US trade agency isn't allowed to block overseas internet data
Common sense "dictates that there is a fundamental difference between electronic transmissions and 'material things,'" the court said in a 2-1 decision.
Critics said the ITC overstepped its authority when it ordered the company to cease transmission of digital models, because U.S. law gives the commission authority over unfair practices "in the importation of articles."
The ITC expanded its jurisdiction to say digital data is included in the definition of "articles."
High-tech companies like Google Inc and other Internet-related groups said global Internet transmissions should flow unimpeded and the ITC should not be authorized to regulate them.
But associations for recording artists and Hollywood film studios saw the ITC's decision as an effective tool to fight piracy, most of which happens through electronic downloads and streaming.