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A Quick and Inexpensive System for Resolving Digital Copyright Disputes

Abstract

We have argued elsewhere that peer-to-peer (p2p) file sharing poses significant new challenges to the enforcement of copyright law. Copyright owners' initial response to these challenges - to try to shut down the technologies that facilitate file sharing - is bad for society. We suggested that it would be preferable to lower enforcement costs for copyright owners by making dispute resolution by copyright owners against direct infringers quick and cheap, so that copyright owners would be more inclined to pursue such direct infringers instead of suing innovators. While enforcement costs are likely always to be too great to allow pursuit of every infringer, lower costs would allow for enforcement against more infringers, increasing any given infringer's chance of being sued. In this article, we explain how such a dispute resolution system might work, and propose a draft amendment to the copyright act to implement the system.

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