Copyright/Intellectual Property

The Shape of Water’s Ongoing Plagiarism Battle

8 February 2018

From Plagiarism Today:

Two weeks ago, we took a look at the plagiarism controversy over The Shape of Water, the new film written and directed by Guillermo del Toro.

At the time, the controversy focused on similarities between The Shape of Water and The Space Between Us, a 2015 short film by students at the Netherlands Film Academy.

But, while the similarities were striking, there was no shortage of evidence that del Toro had been working on The Shape of Water as early as 2011, well before The Space Between Us was released.

With so much evidence that The Shape of Water could not have plagiarized the short film, the conversation shifted to exactly why the arguments felt so convincing. In short, the story became a useful example to discuss why some things in filmmaking felt like plagiarism when we knew for certain they could not be.

. . . .

Two days after my original post, the estate of playwright Paul Zindel publicly accused del Toro of plagiarizing Zindel’s 1969 play, Let Me Hear You Whisper.

The two works do have a great deal of overlap. Both stories are set in the sixties and feature a female custodian who befriends and eventually falls in love with a creature held captive in the military laboratory where she works. In both stories she frees the creature (using a shopping cart) in order to save it from vivisection after the creature fails to cooperate with its captors.

While that’s a lot of overlap, there are several key differences too. For one, in Whisper the creature is a dolphin and in Water it’s a humanoid creature. Also, the endings of the two works are drastically different.

. . . .

Fox Searchlight has denied that del Toro read Let Me Hear You Whisper, but there is evidence that Daniel Kraus, who pitched the story idea to del Toro in 2011, was not just aware of Zindel’s work, but an admirer.

This makes it almost certain that Kraus was aware of Let Me Hear You Whisper, even if del Toro was not.

. . . .

Earlier this week, French director Jean-Pierre Jeunet accused del Toro of plagiarizing a scene in The Shape of Water from his 1991 film Delicatessen.

Both scenes feature two characters, one male and one female, sitting side by side and creating an impromptu rhythm to the beat of a musical playing on TV. In Delicatessen, the two use squeaks and creaks in a bed they are seated on to make the music while, in The Shape of Water, the two are seated on a sofa using their shoes to tap out the rhythm.

. . . .

However, this is a very different plagiarism allegation than the first one. It doesn’t look at the entire plot of the film and, instead, focuses on less than a minute of both works.

But, while both scenes feature characters making an impromptu rhythm to a musical on the TV, that’s roughly all they have in common. How they make the rhythm, where they’re sitting and the beat they make are all very different.

. . . .

Still, as noted by Sabine Jacques in The Conversation, a copyright infringement case by the estate against del Toro would have some significant challenges. Not only is it unclear if the similarities between the two works are copyrightable or that they are strikingly similar to one another to be considered a derivative work, but del Toro heavily documented the creation of the film and may be able to show it was an independent creation.

. . . .

There’s a terrible and overtly false expression about plagiarism that reads, “To steal from one person is plagiarism; to steal from many is research.”

As obviously untrue as that is (plagiarism deals with citation and not the number of sources) it has a kernel of wisdom when it comes to fiction.

Every trope we have started out as an original idea at some point, even if it was thousands of years ago. However, as other creators used it, built upon it and modified it, it went from being an original idea to being a basic building block of storytelling. However, the transition from original work to trope is not a smooth or clear one. In fact, it’s one that’s different for nearly every person interpreting it.

Link to the rest at Plagiarism Today

A guide to ‘big money’ art disputes

7 February 2018

From Spears:

The arcane world of art disputes occasionally emerges from the shadows, burns media oxygen, then retreats back into the crepuscular gloom. Among those who operate in this world are two men – one a lawyer, the other an expert witness – who have collaborated on a couple of significant cases and are therefore able to offer insights into its workings.

Rupert Boswall, senior partner at Reynolds Porter Chamberlain (RPC), and Guy Stair Sainty, a Mayfair art dealer, first collaborated in the Onians estate case against Sotheby’s in the late Nineties. The estate of Suffolk pigswill dealer Ernest Onians sued Sotheby’s for selling a painting, The Sack of Carthage, which it had attributed to Pietro Testa but turned out to be a lost work by Poussin, The Destruction and Sack of the Temple of Jerusalem. Sotheby’s had told the Onians estate it would fetch £15,000, but a London gallery bought it for £155,000 on the recommendation of art historian Sir Denis Mahon. It was subsequently recognised as a Poussin by the Louvre and was sold to the Rothschild Foundation for £4.5 million.

