RE: [Videolib] copyright liability and librarians

Syp, Marc P. (MSyp@SLPL.LIB.MO.US)
Wed, 28 Apr 2004 10:15:12 -0500

I'd like to point out that converting a damaged 16mm film to video and/or
DVD can be, in itself, a rather complicated and expensive task if done
right, regardless of copyright issues.

Marc Syp
Supervisor, Film Library
St. Louis Public Library

-----Original Message-----
[]On Behalf Of Jed Horovitz
Sent: Wednesday, April 28, 2004 8:54 AM
Subject: [Videolib] copyright liability and librarians

Below is an excerpted from the copyright law regarding damages that makes
the role of librarians very special. The general public can face huge
damages that have no relation to the actual loss caused by an infringement
while librarians have a limit on their (institutional) liability if they are
acting in good faith. I think that this special status is accorded to
librarians to encourage archiving and universal access under a fuzzy rule of

Who will stand up for the future if librarians don't?

And one more time, I am not saying copyright is a bad thing. I don't
believe that 'information wants to be free', I believe information
organizers (writers, photographers, editors, film makers, anthologists,
musicians) want to and should be paid for their work. I am saying that too
much copyright will be the end of new information organizers because it will
lock up all the source material in the hands of the companies that control
previous 'cultural material organizations'. Culture has limits just like
the physical environment. We need to recycle. To recycle, we need to
preserve and copy.


504. Remedies for infringement: Damages and profits
(a) In General. - Except as otherwise provided by this title, an infringer
of copyright is liable for either -

(1) the copyright owner's actual damages and any additional profits of the
infringer, as provided by subsection (b); or

(2) statutory damages, as provided by subsection (c).

(c) Statutory Damages. -

(1) Except as provided by clause (2) of this subsection, the copyright owner
may elect, at any time before final judgment is rendered, to recover,
instead of actual damages and profits, an award of statutory damages for all
infringements involved in the action, with respect to any one work, for
which any one infringer is liable individually, or for which any two or more
infringers are liable jointly and severally, in a sum of not less than $750
or more than $30,000 as the court considers just. For the purposes of this
subsection, all the parts of a compilation or derivative work constitute one

(2) In a case where the copyright owner sustains the burden of proving, and
the court finds, that infringement was committed willfully, the court in its
discretion may increase the award of statutory damages to a sum of not more
than $150,000. In a case where the infringer sustains the burden of proving,
and the court finds, that such infringer was not aware and had no reason to
believe that his or her acts constituted an infringement of copyright, the
court in its discretion may reduce the award of statutory damages to a sum
of not less than $200. The court shall remit statutory damages in any case
where an infringer believed and had reasonable grounds for believing that
his or her use of the copyrighted work was a fair use under section 107, if
the infringer was: (i) an employee or agent of a nonprofit educational
institution, library, or archives acting within the scope of his or her
employment who, or such institution, library, or archives itself, which
infringed by reproducing the work in copies or phonorecords; or (ii) a
public broadcasting entity which or a person who, as a regular part of the
nonprofit activities of a public broadcasting entity (as defined in
subsection (g) of section 118) infringed by performing a published
nondramatic literary work or by reproducing a transmission program embodying
a performance of such a work.

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