Complications in Cyberspace: "The Problem Is That What Makes Sense for Liability in Criminal Law Does Not Necessarily Make Sense in the World of Intellectual Property"

USA TODAY, December 2009 | Go to article overview

Complications in Cyberspace: "The Problem Is That What Makes Sense for Liability in Criminal Law Does Not Necessarily Make Sense in the World of Intellectual Property"


The struggle of American courts to control the explosion of intellectual property rights violations on soma of the most traveled highways of cyberspace poses a legal challenge to the judicial system with implications that could threaten the survival of websites clicked on by the average Internet user every day, according to Mark Bartholomew, an associate professor of law at the University at Buffalo (N.Y.). A disturbing trend in these complicated copyright and trademark cases is a judicial tendency to borrow precedents from criminal law, notes Bartholomew in "Cops, Robbers and Search Engines: The Questionable Role of Criminal Law in Contributory Infringemant Doctrine"

He adds: "The problem is that what makes sense for liability in criminal law does not necessarily make sense in the world of intellectual property. It turns out that the rules of criminal law are based on very different theoretical justifications than the rules of intellectual property law."

Much of the issue revolves around what is known as "contributory infringement law," a legal principle that deals with someone or an organization that helps someone else commit an act of copyright or trademark infringement. This can occur either by encouraging infringers, renting out commercial space where they could sell illegal material, or providing money or technological expertise to copy something from cyberspace illegally "Technically speaking, none of these entities would be guilty of infringement because they did not do the illegal copying themselves but, under the doctrine of contributory infringement, they can be held liable and suffer the same legal penalties as the direct infringer, the person who did the copying."

The idea of "contributory infringement" is much more common than the legal term would indicate. Mainstream search engines such as Google, Internet auction houses such as eBay, and credit card companies such as Visa all have faced major litigation accusing them or their employees of knowing others were using their services to copy information illegally, and holding them responsible for the infringement of others. Colleges and universities who provide the computer infrastructure that allows students to post and download digital files of copyrighted works illegally also have been charged under these contributory infringement laws.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

"Think of any major website you use that allows people to post content or search the Internet," Bartholomew says. "Chances are that website has had to think long and hard about potential liability for contributory infringement."

The problem comes when judges look to use the legal grounds utilized to punish those convicted of criminal laws for those charged with violating intellectual property rights, maintains Bartholomew. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Complications in Cyberspace: "The Problem Is That What Makes Sense for Liability in Criminal Law Does Not Necessarily Make Sense in the World of Intellectual Property"
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.