Falwell made several hundred thousand copies of the page and distributed them as part of a fund-raising effort. A biographer of Richard Wright quoted from six unpublished letters and ten unpublished journal entries by Wright. The case was remanded to the district court which, infound the majority of instances to be fair use.
In preparing the Report on Orphan Works which the Office released two months ago, the Office was told by a representative of photographers that a new mechanism is needed to adjudicate small copyright infringement claims because the cost of litigating in federal courts is prohibitively expensive in many cases.
We are sympathetic to the concerns of individual authors about the high cost of litigation and how, in many cases, the individual creator may have little practical recourse in obtaining relief through the court system, particularly against infringements involving small amounts of actual damages.
This problem, however, has existed for some time and goes beyond the orphan works situation, extending to all types of infringement of the works of individual authors.
It is not, however, within the province of this study on orphan works. While the Office does not believe that it is necessary or even advisable to address this issue in the context of orphan works legislation, the Office continues to believe that the issue deserves the attention of Congress.
If the Subcommittee believes it would be helpful, the Office would be pleased to study the issue in a way similar to the way in which the Office studied the orphan works problem itself, and to report to Congress its findings as to 1 whether, how, and to what extent authors and copyright owners are hindered or even prevented from seeking relief for infringements of their copyrights due to the cost of litigation under the current system, and 2 if the current system does not provide adequate procedures and remedies for the adjudication of small copyright claims, what changes in the law would be advisable to ensure that authors and copyright owners are able, as a practical matter, to seek remedies for infringements of their works.
Anyone who has litigated a case—whether as a party or as counsel—in the federal courts knows that the costs of litigation are beyond the means of many Americans.
Attorneys typically charge hundreds of dollars per hour for their services, and it is our understanding that contingency fee arrangements in copyright cases are relatively rare. Of course, there are provisions built into the copyright law that are designed in part to provide even the copyright owner of modest means with a reasonable prospect of recovering not only compensation for infringement but also the expenses of litigation in a successful infringement suit.
We have heard assertions that in many cases it simply is not worthwhile to bear the expense of federal litigation no matter how meritorious the claim may be. We are not in a position at this time to evaluate the accuracy of those assertions, but it is not difficult to imagine that in many cases an author or copyright owner engaging in a rational analysis of the costs and benefits of litigation will conclude that in light of the modest value of his or her infringement claim and the relatively high cost of litigation, it makes no sense to pursue that claim.
Although the copyright law offers the advantages described above to copyright owners who pursue claims of infringement, another provision of the law arguably provides a disincentive to pursue small claims.
Section of Title 28 of the United States Code confers upon the federal district courts exclusive jurisdiction over claims of copyright infringement. As a general proposition, the longstanding exclusive jurisdiction of the federal courts in this area is an important and positive feature of our system.
Copyright law is federal law, and confining copyright cases to the federal courts is more likely to ensure consistency of decision-making.
It is probably also fair to say that, as a general proposition, the quality of decision-making in the federal courts exceeds that found in many state courts.
But, as noted above, federal litigation tends to be expensive. While pro se litigation is possible in the federal courts, as a practical matter in most cases it requires the assistance of an attorney to navigate the civil procedure and substantive law.
Although state court systems offer small claims courts, which handle claims of up to a few thousand dollars and are more congenial to pro se litigation, the federal courts offer no such alternative. As a result, because authors and copyright owners, unlike most other litigants, have no choice but to pursue their claims in federal court, the costs of federal litigation may weigh more heavily on them than on most others.
The Copyright Office expresses no definitive views on the extent to which the current system hinders the ability of authors and copyright owners to pursue small infringement claims, but from the foregoing discussion it is clear that there are serious questions about the effectiveness of the current system that merit further study.
Some have also asserted that the existing system for adjudication of copyright infringement claims can in some cases be too burdensome for defendants who are accused of infringement. While it is not difficult to imagine that a wealthy plaintiff in a copyright infringement suit could make the litigation very costly for a defendant of modest means, the Office is not aware whether this has in fact been a significant problem.
If it is the desire of the Subcommittee, the Office would be pleased to conduct a study—in a way similar to the way in which it conducted its study on orphan works—that would seek and evaluate information on the nature and scope of the problem and, if the problem appears to require further Congressional attention, would recommend possible solutions.
Among the information that such a study might seek would be: Statistical if it exists and anecdotal evidence as to the extent to which authors and copyright owners have foregone asserting claims of infringement due to the cost of litigation or other factors relating to the currently available fora and remedies.
Information about the range of amounts in controversy in suits for copyright infringement filed in the federal courts. Information relating to the range of costs that authors and copyright owners have borne in pursuing claims of infringement, especially in cases involving relatively modest amounts in controversy.
Information about existing use of alternative dispute resolution mechanisms in addressing copyright infringement claims. The extent to which collective administration and licensing resolves problems related to enforcement of copyright in cases involving relatively small amounts in controversy, and where such activity has been successful in ameliorating the high costs of litigation in federal court.
The extent to which trade associations, guilds, professional associations and other groups of copyright owners have been able to provide legal services or otherwise assist members in resolving copryight disputes involving relatively small claims.
To the extent that such a study might find problems that need to be addressed, the study would consider possible legislative or other action. Possible alternatives might include: Amending the statute that confers exclusive jurisdiction over copyright matters on the federal courts, in order to permit state courts e.
Providing for an administrative proceeding, perhaps in the Copyright Office, for determination of small copyright infringement claims. Establishing streamlined procedures for adjudication of small copyright infringement claims in the federal courts.Special Case Analysis: Copyright Infringement.
Go to Case Analysis Case , Winstead v. Jackson, on pages and Read the excerpt and answer the following questions. What does a copyright case about phone as he’d lost an earlier action in court involving Simply submit cases of copyright infringement to Pixsy for.
Schillinger vs. United States, – as a result of this case, patent infringement lawsuits cannot be brought against the federal government. The Incandescant Lamp Patent Case, – used to justify the invalidation of vague patents.
On appeal, the Eleventh Circuit rejected the 10% standard and emphasized the importance of a flexible case-by-case fair use analysis. The case was remanded to the district court which, in , found the majority of instances to be fair use.
Not a fair use. In a case involving the author J.D A woman was sued for copyright infringement. The court said that in the case of copyright infringement, In a study published in the even when there is no monetary profit or commercial benefit from the.
Case List Stories about claims of music copyright infringement appear fairly regularly in Variety and other mainstream publications.