EFF – “Today, the House Judiciary Committee [held] a hearing on “remedies” in copyright law—that is, the penalties, injunctions, and other means of challenging and penalizing alleged infringement. This is hugely important: fixing copyright’s remedy provisions (like excessive, unpredictable monetary penalties and government seizures of domain names) is key to ensuring that copyright does its job—helping to encourage creativity—without unduly interfering with free speech and innovation. To help the Judiciary Committee, and to explain why fixing this part of copyright law is so important, EFF is releasing a white paper today. Collateral Damages explains how copyright’s system of “statutory damages” chills free speech and harms innovation. Statutory damages are automatic penalties of $750 to $150,000 per infringed work that a judge or jury can award to copyright holders without the copyright holders having to present any proof of their actual harm. This system leads to excessive penalties, like $222,000 against a home Internet user for sharing 24 copyrighted songs. It’s also wildly unpredictable, with vastly different amounts being awarded by different juries for the same conduct, making lawsuits a gamble.”
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