‘Sotheby’s fought the case very, very hard,’ says Boswall. ‘We acted for the estate against Sotheby’s, Freshfields acted for Sotheby’s, and that was when I found Guy, who was brilliant in explaining the procedures that auctioneers and dealers follow, which are essentially the same, and why he believed Sotheby’s had gone wrong.

‘We had Guy speaking to how Sotheby’s should have handled it; we had an expert speaking on whether it was a Poussin or a Testa; we had an expert on restoration; and we had a technical expert on the consistency of the pigment. That was an all-singing, all-dancing dispute and I’ll never do a case like that again. Also, we did it on a no-win no-fee basis, because the estate didn’t have any money, and we actually spent all of the estate buying a legal expenses policy to guard against losing to Sotheby’s.’ The case was settled shortly before trial.

Link to the rest at Spears

PG says the variety of disputes over intellectual property is both entertaining and broad.

However, it can’t compete with torts.

A tort is “a wrongful act or an infringement of a right (other than under contract) leading to civil legal liability.” Because damages arising under an act resulting in civil legal liability are often covered by insurance, there may be questions as to whether the wording of the insurance policy means the insurance company must pay the injured party – whether the insurance provides coverage for the acts leading to a particular injury.

From Coverage Opinions:

“In May 2012, [James] Yaney’s friend, Jason Vantilburg, in anticipation of the birth of his first child, asked Yaney to host a party to celebrate. Yaney and Vantilburg fashioned the party into a ‘diaper shootout,’ where guests could bring diapers for the new baby and enjoy an afternoon shooting guns in Yaney’s backyard. As a ‘grand finale’ to the party, they also decided to blow up an old refrigerator.

In preparation, Yaney used his [Yaney] Motorsports truck to haul the refrigerator from Vantilburg’s home to his property. He then used his trailer to tow a box van to his backyard so that guests had a target to shoot. On the day of the event, Yaney set up the Motorsports truck and trailer as a staging area for guns and ammunition. ***

Towards the end of the event, Yaney and Vantilburg decided it was time to blow up the refrigerator. They hauled the refrigerator from Yaney’s pole barn into the backyard. Guests stood behind tables fifty meters away from where the refrigerator was located. Vantilburg moved into position behind his rifle, fired at the explosives [H2] inside the refrigerator, and detonated them. The refrigerator immediately blew apart and sent shrapnel flying across the yard. A piece of shrapnel hit (guest) Plank–Greer’s hand, nearly severing it.”

I know. It takes your breath away.

. . . .

 Incidentally, if you are interested, the actual coverage issue involved whether Yaney’s policy with Auto-Owners, for his Auto Repair Shop, provided coverage. More specifically, did the incident arise with respect to the conduct of Yaney’s business. Yaney had invited customers to the party and Yaney discussed his business with Plank-Greet, offering to weld or manufacture a hitch for her car and a bike rack, and he gave her a price for new brake pads.

The court held that: “Here, at most, Yaney’s party mixed personal activities and business, with business being incidental (and, it would appear, coincidental). Yaney used the Motosports truck and trailer to haul items to his property for the party, and spoke with guests, including plaintiff, about his business. Yaney, however, did not co-host the party to promote his business: he held the party to help his friend, Jason Vantilburg, celebrate the impending arrival of his baby. Moreover, focusing solely on the event that gave rise to plaintiff’s injury—blowing up the refrigerator—there is no question that it was done for the guests’ entertainment and bore no relationship to Yaney’s business. Because Yaney was not acting solely with respect to his business, his activities that day were outside the scope of his insurance contract with Auto–Owners. Accordingly, Auto–Owners is not obligated to provide coverage to Yaney for any of Plank–Greer’s allegations.”

Link to the rest at Coverage Opinions

PG warns one and all that blowing things up for recreational purposes is almost never going to be covered by liability insurance.

ISPs Don’t Get Copyright Shield Without Enforcement of Meaningful Repeat Infringer Policy

2 February 2018

From the Hollywood Reporter:

In a key decision in a landmark piracy case, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday issued a mixed ruling when examining a $25 million verdict in favor of BMG Rights Management against Cox Communications over piracy by the ISP’s users. The entertainment industry got a huge victory when the appeals court upheld a federal judge’s conclusion that the safe harbor provision of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act requires meaningful implementation of a policy that terminates the service of repeat copyright infringers.

