Tag Archives: United-States

Sovereign Immunity and Copyright Law

Sovereign Immunity and Copyright Law

Sovereign Immunity ImagePhotographer Mike Boatman recently discovered that one of his images had been infringed in a very egregious way. The infringer took his photo, not even bothering to remove the watermark, and used it prominently in a promotional site designed to drum up to attract new customers.

While he got attribution for his image, as a professional photographer who licenses his work, it was not just an infringement, but a direct affront to his business. However, Boatman had covered his bases and the work was properly registered with the U.S. Copyright Office. It seemed like an open and shut case for a lawsuit.

Unfortunately, Boatman ran into a very serious problem. The infringer wasn’t a corporation or a person, but rather, the University of North Carolina Asheville. Suing them, as Boatman would soon learn, is nearly impossible due to a concept known as sovereign immunity, a rule that makes it nearly impossible to drag state and state agencies being a into a federal court and collect damages.

It’s a bizarre quirk in the law that allows states, and various bodies under them, such as UNC Asheville, to infringe with relative immunity. Though there have been multiple attempts to close this loophole, they have not been successful and there is no clear solution to the problem on the horizon.

As such, it’s crucial for every content creator, large and small, to be aware of the rules surrounding sovereign immunity and, more importantly, what your options are if your work is infringed by a state government entity.Continue Reading

3 Count: House of Lords

Have any suggestions for the 3 Count? Let me know via Twitter @plagiarismtoday. 1: Digital Economy Bill approved by House of Lords First off today, the House of Lords in the UK has approved the Digital Economy Bill, paving the way for a “three strikes” system in the country and also for the blocking ofContinue Reading

The Need to Modernize the DMCA Agent List

Previously on this site, I’ve talked about how the DMCA agent list suffers from decay and is slipping into antiquity. Already, I only reference the U.S. Copyright Office’s list when the information isn’t readily available on the host’s Web site due both to hosts who haven’t registered with the USCO and hosts who haven’t maintainedContinue ReadingContinue Reading