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Kalantari v. NITV, Inc.

352 F.3d 1202 (2003)

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Kalantari v. NITV, Inc.

United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

352 F.3d 1202 (2003)

Facts

The International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) gave the president the authority to regulate or prohibit transactions with other nations upon the declaration of an emergency, even without a declaration of war. Pursuant to this authority, President Clinton issued two executive orders that effectively banned trade with Iran. However, both the IEEPA and the executive orders contained an exemption for the importation of informational materials pursuant to general and specific licenses, including for commercial purposes. These materials included all media items that would be protected under the First Amendment. The importation of exempted items under general licenses also allowed for transactions ordinarily incident to the license. Masood Kalantari (plaintiff) was a United States citizen who imported Iranian entertainment products for American distribution. Kalantari paid producers in Iran for three films as part of an agreement that also included the assignment of rights to Kalantari to copyright the films in the United States. NITV, Inc. (defendant), doing business as National Iranian TV, Zia Atabay (defendant), and Parvin Atabay (defendant) allegedly broadcast the three films without Kalantari’s authorization. Kalantari brought suit. The defendants argued that the Iranian trade embargo made the assignment of rights to Kalantari invalid. The district court agreed and granted summary judgment for the defendants. Kalantari appealed. The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit granted certiorari.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Graber, J.)

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