The ill-conceived and draconian PRO-IP Act got some of its feathers clipped by the elimination of a requirement known as Section 104 of the proposed bill to treat compilations of music as a separate violations. Had this been allowed to stand, the fines would have been multiplied many times, because they’d be determined based upon the sum of the violations and not by treating the incident as the violation itself.
For example, if someone sold a compilation of copyrighted tracks from multiple sources for which they did not have the rights, the fines would sum over the number of tracks at $150,000 each. A ten-track CD would require a fine of $1.5 million. If it was a publication that got hold of a host of materials, from text to pictures, the fines could be astronomical. As it stands now, violations will be determined on a per-incident basis, rather than a sum of individual violations.
The argument in favor of this approach describes the current fines being sufficiently high without being excessive (some make the argument that they are, in fact, excessive). Consider the possibility that a company makes a good-faith mistake of publishing copyrighted materials it thought it licensed but had not. Had Section 104 stood, such a mistake could expose the company to immediate bankruptcy – which is certainly not the intent of the law. (Although it could be the intent of the RIAA and MPAA, since those organizations represent entities that are failing to compete well through normal business practice.)
For a complete round-up, check out the article on Ars Technica.
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