Scoff at copyright law at your peril…

More trouble ahead for copyright scofflaws – Ask the Editors | Tri-City Herald : Mid-Columbia news .

The RIAA cases may have ground to a slow halt, but that does not mean that the copyright laws are to be ignored.

The Associated Press v. All Headline News case in New York settled with an undisclosed settlement payable to AP for the unauthorized use of AP stories and headlines by All Headline News. This case stresses the doctrine, first established by the US Supreme Court in 1918, that facts cannot be copyrighted but “hot news” gives a publisher the right to sue and collect damages even on facts.

In Europe, publishers have renewed their outcry for tough copyright laws protecting written materials as the publishers consider that the internet may provide them with additional streams of revenue.

Remember, in the US, the only two factors in a copyright infringement suit that plaintiff must prove are (1) a valid copyright exists and (2) a substantially similar copy exists. That’s it. No intent need be shown. No money need change hands. Copyright infringement is strict liability land. And damages are stiff.