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Worth the money?

Worth the money?

Posted Jun 3, 2005 3:43 UTC (Fri) by giraffedata (subscriber, #1954)
In reply to: Worth the money? by brouhaha
Parent article: IP Software Compliance Tools -- Who Needs Them and Why?

Thanks. I was unaware there were statutory damages for copyright in US law. And these are particularly weird statutory damages, since the amount within that range is up to the discretion of the court. Statutory damages I know of are specifically designed to remove the discretion of the court -- the statute tells you exactly what the formula is. The idea is to save litigation expense and substitute the judgment of legislators for that of judges.

Anyway, there's one flaw in your arithmetic. There are no "counts" of infringement, since we're not talking about crimes here. The statutory damage clause says the $30K limit is for each work, not each copy. Where you see it multiply into the millions is where you have something like Napster that involves thousands of works.


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Worth the money?

Posted Jun 3, 2005 4:35 UTC (Fri) by brouhaha (subscriber, #1698) [Link]

In the US, copyright infringement actually can be a criminal offense. This came about as part of the No Electronic Theft Act of 1997. The criminal charge carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250K fine, or twice the gross gain to any defendant or twice the gross loss to any victim, whichever is greater. On top of that, there is mandatory restitution.

However, the hypothetical case was presumably not a criminal case.


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