Who Foots The Bill
“Financial Jihad” from RedPlanetCartoons.com.
Ars Technica reports that copyright advocates in the UK received a boon earlier this year: Internet Service Providers will be required to pay 25% of the costs when one of their customers is accused of copyright infringement.
Admittedly, this isn’t exactly like paying 25% of the fine, but it still puts the ISP in a very bad position. It’s akin to asking a car company to pay 25% of the costs when someone driving one of their cars receives speeding ticket.
Just because the British legal system is screwing things up more doesn’t mean that everyone is making the same mistakes. In fact, to protect citizens against libel tourism (the act of going overseas to sue in a court that’s more friendly to victims of libel free speech), the US passed a bill in July that shields its journalists, authors and publishers from such frivolous legal excursions. Unfortunately, much like ill-applied shield laws, it’s unclear who might not fall under this label of journalists, authors and publishers. Techdirt may be the first to find out how far reaching the law is, as UK citizen Jeffrey Morris has filed suit over comments on the site.
It’s unfortunate to think that the US government, while looking out for the First Amendment rather admirably, is still in the position of deciding who will or won’t be protected. After all, the US Supreme Court already set the precedent that bloggers aren’t necessarily journalists back in 2006, a precedent which is still under scrutiny this year.