Letter to the International Trade Commission

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
OpenMedia
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

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