Goldstein v. California
United States Supreme Court
412 U.S. 546 (1972)
Goldstein and others (defendants) operated a plant in which musical recordings on tape or phonograph could be duplicated, labeled, packaged, and sold at retail to the public. The duplication was unauthorized and amounted to piracy of the copied recordings. The State of California (plaintiff) had a state statute, § 635h of the California Penal Code, that prohibited making any unauthorized copy of a musical performance from a tape or record with the intention of selling the copy. Section 635h granted a copyright in those recordings for an indefinite period. Federal law under the Copyright Act of 1909 did not address the copyright status of recordings of musical performances. California brought charges against the defendants for violation of § 635h. The defendants moved to dismiss the claim, alleging that § 635h was prohibited under the Copyright Clause and the Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution. The district court denied the motion. The defendants appealed, and the court of appeals affirmed the decision. The defendants then petitioned for a writ of certiorari.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Burger, C.J.)
Dissent (Douglas, J.)
What to do next…
Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.
You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 97,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Vanderbilt, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students. Read our student testimonials.
Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.
Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students. Read more about Quimbee.
Here's why 178,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:
- Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 14,000 briefs, keyed to 188 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
- The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
- Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
- Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.