. . . .

The dispute emanates from a lawsuit brought by BMG, which administers the rights to works by David Bowie, Bruno Mars, Frank Ocean and many other artists. BMG had hired Rightscorp to flag piracy and send Cox notices. Rightscorp detected 1.847 million instances of infringement, but Cox had what a judge characterized as essentially a 13-strike policy that was found insufficient. It was alleged that Cox really maintained an “under the table policy purporting to terminate repeat infringers while actually retaining them as high-speed internet customers.”

. . . .

On Thursday, 4th Circuit judge Diana Motz writes the opinion that will be closely examined by those looking to figure out an ISP’s responsibilities for the copyright infringing actions of its users.

The DMCA provides some armor for tech companies that respond expeditiously to takedown requests. One of the requirements, though, is that the ISP has to have “adopted and reasonably implemented … a policy that provides for the termination in appropriate circumstances of subscribers … who are repeat infringers.”

Cox urged a reading that would be generous to ISPs. Specifically, the company argued that “repeat infringers” means adjudicated repeat infringers, or people who have been held liable in court for multiple instances of direct copyright infringement.

Motz notes that the statute doesn’t define “repeat infringers” but nods to the use of “alleged infringer” elsewhere in the law plus legislative history to come to the conclusion that Cox’s interpretation is wrong.

. . . .

Then, turning to Cox’s conduct, Motz determines that the federal judge was right to flag this ISP’s repeat infringer policy as lacking.

At a minimum, she writes, an “ISP has not ‘reasonably implemented’ a repeat infringer policy if the ISP fails to enforce the terms of its policy in any meaningful fashion. Here, Cox formally adopted a repeat infringer ‘policy,’ but, both before and after September 2012, made every effort to avoid reasonably implementing that policy. Indeed, in carrying out its thirteen-strike process, Cox very clearly determined not to terminate subscribers who in fact repeatedly violated the policy.”

Motz adds that failure to implement a consistent and meaningful repeat infringer policy essentially means it has no policy and can’t be entitled to a safe harbor defense.

Link to the rest at the Hollywood Reporter

Copyright board ruffles AA’s feathers by rejecting logo copyright again

30 January 2018

From USA Today:

Even after a go-around, American Airlines couldn’t clear the relatively low threshold to copyright its logo adopted in 2013, the U.S. Copyright Office’s review board has ruled.

“A mere simplistic arrangement of non-protectable elements does not demonstrate the level of creativity necessary to warrant protection,” Catherine Zaller Rowland, senior adviser to the register of copyrights, said in a five-page explanation called “the final decision in this matter.”

The airline already has the image trademarked, to prevent another U.S. carrier or tourism entity from using the image in its marketing. But a copyright would have offered longer and broader protection internationally, if it were approved.

. . . .

The logo looks like a white eagle’s head poking through a diagonal swoosh with blue on top and red on the bottom. The carrier adopted the image after combining with U.S. Airways to become the world’s largest airline.

American filed an application June 3, 2016, to register the logo. But a registration specialist refused the registration in a letter Oct. 4, 2016, by finding it “lacks the authorship necessary to support a copyright claim.”

American disputed that finding and requested a reconsideration in a letter Dec. 20, 2016. The airline argued that the logo “far exceeds the extremely low level of creativity required to sustain a copyright claim,” according to the letter from Andrew Avsec, an intellectual-property lawyer with Brinks Gilson & Lione.

. . . .

But after re-evaluating the request, the office again rejected it by concluding it “does not contain a sufficient amount of original and creative artistic or graphic authorship to support a copyright registration,” according to an April 12, 2017, letter from Stephanie Mason, an attorney-advisor.

. . . .

[T]he copyright board’s decision Jan. 8 repeated a longstanding requirement set forth in the Copyright Act that prohibit registration for “familiar symbols or designs; (and) mere variations of typographic ornamentation, lettering or coloring.”

“Further, use of the colors of the United States flag (red, white, and blue) are exceedingly common and do not lend themselves to arguments that the work’s design choices were especially creative,” Rowland wrote. “In any event, even if a bird motif were unusual in this context, the work falls below the threshold for creativity required by the Copyright Act.”

