Do The Statutory Damages Rates For Copyright Infringement Violate The Eighth Amendment?

from the questions,-questions dept

While we often discuss the rather large conflict between the First Amendment and copyright law in the US, Stephan Kinsella is also wondering if the current statutory damages rates in copyright also violate the Eight Amendment and its prohibition on "excessive fines." I somewhat wonder if that issue will come up in the Jammie Thomas appeal, which will focus heavily on whether or not an award within the statutory damages rates was too high, but I believe the focus there will be more on the Fourteenth Amendment, and whether or not it was a violation of due process. In fact, it seems like most of the Constitutional discussions on statutory rates focuses on the Fourteenth Amendment, rather than the Eighth. I'm certainly not a Constitutional scholar (and would love for legal scholars to chime in here), but I believe this is because the courts historically treat these two amendments as related, and effectively argue that the 8th Amendment's ban on cruel and unusual punishment is applied via the 14th Amendment on due process when it involves state laws. So I'm not entirely clear why it's also being used on a federal copyright issue -- but I'm sure someone out there will help explain it to us in the comments shortly!

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Sep 2011 @ 12:59pm

    Re: Re: Re: Common sense.... So damned rare, it's now a superhuman power

    She is a seeder.

    Part of the wonderful world of P2P is that everyone who shares can be considered a seed as well. Seeding of a completed download is pretty much the default of uTorrent and others.

    That she is not the first seeder doesn't minimize her impact. She can choose not to share, not to download, or she can choose to break the law, and help others to do so as well. The original seeder and everyone between to her bears some responsiblity as well (they each performed illegal acts), and by perpetuating the file, she too has encouraged others to do the same.

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