Here's another important Copyright Week post from the Electronic Frontier Foundation: Mitch Stoltz looks at the brutal penalties for copyright violations: "What if a single parking ticket carried a fine of up to a year's salary? What if there were no way to know consistently how much the fine would be before you got it? And what if any one of hundreds of private citizens could decide to write you a ticket?"
Something very close to this scenario is a reality in copyright law. Copyright holders who sue for infringement can ask for "statutory damages" and, if they win, let a jury decide how big of a penalty the defendant will have to pay—anywhere from $200 to $150,000 per copyrighted work. That's a big problem for Internet users, and everyone else who wants to use creative works in lawful but non-traditional ways. Authors of remix video and fan fiction, bloggers, coders, entrepreneurs and others who create, inform, and empower on the fuzzy edges of copyright law must gamble every day. They risk unpredictable, potentially devastating penalties if a court disagrees with their well-intentioned efforts.
People from across the spectrum of opinion on copyright—including many who generally support more restrictive copyright law—agree that copyright damages are broken and need fixing. In today’s House Judiciary Committee hearing on the scope of copyright, Professors David Nimmer and Glynn Lunney agreed on almost nothing—but both agreed that copyright’s penalty regime makes no sense today.
Different from almost all other areas of the law, plaintiffs in copyright cases don’t have to present any evidence that they were harmed. And aside from setting some broad ranges of amounts for "willful" and "innocent" infringement, the only guidance that the Copyright Act gives to juries in picking an amount is to say that it should be "just."
Copyright Week is a worldwide effort to fix copyright: here are the six principles you can sign onto.
To Safeguard the Public Domain (and the Public Interest), Fix Copyright’s Crazy Penalties
The good people at Fight for the Future established OPERATION COMCASTROTURF to help you figure out if your stolen identity was used to file fake anti-net-neutrality comments with the FCC, but Comcast wants them shut down, and it’s prepared to commit barratry to get its way.
Every Ozimal digirabbit in the venerable virtual world Second Life will starve to death (well, permanent hibernation) this week because a legal threat has shut down their food-server, and the virtual pets are designed so that they can only eat DRM-locked food, so the official food server’s shutdown has doomed them all.
Netflix has become one of the main forces for DRM in the world, a driver behind the W3C’s dangerous, web-scale DRM project, and now they’ve announced that their app will no longer run on rooted/bootloader unlocked Android devices, because these devices can run code that overrides Google Widevine DRM (Widevine doesn’t work well under the […]
The Ticwatch 2 Active Smartwatch is a simpler take on an active wearable that raised over $2m dollars on Kickstarter and is currently offered in the Boing Boing Store.Somewhere in between the single-day battery life and platform-specificity of the Apple Watch and Android Wear devices, there exists the Ticwatch. Instead of trying to shoehorn another […]
Loot Crate is a subscription service that delivers a box of curated pop culture goods to your doorstep. To sample their geeky wares, you can order a single mystery box exclusively from the Boing Boing Store.Each month Loot Crate sends you 6-7 unique items and apparel, including collectibles, books, and t-shirts. Pulling inspiration from all […]
Yes, yes there is. The ultraportable Twisty Glass Mini boasts all of the simplicity of its forebear, while fitting just a little bit better in your pocket.The Mini is perfect for casual smokers, and anyone who doesn’t have the patience or fine motor skill for rolling papers. This piece keeps the convenient design of its older […]