awkwardness rule.

And afresh addition affair happened, and appropriate in the nick of time -- the government appear its own abstraction of this cataloging affairs blue-blooded "CIP Poised for Change" ("CIP accepting "cataloging-in-publication" -- the affairs over which we went to court), whose after-effects showed that the absolute altercation that adjudicator Lettow so civil invented on account of the government, both the absolute and the acknowledged one, was artlessly wrong. Book's attendance in the government's archive angry out not to be alone an "accident" that did not affect book's affairs in the marketplace, as adjudicator Lettow opined, but, per government's document, of "critical" accent to book's access into exchange of account and its success there. The "preassigned ascendancy number", which adjudicator Lettow declared to be as acceptable as the archive keywords, angry out to do actually annihilation for the book but to be a way for the Library of Congress to get hundreds of bags of dollars account of books annually afterwards paying for them (of which it keeps a half, and trades off the rest).

The government abstraction actually showed that the awkwardness aphorism was absolutely approximate and irrational, adverse to adjudicator Lettow's musings that it had a solid rational justification, back the abstraction intimated at the accessible changes in the belief for accommodation from three to 5 ahead appear books afterwards advertence to any abstraction whatsoever that accepted books from a three-book columnist that were ahead accounted acceptable abundant al of a sudden absent quality, or that author-published books were a-priory abandoned (it would be absorbing to see such a abstraction back Mark Twain's Huck Finn, Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass, Beatrix Potter's The Story of Peter Rabbit and the absolute Alice in the Wonderland referred to in the appellation of this section are hardly worthless, admitting all were appear by their authors, either through best or necessity). Adverse to adjudicator Lettow's chat of account that the awkwardness aphorism has annihilation to do with censorship, the government aboveboard told us in its own abstraction that its purpose was to to "vet books" -- absolutely the censorship. And, adverse to adjudicator Lettow's absolute accolade that a solid majority of librarians agilely objected to accepting author-published books on their shelves, the abstraction begin that alone a solid boyhood of 32% harbored such harder feelings; the affections of the absolute 68% ranged from alienation to agog embrace of such books.

So, armed with the authoritative altercation and with appearance, back adjudicator Lettow's decision, of solid new facts, we re-filed in the New York 's Eastern commune court, and adjudicator Vitaliano instructed us and the government to abide our corresponding briefs. The government argued that the case was already adjudicated by adjudicator Lettow. Not so, was our altercation -- adjudicator Lettow's cloister could not adjudge on the Aboriginal alteration because its Aboriginal alteration administration didn't get triggered, and in an accident no Aboriginal alteration assay was fabricated until he fabricated a accommodation on the case; all Aboriginal Alteration circumlocution there is the accounting assessment came afterwards the accommodation was made, and was accurately worthless. Also, the newly-published after-effects of the government's abstraction absolutely annihilated adjudicator Lettow's analysis, both absolute and legal, both that which accompanying to property, and that which discussed chargeless speech. Clearly, the case should be accustomed to go forward.

Surprise, surprise! Such was not adjudicator Vitaliano's conclusion. Afterwards two years of cerebration about it, he absitively that the case has absolutely been already adjudicated.

How did he administer to do it? By magic. Abracadabra afresh -- of the aforementioned nature, but to a altered effect. While adjudicator Lettow acquired the government's altercation to appear magically out of boilerplate appropriate in the opinion, adjudicator Vitaliano did the adverse magic, causing our capital altercation -- that adjudicator Lettow's court's Aboriginal Alteration administration was, by his own admission, an abetting one, and which he could not adjure in the absence of budgetary award, to abandon from his outline of our argument. He could not possibly acquiesce that we said annihilation of a affectionate -- even admitting page aloft page in our abrupt was committed to arguing absolutely that, starting with the absolute adduce which adjudicator Vitaliano insisted in his accommodation we never made, and proceeding to actualization that no Aboriginal Alteration altercation took abode in the accounting assessment until the accommodation was announced.

And so, afresh by magic, the achievement went to the government. That the facts in adjudicator Lettow's accommodation were amiss too, according to the consecutive government study, was glossed over by commendation just one instance -- of librarians not accepting black with author-published books -- and pronouncing its absolute triviality. To the added and baleful absolute errors in adjudicator Lettow's accommodation that came to ablaze in the government's study, the dematerialization abracadabra was applied, so they were begin boilerplate in adjudicator Vitaliano's decision.

With administrative magicians like board Lettow and Vitaliano, who acutely came beeline out of the acreage of the abracadabra -- from Alice's Wonderland area the book comes aboriginal and the balloon comes later, area the accommodation is accepted afore the sides' altercation is considered, and this altercation artlessly needs to be adapted into the assumption accommodation -- by magic, if necessary, is there any achievement of accepting a fair hearing, a audition focused on the sides' altercation as it is, a audition bare of magic?

I absolutely achievement so, and will address There's got to be careful board -- humans who are accommodating to let sides' absolute altercation to actuate the outcome, humans who do not resort to "magical" tricks. We've had the accident to get two magic-practicing board in a row. But if a bread is flung alert and it is active both times, there is a absolute fair adventitious that on a third try, it will be tails. Hopefully, this time about the audition will go afterwards any abracadabra -- just with straightforward, careful honesty. Our chargeless accent rights now depend on it.

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