Copyright Alert Enforcement: Six Strikes and Privacy Harms

49 Pages Posted: 6 Feb 2016

See all articles by Ben Depoorter

Ben Depoorter

UC Hastings Law; Ugent - CASLE; Stanford Law School Center for Internet & Society

Alain Van Hiel

Ghent University - Department of Developmental, Personality and Social Psychology

Date Written: February 4, 2016

Abstract

Copyright holders have deployed a wide range of enforcement strategies this past decade. In an initial, punitive stage, content industries targeted individual copyright infringers by way of an extensive settlement demand campaign and obtained statutory damage awards in a few high profile file-sharing lawsuits. Recently however, copyright holders drastically reversed course, abandoning punitive measures in favor of a “copyright information approach” that enlists Internet service providers into sending copyright infringement notifications to subscribers.

Commentators have welcomed this shift towards copyright alert systems as providing a more balanced approach to copyright enforcement that might improve copyright law’s normative acceptance. Copyright industries are optimistic that the new copyright alert system will increase copyright awareness and decrease copyright infringing behavior.

This Article shows that the optimism with copyright law’s recent developments is misplaced. Based on social science research and insights from an empirical study conducted for this Article, we argue that architects of the copyright alert system have underestimated the robustness of social norms and have failed to anticipate the negative reactions to a copyright information system, in particular as relating to privacy harms.

Keywords: copyright, empirical study

Suggested Citation

Depoorter, Ben and Van Hiel, Alain, Copyright Alert Enforcement: Six Strikes and Privacy Harms (February 4, 2016). 39 Columbia Journal of Law & the Arts 233 (2015), UC Hastings Research Paper No. 165, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2728054

Ben Depoorter (Contact Author)

UC Hastings Law ( email )

200 McAllister Street
San Francisco, CA 94102
United States

Ugent - CASLE ( email )

Universiteitstraat 4
Belgium

Stanford Law School Center for Internet & Society ( email )

559 Nathan Abbott Way
Stanford, CA 94305-8610
United States

Alain Van Hiel

Ghent University - Department of Developmental, Personality and Social Psychology ( email )

Ghent, B-9000
Belgium

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