This morning the Commerce Department’s Internet Policy Task Force released a long-awaited “White Paper on Remixes, First Sale, and Statutory Damages.” The paper stems from a July 2013 “Green Paper” on copyright issues, which DisCo covered here. Following the Green Paper, Commerce convened 4 regional roundtables in mid-2014 to hear from stakeholders on three copyright subjects flagged for further review: (1) remix, (2) first sale, and (3) statutory damages. That process and related notices for comment led to today’s report.
So what does it say? While it’s hard to do a 100+ page paper justice in a few sentences, in short, the paper is supportive of remix culture and consumers’ rights to resell what they own (the first sale doctrine), but doesn’t recommend any changes to copyright law to facilitate these activities, or to respond to changes resulting from digital technology. On statutory damages, however, the Task Force does suggest copyright law should be updated. It points to reforms that could help courts and juries determine more equitable damages, and that would mitigate the chill on investment and innovation that disproportionate damages causes. (Commerce also expresses support for a small claims copyright process, a subject that the Copyright Office explored in a 2013 report.) MORE »