A new piece of copyright legislation being debated by congress, The Shawn Bentley Orphan Act, may change the way copyright infringement awards are made by the courts.
This bill would limit the amount of damages a copyright holder could collect from an infringer if the infringer performed a diligent search for the copyright holder before using their work.
While aiming to open up unclaimed intellectual property to free use, the law creates a loophole for those who don't maintain adequate ownership records on their work.
Personally, we feel that this legislation would be effective at stemming the tide of frivolous lawsuits because
- it places the burden of actively monitoring registrations on copyright owners
- it keeps promotes open use of abandoned works, without the fear of legal recourse if those abandoned works gain public traction after they been re-purposed or re-introduced.