is a research and instructional services librarian at the Drexel University Thomas R. Kline School of Law. He received his law degree from the University of Maryland, School of Law and practiced historic preservation and land use law in Baltimore. After obtaining his MLS from the University of Maryland, College of Library and Information Science, he was assistant law librarian at the Montgomery County (MD) Circuit Court Law Library and then a legal information analyst with the Law Library of Congress. His previous work in legislative history was cited in King v. Burwell, 135 S. Ct. 2480, 2492 (U.S. 2015).
The Eighties are in! A contagious wave of nostalgia has infected popular culture with period TV series, from shows like Stranger Things to rebirths and reboots of the era’s shows and movies. This retro cultural appropriation was bound to involve a copyright issue. Indeed, a dispute arose over a documentary on the 1985 Chicago Bears, which made an unauthorized use of the team’s landmark music video, The Superbowl Shuffle. The Shuffle’s owners claimed an infringement on the licensing market for the work. The documentarians claimed fair use. The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division, ruled for the documentarians, granting them summary judgment, in Red Label Music Publishing v. Chila Productions.
Legislative history is, of course, the compilation of the legislative process’ source documents—committee reports, hearing transcripts, bills and floor debate—to understand the Congressional intent behind a law. Such a use is controversial, with no less than the late Justice Antonin Scalia being a leading critic of the practice while Justice Stephen Breyer is one of its most notable proponents. However, lawyers and judges continue to employ legislative history, in some fashion, and will likely turn to it to understand and interpret a law of this magnitude. This article surveys the more significant legislative history documents available for the DTSA.