Academic journal article Federal Communications Law Journal

Making Protection against Copyright Infringement More Accessible in the Social Media Era

Academic journal article Federal Communications Law Journal

Making Protection against Copyright Infringement More Accessible in the Social Media Era

Article excerpt

                           TABLE OF CONTENTS    I. INTRODUCTION                                                  377  II. BACKGROUND                                                    379      A. The Following Section Provides an Overview of the General         Mechanics of Twitter as Well as a Few Examples That         Illustrate the Issue This Note Addresses                   379      B. Current Legal Framework                                    383         1. Copyrightability of Tweets                              383         2. Copyright Infringement                                  384      C. Current Remedies for Infringement, and Why They Are Not         Always Applicable/Effective                                385      D. A Look at Registration                                     387      E. The Following Section Provides Background Information on         the CASE Act                                               390 III. NEED FOR REFORM                                               391  IV. SOLUTION                                                      392      A. Prong I: Eliminate the Registration Requirement to         Collect Statutory Damages and Costs and Attorney's         Fees in Instances Where the Publication of the Content         on Twitter and/or Other Social Media Platforms Serves         the Purpose the Copyright Registration Would Have Served   392         1. The Amendment in Prong I Should Include a Maximum            Amount of Damages to Be Collected                       395      B. Prong II: The CASE Act Should Award Prevailing Plaintiffs         Attorney's Fees in Cases Where the Defendant Prefers to         Have the Case Heard in Court as Opposed to Having It         Heard in the Small Claims Court Proposed by the Bill       395         1. Congress Should Adopt Prong I Without Any            Contingencies and Adopt Prong II Contingent Upon the            Passing of the CASE Act                                 396   V. POLICY NEED                                                   397  VI. CONCLUSION                                                    398 

I. INTRODUCTION

With the increased use of various social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram, the process of sharing ideas has become progressively easier and more widespread. These platforms have also become spaces where creators can publish their work (1) Whether it be a comedian sharing originally written jokes, a writer sharing stories, or an artist posting a graphic, these platforms have become creative hubs for artists having access to fast publication of their work (2) While these forums are pretty remarkable ways to create and consume culture, they also create problems. (3)

One of the problems created by this method of sharing is social media users taking the original works of other users, commercializing them, and profiting off this commercialization without any attribution to or compensation for the original authors. (4) The current mechanisms in place for collecting damages for copyright infringement are either impractical or inapplicable for Twitter users who do not seek to obtain registration for the works they publish through the social media platform and other platforms like it due to the high cost of attorney's fees. (5)

As the way we create and consume culture changes, the nature of the mechanisms we have in place for protecting original content creators against copyright infringement must change as well. One barrier that needs to be eliminated to better protect these authors is the registration prerequisite for copyright owners to collect statutory damages and attorney's fees under the Copyright Act of 1976. (6) Authors will be better protected if this barrier is eliminated because they will have easier access to adequate relief. The collection of attorney's fees specifically would enable authors who couldn't previously bring suit due to financial concerns to bring suit once the barrier is eliminated. …

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