Tuesday, July 29, 2014

EFF presents white paper on copyright law reform

Electronic Frontier Foundation staff attorney Mitch Stoltz has published a 9-oage white paper “Collateral Damages: Why Congress Needs to Fix Copyright Law’s Civil Penalties”, with the lead link here.

The paper emphasizes the unpredictability of civil damage awards, per unit of infringed material, without any real showing of intent for misuse or of harm to the commercial potential of a work. 

It also notes that the existing copyright law encourages “copyright trolls” to bully small bloggers, publishers, or even ordinary home users, when they don’t have credible cases.

There is also a problem of complete shutdown of sites for infringing material by one user.  And copyright law holds auxiliary parties potentially liable (such as the printing company for a publisher), with the exception of safe harbor within the DMCA for service providers, which does not help original content providers or other kinds of services.  I was aware of this possibility even with printers even back in the 1990s when I wrote my first DADT book. 

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