Re:Create Recap December 5, 2019

How Copyright Trolls Work In Practice. Techdirt highlighted how copyright trolls take advantage of ordinary Americans’ lack of legal knowledge to demand more money than is even allowable under the law. In some cases, a rightsholder can only obtain “actual damages” rather than statutory damages, which must exclude attorney’s fees. Because most Americans aren’t certain of the law, they just send a check for the amount that the troll claims — even when that amount is much higher than the stated licensing fee. For example, a small non-profit received a demand for $1,000 for a photo used in a newsletter nearly a decade ago.

Copyright In The Supreme Court. This week the Supreme Court heard arguments for whether the annotated version of Georgia’s code can be copyrighted. News media and civil rights organizations have argued the annotated code represents “the official law of the state of Georgia” and therefore should be freely available to the public. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court also agreed to hear arguments this spring in the Oracle v Google lawsuit — a decision which will have widespread effects for software development and the fair use of copyrighted software.

How To Fix The “Vaultification” Of The Movie Biz. Between Disney’s control of 40% of the box office and its acquisition of 21st Century Fox, a Washington Post columnist explored how an increasing number of movies are becoming inaccessible to the public. Disney has already made it more difficult for movie theaters to show classic, second-run films; many movies are also not available on streaming or new DVDs. He suggests that “copyright protections could be tied to improved consumer access: corporations can maintain their control of a work only so long as consumers are offered an opportunity to purchase the works…copyright serves neither public nor private interest when protected works are simply locked away, ignored and unloved.”