By , April 08, 2011.

5 Mistakes “Anti-Copyrights” Constantly Make — PlagiarismToday’s Jonathan Bailey has an excellent article looking at the common errors of those who want to drastically reduce or eliminate copyright protection. I think number one is an especially common mistake: “Blaming the law for morons.”

A Mounting Crusade for Criminal Activity — A news conference was held this past week addressing recent efforts to reduce the ease and profit of digital piracy. The Copyright Alliance notes the predictable and troubling rhetoric from those opposed to such efforts — including the misuse of terms like “censorship”, which “is at best silly and at worst a dramatic and somewhat shocking shift in the definition of the very important principle of free speech.”

Direct Reporting: Tenenbaum Oral Argument — Oral argument for Sony BMG Music Entertainment v. Tenenbaum was heard this week. Joel Sage, at Legally Sociable, attended in person and shares his thoughts. You’ll find lots of links to the briefs and other analysis there, a link to the audio of the arguments, and a lengthy comment from one of the law students working on Tenenbaum’s appeal.

Google Books Settlement Unraveled — On March 30th, the Copyright Clearance Center presented a webinar to discuss the rejection of the Amended Settlement Agreement in the Google Books Settlement. The webinar is archived on the site, along with a link to a text transcript. Really great discussion regarding the issues in the case and what the rejection means, as well as an excellent and succinct history of the litigation. That alone is well worth a read if you want to know what the Settlement is all about.

The Discography — Billing itself as the “Legal Encyclopedia of Popular Music”, this site features “1,300 entries covering 2,400 court opinions (including over 30,000 pieces of data) spanning almost 200 years, fully summarized and searchable by numerous variables, featuring nearly every artist you’ll think of (many you won’t), covering copyrights and contracts, trusts, torts and more.” Quite a great resource!

Facebook Self-Publishing Ventures Keep Cloning — Not particularly copyright related, but fascinating nevertheless. Did you know there are currently at least seven different services that offer on-demand publishing of your Facebook profile in book form? Leading future archaeologists to the inevitable conclusion that ” Gosh, twenty-first century people sure ‘liked’ a lot of stuff.”

Beastie Boys – Make Some Noise — Finally, for any Beastie Boys fans out there, the group has released a track from their upcoming album, Hot Sauce Committee Part 2. The trio also has a companion short film with quite a cast list: Will Ferrell, Elijah Wood, Seth Rogen, Danny McBride, John C. Reilly, Jack Black, Susan Sarandon, Stanley Tucci, Will Arnett, Ted Danson, Steve Buscemi, and many more.

Check the preview below (warning: adult language).



  1. “If everyone can stop making the stupid copyright blunders that pollute the legal and political environment, cease seeing those who disagree with us as “evil” and start dealing with the actual issues rather than the rhetoric, we might start to get somewhere and bring civility to the copyright debates”

    That has to be the best thing out of Bailey’s article that I’ve seen from any others.

  2. Terry,

    I’m curious. Where do you come down on the damages issue in Tenenbaum? Do you: (1) think that $675K for 30 songs is unconstitutional, and/or (2) think that $675K for 30 songs is unreasonable?

    I think the damages are unreasonable. I’m on the fence about whether or not they’re unconstitutional. For me, the real issue is whether we’re punishing him for only his own actions, or are we punishing him for the actions of others. If it’s the former, then the damages are not reasonable, IMO.

    • I’ll probably write up a separate post on the Tenenbaum trial in the near future, I haven’t read through the briefs too closely yet.

      Initial thoughts, I don’t think the damage award is unconstitutional. As to any questions of reasonableness, I think this case is the wrong forum to address them. Additionally, Tenenbaum’s team advance a number of arguments that are troubling outside the question of however one feels about this particular amount for this particular defendant. For one, the idea that a judge shouldn’t apply the plain text of a statute — and I think the meaning of 504(c) is very clear — is characterized as an adherence to “textualism” as though judges should be free to read in limitations and exceptions when no ambiguities exist runs counter to the rule of law.

      For now, Steven Ayr has a great first-hand look at the arguments on his blog, and Copygrounds ran a post from Matthew Oppenheim on statutory damages from the label’s perspective last year that’s worth a read.

      • Mr. Hart,

        Perhaps the most comprehensive and authorative souce of information regarding this case can be found at Ben Sheffner’s “Copyrights and Campaigns”. It contains copies of the record going all the way back to the filing of the original complaint.

        You might also find interesting an “online debate” between him and Ms. Samuelson (Boalt) concerning the issue of statutory damages. That “debate” can also be found on the above-noted site.

        I have to believe that Judge Gertner rues the day she asked Mr. Nesson to enter the fray.