US Commerce Department wants courts to be kinder, gentler to file sharers

16 01 2017
A US Department of Commerce task force recommended Thursday that Congress alter the Copyright Act in a bid that likely would reduce financial damages for file sharing copyright scofflaws.

The recommendations from the agency’s Internet Policy Task Force don’t call for doing away with the maximum $150,000 in damages available to rights holders per infringement. But if Congress adopts the task force’s recommendations, it’s doubtful there would be large awards, as one of the recommendations would require juries to consider a file sharer’s ability to pay and, among other things, the actual value of the works that were infringed.

“We believe that litigants and courts would be well-served by requiring consideration of a uniform set of factors designed to result in an appropriate award based upon the facts of each case,” said the report from the task force, which included members from the US Patent and Trademark Office, The National Telecommunications and Information Administration, and other Commerce Department entities.


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