3 Count: AP Assault

This is daily column on Plagiarism Today where the site brings you three of the days biggest, most important copyright and plagiarism news links. If you want to offer your feedback on the column, use the contact form or just follow me on Twitter at @plagiarismtoday.

1: High-Court Nominee Mirrors Industry Copyright Stance

First off today, Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor is having her judicial opinions and history picked apart and one of the elements being analyzed is whether she supports the high potential damages that can be awarded in cases of copyright infringement, up to $150,000 per infringement.

As many debate the constitutionality of such high statutory damages, Sotomayor has, in at least one case during her history, come down on the side of content lobby, finding that a high statutory damages were reasonable in a case where a boxing promoter sued a series of bars and taverns for unauthorized public performance of their event.

Sotomayor has said that she feels the statutory damages, in cases of willful copyright infringement should be high in order to deter copyright infringement and should not be limited to the amount of revenue actually lost.

It is possible, if not likely, that these damages may be tested by the Supreme Court while Sotomayor is a justice should she be seated.

2: AP: tech coming to stop “wholesale theft” on ‘Net

Next up, the Associated Press today is talking more about their upcoming plans to police the Web for their content. They previously had warned about a new upcoming system that would let them track and stop misuse of their work but provided few details. Today, they’ve provided at least a little bit more information.

The AP, in an interview with Ars Technica, explained that their concern is not bloggers that cite a few passages or those who use a paragraph with a link, but rather “wholesale theft” of their work, namely full articles. Their new system, which they will be launching soon, is designed to look for such misuses and then then forward on the instances to a lawyer or paralegal who makes the decisions about what action should be taken. Everything is handled on a case-by-case basis.

The AP also took steps to distance itself from the Drudge Retort controversy and to explain that it is a supporter of fair use, largely because they use it so much themselves. However, I have to wonder how Shephard Fairey views that statement….

3: Endless original, copyright-free music

Finally, for those who are tired of paying licensing fees for background music or are sick of short, mind-numbing loops, the University of Grenada has developed a new application that can, with very little input, generate pleasing and copyright-free music.

The idea is that this application can replace music played in the background of stores, office buildings and other places, saving money and reducing the risk for copyright troubles.

There is no word yet whether ASCAP or other licensing boards are at all worried about this invention.


That’s it for the three count today, we’ll be back tomorrow with three more copyright links. If you have a link that you want to suggest a link for the column or have any proposals to make it better. Feel free to leave a comment or send me an email. I hope to hear from you.

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