Link to the rest at USA Today

And, so you can judge for yourself, here’s a copy of American Airlines’ new logo (Nominative fair use because the trademark is shown in both the OP and here in connection with a discussion of the trademark design. Plus PG does not operate an airline plus he’s not that taken with AA’s logo design and suggests an alternative below which contrasts with AA’s trademark.):

As an alternative trademark, here’s what comes to PG’s mind when he thinks about American Airlines:

Yay, AA!!!!!!!! Photos from Unsplash

Image rights and the unauthorized use of one’s own portrait on cigarette packs

23 January 2018

From The IPKat:

Can someone’s own image be used without permission?

This question may have different answers, depending on both the context in which the relevant image is used and the legal system considered. With particular regard to the latter, in countries that envisage ‘image rights’ (or publicity rights), the availability of protection may be even irrespective of the context in which one’s own image is being used.

Italian law

This is for instance the case of Italy which, similarly to other continental European jurisdictions, has a long-standing history of protecting image rights.

. . . .

Article 96 of the Italian Copyright Act states that – subject to some limitations pursuant to Article 97 thereof – the portrait of a person cannot be put on display, reproduced or used commercially without their consent.

. . . .

A man from Ischia (one of the islands in the Naples Gulf), Maurizio Plescia, was quite shocked when he found out that his image was reproduced on the cigarette packs marketed by different multinationals, as part of what the EU Tobacco Products Directive calls ‘combined health warning’, ie health warnings consisting of a combination of a text warning and a corresponding photograph or illustration illustrating the risks of smoking.

The image of Plescia represented him while hospitalized in Colombia. He had gone there to visit his former partner and – further to certain breathing issues – had taken a medication to which he happened to be allergic. Together with the initial symptoms of pneumonia, such allergic reaction resulted in his hospitalization.

Apparently while he was lying in his hospital bed, someone took a photograph of him. Subsequently such photograph was included in the picture library administered by the EU Commission pursuant to Schedule 2 of the Tobacco Products Directive, which contains images to be used for the marketing of tobacco products.

. . . .

There is abundant case law concerning the unauthorized use of one’s own image, and this blog has reported on decisions which have found an infringement of image rights even lacking use of one’s own actual image.

Protection has been granted also in instances relating to the unauthorized use of one’s own image in situations in which one was filmed during a public event. For instance, the Italian Supreme Court has held that a TV programme could not use one’s own image, captured during a football match, after that event’s current character has ended (in this specific case, 6 years after the match).

Link to the rest, including images of the offending cigarette packs displaying Mr. Plescia’s photo (in which he looks really terrible), at The IPKat

The lesson for indie authors is that, while a photographer has a copyright on photos he/she creates, if the photos show an identifiable individual, the consent of the individual for his/her image to be used for a commercial purpose (a book cover, for example) should be obtained. The photographer’s license to use the photo doesn’t, by itself, cover all contingencies.

As with so many other things, consent in writing, signed by the subject in the photo, is always a good idea, sometimes a very, very good idea.

There are loads of Model Release Forms available online. One that might be worth examining is from the American Society of Media Photographers. As the ASMP website states, this is a “simplified” form. Additional provisions may be desirable for non-standard release circumstances. For example, nude photos would be one example of non-standard circumstances.

For cute kid pictures, a parent or guardian’s written and signed release in proper form should be obtained.

How Google is Killing the Independent Movie Industry

19 January 2018

From Newsweek:

Sitting at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) in September, I could feel the air leave the room when I said: “Google is the biggest threat to the entertainment business.”

In the current landscape, where powerful Silicon Valley monopolies are being chastised for their role in multiple scandals, I’m surprised my comment shocked so many.

However, it’s important that our nation’s leaders understand who is affected when copyright protections are flouted and the wholesale theft of our work is induced and facilitated by some of the most powerful companies the world has ever seen.

. . . .

I’ve been in the movie business for three decades now. I started in the ’80s – where my passion for independent cinema led me to co-head the indie division at the William Morris Agency.

Now, I’m a producer of independent films like Mudbound and Dallas Buyers Club.From this vantage point, I’ve clearly seen how Internet piracy has decimated the independent film industry.

. . . .

The problem dates back to 1998 – when the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) was passed. The DMCA predates the Internet as we know it; 1998 was the same year Google was founded, and when Mark Zuckerberg entered high school.

