John Tehranian's paper, "Infringement Nation: Copyright Reform and the Law/Norm Gap," from a forthcoming symposium issue of the Utah Law Review on "Fixing Copyright," is a great, tight little essay on the way that the growing gap between what technology allows us to do and what copyright tells us not to do is turning us all into mega-crooks. Just by doing the normal, everyday stuff -- chatting with friends, sharing the moments of our lives -- we commit billions of dollars' worth of infringements:
By the end of the day, John has infringed the copyrights of twenty emails,
three legal articles, an architectural rendering, a poem, five photographs, an
animated character, a musical composition, a painting, and fifty notes and
drawings. All told, he has committed at least eighty-three acts of infringement and
faces liability in the amount of $12.45 million (to say nothing of potential criminal
charges).50 There is nothing particularly extraordinary about John’s activities. Yet
if copyright holders were inclined to enforce their rights to the maximum extent
allowed by law, he would be indisputably liable for a mind-boggling $4.544 billion
in potential damages each year. And, surprisingly, he has not even committed a
single act of infringement through P2P file sharing. Such an outcome flies in the
face of our basic sense of justice. Indeed, one must either irrationally conclude that
John is a criminal infringer–a veritable grand larcenist–or blithely surmise that
copyright law must not mean what it appears to say. Something is clearly amiss.
Moreover, the troublesome gap between copyright law and norms has grown only
wider in recent years.
ORG -- the UK Open Rights Group (disclosure: I am a co-founder and volunteers on its advisory board) is hiring a Data and Democracy Project Officer: "responsible for delivering our work on preserving democratic integrity in the digital age. This role has two main areas of focus: 1) electronic voting and 2) the use of […]
The Democrats' newly unveiled "Internet Bill of Rights" enumerates ten rights that the party says it will enshrine in law, ranging from Net Neutrality to data portability to timely notification of breaches to opt-in for data collection, the right to see the data held on you by surveillance capitalists, rights to privacy and to be […]
Yesterday, the Supreme Court heard the re-argument of Sessions v. Dimaya, a case that asks whether the administration can treat lawful immigrants to the USA (including Green Card holders like me) as though we have no Constitutional rights.
Still determined to keep those New Year’s health resolutions? If you’re going to stick with the exercise plan, it’s enough of a challenge to budget your time. No need for your financial budget to take a hit, too. Here’s a more convenient – and cheaper – alternative to a gym membership or Peloton bike: Two […]
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