Technology Trouble

Examining the Rights and Responsibilities of Consumers

High School Student Sells Copyrighted Movies

The market for bootleg copies of movies has been running rampant for the past couple of years. Yorktown high school student James Cameron has been selling DVDs of current movies for months. His business was short lived however, as police questioned James and found his stash of unsold copyrighted films. The police are currently questioning James's parents to see if they had any involvement with this issue. Apparently, the police found out about James Cameron through his school administrator. The administrator had heard about the high schooler's activities through James fellow classmates who would rather remain anonymous. The administrator had mentioned that the classmates were rather reluctant to mention anything, not wanting to see James get in trouble. They felt that, as responsible consumers, it was their job to report this. Regardless, his case will be seen by a federal court sometime in December.

Copyright Warnings

Section 106 of Copyright Law states that an individual cannot reproduce the work, prepare "derivative" works based on work, distribute copies of the work, perform the work publicly, and display the work publicly under any and all circumstance. Copyright infringement is generally a civil matter, which the copyright owner must pursue in a federal court. Under certain circumstances the infringement may also constitute for a criminal misdemeanor or felony, which would be prosecuted by the U.S. Department of Justice. The infringer pays the actual dollar amount of damages and profits, the law provides a range from $200-$150,000 for each work infringed along with paying for all attorney fees and court costs. The court can also issue an injunction to stop the infringing acts and the court can impound the illegal works while the infringer can go to jail.