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Copyright Damages

January 21st, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

There’s a very important and interesting legal case at the federal trial court stage, with Judge Gertner, SONY BMG Music Entertainment v. Tenenbaum (case documents here). The issue is one that’s bothered me for a long time: each instance of copyright violation has statutory damages completely out of proportion to actual damages, which might even be negative. Thus, if I publicize your obscure poem by posting it on the Internet in 20 places, you can sue me and get 20*$10,000= $2 million in damages, even if I can prove that my free posting actually increased sales of your poem.

I should read some of the briefs at some point.

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