We’re back with another edition of our Jack and Jill the Innovator video series, which spotlights innovators of all shapes and sizes and gives them an opportunity to tell their stories.
Our next episode features Art Neill, the founder of New Media Rights, a nonprofit that helps artists and entrepreneurs navigate the complex legal thicket around creating art and media online.
To set the context for why this is important, you might also read John Tehranian’s Infringement Nation. Tehranian explores how, without committing anything close to copyright piracy, you might find yourself in a legal grey area when you create content online.
“To illustrate the unwitting infringement that has become quotidian for the average American, take an ordinary day in the life of a hypothetical law professor named John...
“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). 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, barring last minute salvation from the notoriously ambiguous fair use defense, he would be 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.”
Derek Slater is a Policy Manager at Google.
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