California: Law against rebroadcast of state assembly video footage loses court test

A California law banning the rebroadcast of video from the state assembly took a hit in federal district court as the judge ruled the law could not be enforced against a gun lobby who wanted to use assembly footage to fight a proposed gun control law. The law makes it a misdemeanor to use assembly video footage for political or commercial purposes. (San Francisco Chronicle, June 9, 2016, by Bob Egelko)

One of the lawyers for the gun lobby including the Firearms Policy Coalition, Eugene Volokh, The Washington Post, June 9, 2016, argues that the First Amendment allows use of the video footage. He and his team of lawyers rejected the copyright argument since the law did not allow fair use which should include “criticism” and “comment” as purposes. As for the argument for allowing the assembly to legislate without worries that videos of themselves would be used in political contexts, the teams argues that there is no compelling interest in such shields in that criticism is crucial in any democratic government.