BSA Wants To Export Insane Statutory Damages For Copyright Infringement To Other Countries
from the going-in-the-wrong-direction dept
The BSA's latest move is -- once again relying on its own bogus stats -- to suggest that Europe and other parts of the world need to import the horrible "statutory damages" for copyright concept that the US uses, effectively ratcheting up the punishment for infringement without ever having to show actual damages.
As the European Union considers changes to its intellectual property rules, it needs to make sure that higher damage payments deter pirates, who often benefit because of insufficient fines, said Warren Weertman, manager of legal affairs for Washington-based Business Software Alliance....Of course, this is ridiculous for a few different reasons. First off, the BSA is (as noted above) famous for concocting ridiculously bogus calculations of "damages" from infringement. And here, suddenly, they're afraid to bring those stats into court to prove actual damages? Seems like the BSA is basically admitting that it knows its own numbers are complete bunk.
“Lump sum damages would act more as a deterrent than having two actuaries fight it out in a costly court case,” Weertman said in a phone interview from London. “It’s a vicious circle where the damages aren’t deterrent enough.”
Second, and more importantly, Weertman seems to have fallen sway to the total myth that greater enforcement stops infringement. This has been debunked so many times, it's not even funny. When even the death penalty doesn't deter infringement, you would think that people would start to realize that ratcheting up enforcement isn't the answer. Earlier this year, we pointed to the massive, incredibly thorough SSRC report on media piracy which presented tremendous amounts of evidence that greater enforcement does not slow down infringement.
If anything, greater enforcement and ridiculously high statutory awards for infringement do the exact opposite of what the BSA thinks it's supporting. That is, when people hear about crazy amounts of money owed for sharing just a few infringing files, it doesn't make them respect copyright law more. It makes them think that the numbers are so out of touch with reality, that copyright law itself is a joke. It makes people respect the law even less. And yet here are the clueless BSA execs thinking it's a smart strategy.