Copyright laws were put in place to help protect copyright holders from companies looking to profit by stealing their intellectual property. Makes sense, and these laws have served us well for years.
More recently, we’ve found Grandmothers through grandchildren being sued by large US corporations for millions of dollars due to what they’re calling copyright-infringing activities. Does that make sense? There was no financial gain involved, and in most cases (even if the assertions were true) there is no provable loss on the part of the copyright holder. Many, in fact, argue that sales of their copyrighted materials are helped due to some of the infringing activity.
In rushes the State legislature of California. They have already had Senate committee passage of laws which allows warrant-less intrusions into businesses where law enforcement thinks there might be a business which is “dedicated to infringing activities”. The law also allows them to obtain court orders which would force search engines to develop technologies to stop them from displaying links to sites that the government doesn’t like (I mean, sites that might be infringing in a third-party way).
This is a very slippery slope…
- RIAA Pushes for Warrantless Search, Seizure at Optical-Disc Plants (wired.com)
- Forget the Fourth Amendment, Fellas: We’re the RIAA (reason.com)
- Judge: RIAA request for trillions in LimeWire copyright case is ‘absurd’ (macworld.com)
- The Cost of Music Piracy: $67,500 for 30 songs (legallyeasy.rocketlawyer.com)
- Overhaul of U.K. Copyright Law Would Boost GDP, Says Report (pcworld.com)