Sag (2015b)

From Copyright EVIDENCE

Advertising Architectural Publishing of books, periodicals and other publishing Programming and broadcasting Computer programming Computer consultancy Creative, arts and entertainment Cultural education

Film and motion pictures Sound recording and music publishing Photographic activities PR and communication Software publishing (including video games) Specialised design Television programmes Translation and interpretation

1. Relationship between protection (subject matter/term/scope) and supply/economic development/growth/welfare 2. Relationship between creative process and protection - what motivates creators (e.g. attribution; control; remuneration; time allocation)? 3. Harmony of interest assumption between authors and publishers (creators and producers/investors) 4. Effects of protection on industry structure (e.g. oligopolies; competition; economics of superstars; business models; technology adoption) 5. Understanding consumption/use (e.g. determinants of unlawful behaviour; user-generated content; social media)

A. Nature and Scope of exclusive rights (hyperlinking/browsing; reproduction right) B. Exceptions (distinguish innovation and public policy purposes; open-ended/closed list; commercial/non-commercial distinction) C. Mass digitisation/orphan works (non-use; extended collective licensing) D. Licensing and Business models (collecting societies; meta data; exchanges/hubs; windowing; crossborder availability) E. Fair remuneration (levies; copyright contracts) F. Enforcement (quantifying infringement; criminal sanctions; intermediary liability; graduated response; litigation and court data; commercial/non-commercial distinction; education and awareness)

Source Details

Sag (2015b)
Title: Copyright Trolling, An Empirical Study
Author(s): Sag, M.
Year: 2015
Citation: Sag, M. (2015) Copyright Trolling, An Empirical Study. 100 Iowa L. Rev. 1105
Link(s): Open Access
Key Related Studies:
Discipline:
Linked by:
About the Data
Data Description: Data were collected from all copyright cases filed in federal district courts in the US between January 1 2001 and March 31 2014, focussing on cases including “John Doe” or “Doe” in the title.
Data Type: Primary data
Secondary Data Sources:
Data Collection Methods:
Data Analysis Methods:
Industry(ies):
Country(ies):
Cross Country Study?: No
Comparative Study?: No
Literature review?: No
Government or policy study?: No
Time Period(s) of Collection:
  • January 2001 - March 2014
Funder(s):

Abstract

“This detailed empirical and doctrinal study of copyright trolling presents new data showing the astonishing rate of growth of multi-defendant John Doe litigation in United States district courts over the past decade. It also presents new evidence of the association between this form of litigation and allegations of infringement concerning pornographic films. Multi-defendant John Doe lawsuits have become the most common form of copyright litigation in several U.S. districts, and in districts such as the Northern District of Illinois, copyright litigation involving pornography accounts for more than half of new cases. This Article highlights a fundamental oversight in the literature on copyright trolls. Paralleling discussions in patent law, scholars addressing the troll issue in copyright have applied status-based definitions to determine who is, and is not, a troll. This Article argues that the definition should be conduct-based. Multi-defendant John Doe litigation should be considered copyright trolling whenever it is motivated by a desire to turn litigation into an independent revenue stream. Such litigation, when initiated with the aim of turning a profit in the courthouse as opposed to seeking compensation or deterring illegal activity, reflects a kind of systematic opportunism that fits squarely within the concept of litigation trolling. This Article shows that existing status-based definitions of copyright trolls do not account for what is now arguably the most prevalent form of trolling. In addition to these empirical and theoretical contributions, this Article shows how statutory damages and permissive joinder make multi-defendant John Doe litigation possible and why allegations of infringement concerning pornographic films are particularly well-suited to this model.”

Main Results of the Study

The study traces the rise in multi-defendant John Doe cases to 2013/2014, where they account for over 43% and 46% of the filings respectively. Three quarters of the claims made in 2013 related to pornography. The study speculates that this may be due to the nature of the industry itself, which necessarily may threaten the defendant with public exposure thus creating additional incentive to settle the case. Further, a small number of entrepreneurial law firms appear to be responsible for the majority of these claims, with the names of non-settling defendants being published on their website.

Policy Implications as Stated By Author

The study submits three reform proposals to mitigate the problem of copyright trolling: first, to reform statutory damages which currently may be used as a coercive tool; second, by denying joinder and severing cases, thus increasing the cost considerations of the plaintiff, and; third, by granting conditional joinder and other safeguards relating to e.g. the amount claimed in statutory damages.



Coverage of Study

Coverage of Fundamental Issues
Issue Included within Study
Relationship between protection (subject matter/term/scope) and supply/economic development/growth/welfare
Relationship between creative process and protection - what motivates creators (e.g. attribution; control; remuneration; time allocation)?
Harmony of interest assumption between authors and publishers (creators and producers/investors)
Effects of protection on industry structure (e.g. oligopolies; competition; economics of superstars; business models; technology adoption)
Understanding consumption/use (e.g. determinants of unlawful behaviour; user-generated content; social media)
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Coverage of Evidence Based Policies
Issue Included within Study
Nature and Scope of exclusive rights (hyperlinking/browsing; reproduction right)
Exceptions (distinguish innovation and public policy purposes; open-ended/closed list; commercial/non-commercial distinction)
Mass digitisation/orphan works (non-use; extended collective licensing)
Licensing and Business models (collecting societies; meta data; exchanges/hubs; windowing; crossborder availability)
Fair remuneration (levies; copyright contracts)
Enforcement (quantifying infringement; criminal sanctions; intermediary liability; graduated response; litigation and court data; commercial/non-commercial distinction; education and awareness)
Green-tick.png

Datasets

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