One of the regular claims from the major labels and their representative groups, like the RIAA and BPI, is that copyright infringement is serious business, and everyone "knows" when copyright is being infringed. They always seem to brush off any claims of accidental infringement as if that's impossible. And then, of course, they get caught doing it themselves. Over the weekend, TorrentFreak had the story of how both the RIAA and BPI violated the terms of licenses
for open source software they used on their website, which makes it infringing. To their credit, both organizations fixed the violations pretty quickly upon being contacted, but it again raises a larger point. With the state of copyright law today, it's incredibly easy to infringe. Law professor John Tehranian did some research a few years ago, into how much of his normal daily activity could be considered copyright infringement, and realized that under today's insane statutory damages rules, he had a daily liability of $12.45 million
-- and that wasn't because he was downloading music. It was just everyday activities that people do all the time.
So, there shouldn't be anything wrong
with the RIAA and BPI screwing up like this and infringing on some copyrights. It happens. But one would hope this leads those organizations to realize that their extreme claims about copyright infringement and
their ridiculous support for statutory damages are way out of line with reality. But, since they remain such big supporters of statutory damages, and always seem to push for the maximum, would each organization be willing to donate $150,000 (the statutory maximum) to the open source projects which each of them used without a proper license? It seems only fair.