Congress, intending to assist the growth of a young industry, established what became known as “Safe Harbor” provisions, which protected Internet companies when their platforms were used to distribute pirated material.

Without the provision, nascent Google might have had to face the consequences of serving up pirated content – given their central role in enabling the infringement.

Back then, Congress reasoned that creatives would send a few notices to some Internet hosting company and ask them to kindly remove a piece of content. How quaint – and not at all forward thinking.

What started out as a helping hand to an infant industry has become a shield against accountability that some of the largest companies in the world hide behind. Piracy has run rampant on the Internet, and creatives have no chance of keeping up with all of it.

Google alone receives 900 million takedown notices every year. While they usually get around to taking down the offending link, it rarely helps because a new one appears in its place – it’s endless. Overwhelmed creatives simply run out of steam trying to find all the pirate links – and thanks to the DMCA, that’s not Google’s problem.

Link to the rest at Newsweek

Storage Wars

18 January 2018

From The Gray Market Weekly:

On Wednesday, Michael O’Hare, professor of public policy at UC Berkeley’s Goldman School, waded into the still-smoldering controversy over the Berkshire Museum’s deaccession plan in order to address what he sees as a much larger, more consequential problem: the behemoth number of inactive artworks shuttered away in institutional storage.

At major museums, O’Hare estimates that as much as 90 percent of holdings are effectively on ice like a severed finger at any given time. In response to SF Chronicle art critic Charles Desmarais’s recent assertion that “cultural value, as opposed to monetary value, is the only worth of the objects in museum collections,” O’Hare asked in his piece, “Aside from maybe someday appearing in a scholarly article… just how are these works creating cultural value if no one is looking at them?”

O’Hare’s argument would affect more than just the Berkshire brawl.

. . . .

MoMA director Glenn Lowry even knowingly took a step toward the killing fields when he declared on this week’s episode of In Other Words, the Art Agency, Partners podcast, that museums…

“…should deaccession rigorously in order to either acquire more important works of art or build endowments to support programming…. It doesn’t benefit anyone when there are millions of works of art that are languishing in storage…. We would be far better off, in my opinion, allowing others to have those works of art that might enjoy them, but even more importantly, converting that [resource] to… support public programs, exhibitions, publications.”

Lowry’s advance here—applauded by O’Hare in a brief blog post—is about more than just stumping for museums to edit their holdings via sales. He’s also suggesting that institutions consider sanctioning a new use for the proceeds: bolstering their endowments so that the added revenue could be funneled into museum programming and publishing.

. . . .

With only a few exceptions, art museums refuse to put monetary values on their collections in their publicly available financial disclosures. As he describes it in an earlier long read for Democracy, “When [a museum] buys a painting, there’s an expense, and then it just disappears [from the balance sheet], as though they bought lunch for everyone and ate it.”

Why is this the standard? To invoke Desmarais’s earlier contention, it’s a way of arguing via the sorcery of accounting that something worth money outside the museum magically transforms into something only worth culture thereafter.

No matter where you stand on deaccessioning policy, this practice is objectively absurd. Even for people who take the AAMD and AAM’s guidelines as sacred texts, their member institutions still have full blessing to sell works from the permanent collection, i.e. to capitalize on their monetary value. The only caveat is what can be done with the cash.

Link to the rest at The Gray Market Weekly

BBC Points to Geoblocking in Bid to Defeat Lawsuit Over Use of ‘Cosby Show’ Clips

16 January 2018

From The Hollywood Reporter:

When Carsey-Werner Company filed a copyright lawsuit in November against the BBC and Sugar Films Limited over the use of clips from The Cosby Show in a documentary titled Bill Cosby: Fall of an American Icon, many commentators expected the case to turn on fair use. Not necessarily so.

On Thursday, BBC followed Sugar Films by telling a judge the case should be dismissed because no actionable infringement could possibly have taken place within a California federal court’s jurisdiction.

“The program was intended for broadcast in the U.K. and in fact was broadcast by BBC only in the U.K. and never in the United States,” states BBC’s motion. “For a one-month period after its initial broadcast on BBC2, Fall was available to be viewed in the U.K. via the BBC’s iPlayer Internet-based service. Due to ‘geoblocking’ or other technological means, only those within the U.K. had the ability readily to view the program using iPlayer during that one-month window. Anyone viewing Fall outside of the U.K. did so without the authorization of Defendants Sugar Films and BBC. At no time did Defendants authorize Fall to be made available to viewers in the United States, via regular broadcast, iPlayer or any other means.”

