Journal of Economic Perspectives: Vol. 17 No. 2 (Spring 2003)
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Indirect Liability for Copyright Infringement: Napster and Beyond
Landes, William, and Douglas Lichtman. 2003. "Indirect Liability for Copyright Infringement: Napster and Beyond ." Journal of Economic Perspectives, 17(2): 113-124.
When individuals infringe copyright, they often use tools, services, and venues provided by other parties. An enduring legal question asks to what extent those other parties should be held liable for the resulting infringement. For example, should a firm that produces photocopiers be required to compensate authors for any unauthorized copies made on that firm's machines? What about firms that manufacture personal computers or offer Internet access; should they be held liable, at least in part, for online music piracy? In this essay, we examine how modern copyright law addresses these questions and we evaluate the resulting system on economic grounds.
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