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Warez Trading and Criminal Copyright Infringement

Warez Trading and Criminal Copyright Infringement

Goldman, Eric, "Warez Trading and Criminal Copyright Infringement" (January 7, 2004).

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Abstract

    Warez traders have been blamed as a significant cause of copyright piracy, which has led to several dozen conviction of warez traders in the past two years. The article analyzes how criminal copyright infringement and other laws apply to warez trading. The article also describes the prosecutions of warez trading, including a comprehensive chart of all warez trading convictions. The article concludes with a brief policy discussion about the problems created by Congress' effort to criminalize warez trading.

Facts on copyright

  • Typically, a work must meet minimal standards of originality in order to qualify for copyright, and the copyright expires after a set period of time (some jurisdictions may allow this to be extended).
  • Many countries recognize certain moral rights of the author of a copyrighted work, following adoption of the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (which in turn requires, inter alia, the implementation of the relevant provisions in the Berne Convention). Two key moral rights are the right not to have the work altered or destroyed without consent, and the right to be attributed as the author of the work. The Monty Python comedy troupe famously managed to rely on moral rights in 1975 in legal proceedings against American TV network ABC for airing re-edited versions of Monty Python's Flying Circus.
  • Copyright law provides scope for satirical or interpretive works which themselves may be copyrighted. Authors, patrons, and owners of works throughout the ages have tried to direct and control how copies of such works could be used once disseminated to others. Mozart's patron, Baroness von Waldstätten, allowed his compositions to be freely performed, while Handel's patron (George I, the first of the Hanoverian kings) jealously guarded "Water Music.".

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