Expected Audience: Law Students
First I'd like to say I'm sorry this post is coming so late. After my midterms I was a little behind on the readings in all my classes. And the hurricane that came through certainly didn't help.
Circuit splits are nothing new, nor are they particularly concentrated in one area of law over another. I found this site when looking on information on circuits splits. Circuits split over things as simple as how to serve process on foreign nationals to things as essential as interpreting fundamental parts of our Constitution.
Doug's proposal for specialized courts is certainly interesting. If the government and the judicial branch had infinite resources I would certainly endorse it. However, in reality the judicial branch has a limited budget and specialized courts for copyright cases would cost a great deal of money.
I think the strongest argument for specialized copyright courts is the fact that there needs to be a strong knowledge of copyright law on the part of judges for correct rulings to be made. What I think is being overlooked is one of the roles lawyers play in our legal system. Lawyers are advocates, mediators, and occasionally negotiators. The role lawyers play in our system that is often overlooked is that of an educator.
Lawyers need to specialize in order to run an effective practice. That specialization is essential for judges. Judges are meant to be jack of all trades in order to be able to hear a wide variety of cases. As part of their advocacy lawyers play a role of educator as well as advocate. Lawyers need to teach judges about the relevant areas of their specialty for the judge to make a ruling. This interplay between judges and lawyers is why copyright law does not need its own specialized court system.