Monday, November 9, 2009

Parental liability for copyright infringement

Many states in the United States of America impose what is known as vicarious parental liability on parents for the intentional wrongful act of their children, requiring the parents to assume responsibility for damages incurred by their children's tortious behavior, particularly in relation to destruction of property.

Many parents might want to know what kind of liability they have for copyright infringement by their children if their children engage in online piracy of music, movies, games, and so on. The Electronic Freedom Foundation has posted a general bulletin to defense counsel in relevant copyright cases here.

The two main methods the EFF expects copyright holders might use to hold parents liable are vicarious liability or contributory infringement, which means the parents had a role to play as one of the infringers, or the use of state liability laws which impose minors' liability for certain damages on their parents.

I recommend anybody interested in the subject of parental liability for copyright infringement read the memo, as it contains a lot of useful arguments.

RELEVANT LINKS (Open in new window)

EFF Memo Re: Parental Liability for Copyright Infringement by Minor Children

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