. . . .

[W]ithout BBC having purposefully directed the documentary to U.S. audiences, Carsey-Werner will need to convince U.S. District Judge Percy Anderson why this case involving a broadcaster based in the U.K. should be fought in California.

Link to the rest at The Hollywood Reporter

Why Mickey Mouse’s 1998 copyright extension probably won’t happen again

11 January 2018

From Ars Technica:

On January 1, 2019, every book, film, and song published in 1923 will fall out of copyright protection—something that hasn’t happened in 40 years. At least, that’s what will happen if Congress doesn’t retrospectively change copyright law to prevent it—as Congress has done two previous times.

Until the 1970s, copyright terms only lasted for 56 years. But Congress retroactively extended the term of older works to 75 years in 1976. Then on October 27, 1998—just weeks before works from 1923 were scheduled to fall into the public domain—President Bill Clinton signed legislation retroactively extending the term of older works to 95 years, locking up works published in 1923 or later for another 20 years.

Will Congress do the same thing again this year? To find out, we talked to groups on both sides of the nation’s copyright debate—to digital rights advocates at the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Public Knowledge and to industry groups like the Motion Picture Association of America and the Recording Industry Association of America. To our surprise, there seemed to be universal agreement that another copyright extension was unlikely to be on the agenda this year.

“We are not aware of any such efforts, and it’s not something we are pursuing,” an RIAA spokesman told us when we asked about legislation to retroactively extend copyright terms.

. . . .

Presumably, many of the MPAA’s members would gladly take a longer copyright term if they could get it. For example, Disney’s copyright for the first Mickey Mouse film, Steamboat Willie, is scheduled to expire in 2024. But the political environment has shifted so much since 1998 that major copyright holders may not even try to extend copyright terms before they start to expire again.

. . . .

The rise of the Internet has totally changed the political landscape on copyright issues. The Electronic Frontier Foundation is much larger than it was in 1998. Other groups, including Public Knowledge, didn’t even exist 20 years ago. Internet companies—especially Google—have become powerful opponents of expanding copyright protections.

. . . .

Most importantly, there’s now a broad grassroots engagement on copyright issues—something that became evident with the massive online protests against the infamous Stop Online Piracy Act in 2012. SOPA would have forced ISPs to enforce DNS-based blacklists of sites accused of promoting piracy. It was such a bad idea that Wikipedia, Google, and other major sites blacked themselves out in protest. The digital rights activist group Demand Progress emerged from the SOPA fight and has gone on to play a key role organizing protests over network neutrality and other issues.

The protest against SOPA “was a big show of force,” says Meredith Rose, a lawyer at Public Knowledge. The protest showed that “the public really cares about this stuff.”

The defeat of SOPA was so complete that it has essentially ended efforts by copyright interests to expand copyright protection via legislation.

Link to the rest at Ars Technica

Reforming Little Copyright

5 January 2018
Comments Off on Reforming Little Copyright

From Likelihood of Confusion:

It’s pretty clear that Big Copyright — famous authors, Hollywood and, well, Hollywood Hollywood and Hollywood — gets what it wants from both Congress and the courts in terms of copyright protection, and then some.

Apes, on the other hand, not so much.

But what about the rest of us?  Okay, not so much the rest of us as what we can call Little Copyright: independent creators, mainly photographers and graphic artists whose visual works are protected by copyright but who are all the same routinely ripped off on the Internet.

For infringement by your everyday right-clicking infringer, the only choice for most such creators is infringement-trolling lawyers who work on a contingency.  They operate by volume, sending demand letters to infringers such as bloggers, small businesses and other small fry who just take whatever finds its way to the Internet for their own use.  The letters are bellicose fire-breathing missives of outrage that invoke the most extreme sanctions available under the Copyright Act, on the frequently justified assumption that a user will be happy to spared such an outcome in exchange for a few nickels on the supposed dollar.

The problem is these letters are almost always bluffs. Initiating a copyright infringement claim in federal court and prosecuting it through to judgment and an award of attorneys’ fees and costs rarely pays.

Link to the rest at Likelihood of Confusion

The rest of the OP discusses the proposed Copyright Small Claims Court, including many problems with the legislation and enforcement structure currently being debated.

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