A First Amendment Perspective on the Construction of Third Party Copyright Liability

23 Pages Posted: 28 May 2009 Last revised: 3 Dec 2009

Alfred C. Yen

Boston College - Law School

Date Written: December 2, 2009

Abstract

Third-party copyright liability raises specific First Amendment problems that remain relatively unexplored. Among other things, such liability separates the danger of liability from the benefits of speaking, making key actors prone to careless censorship of speech. This Article applies the First Amendment to third-party copyright liability by drawing lessons from the famous cases of New York Times Co. v. Sullivan and Gertz v. Robert Welch, Inc. It concludes that vicarious liability should be sharply curtailed, and that the application of presumed damages is constitutionally problematic in many contributory liability cases.

Keywords: copyright infringement, New York Times v. Sullivan, Gertz v. Robert Welch, First Amendment

Suggested Citation

Yen, Alfred C., A First Amendment Perspective on the Construction of Third Party Copyright Liability (December 2, 2009). Boston College Law Review, Vol. 50, No. 5, 2009; Boston College Law School Legal Studies Research Paper No. 180. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1407620

Alfred Chueh-Chin Yen (Contact Author)

Boston College - Law School ( email )

885 Centre Street
Newton, MA 02459-1163
United States
617-552-4395 (Phone)
617-552-2615 (Fax)

Paper statistics

Downloads
117
Rank
195,231
Abstract Views
1,231