Friday 20 January 2012

Automated half-hour TV trials for small copyright claims?

After the mega-controversies over SOPA/PIPA and Megaupload, it's good to see that the US has not lost sight of the smaller picture. This blog is reminded by Rob Kunstadt that, back in October of last year, the US Copyright Office requested suggestions for the handling of small copyright claims [Federal Register of October 27, 2011, Docket No. 2011-10]. Together with Professor Fritjof Haft (Professor of Law and Legal Informatics, EBS Law School, Wiesbaden, Germany) Rob has responded to this request with a 16-page comment which you can read here. In essence, Rob explains:
"The first prong is to institute special procedural rules to expedite such cases. The procedural rules must be designed so that the desired effect is achieved automatically, by ‘social engineering’ … A set of such rules for efficiently handling small business disputes has already been proposed by co-author Kunstadt, and they were published under the title ‘Half-hour Trials, as on TV’ in the National Law Journal of March 13, 2000, p. A22. They may readily be implemented for the handling of small copyright cases. 
The second necessary prong is use of computer-automation to facilitate the preparation and disposition of small copyright cases by easing the workflow for parties and judges. Work on such automation is already underway and it has been implemented in Germany by co-author Haft, in connection with NORMFALL software for expedited case-handling on a ‘one-write’ basis." (pp. 3-4).
This blogger is fascinated with the notion of social engineering as a means of resolving small copyright disputes, but wonders whether the world is ready for it ...

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