5.18.2013

A Plug...

When frequent contributor and collaborator Jerry Newhall recently asked for some space on this page for a plug, I was more than happy to oblige. A plug!?! some might say. But not to worry dear readers, he isn't shilling anything dodgy like internet gambling...

As a periodic contributor to BlawgConomics, I've shared my ruminations on subjects from zombies to handbags. And as regular readers know, I'm currently hard at work alongside the Esteemed Editor on a paper examining the nature of Bitcoin. I thought readers might be interested in my take on another intersection of law and technology, criminal copyright.

Along with a sagacious coauthor, I recently accepted an offer from the North Carolina Journal of Law and Technology to publish our article "Criminal Copyright Enforcement Against Filesharing Services." A working draft of the full paper is available on SSRN, but I wanted to summarize the highlights for BlawgConomics readers. (And of course am very interested in reader comments.) From the abstract:

"The high-profile prosecution of the popular online storage website Megaupload for criminal copyright infringement is the latest in a series of recent criminal prosecutions of online filesharing services. But what pushes a legitimate online file-storing business over the edge to criminal enterprise? How might criminal copyright enforcement differ materially from civil enforcement?

This article answers these questions and suggests guidelines for prosecutorial discretion. After a condensed history of criminal copyright law, we explain why "secondary" theories of infringement apply in the criminal, as well as civil, context and why the DMCA "safe harbor" defense is a red herring in criminal copyright actions. We then propose guidelines for prosecutors to consider before bringing a criminal enforcement action against filesharing services including limiting prosecutions to theories of liability already established in civil case law, and targeting only those filesharing-service operators that openly defy civil enforcement actions."

But most important of all, we managed to find a way to cite Batman: Detective Comics. No mention of zombies, but hey, you can't always have it all...

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