posted Apr 09, 2001

DMCA provides no real protection for a small developer.
4/9/2001; 4:56:53 PM 'This is the story of a small, naïve developer who didn't file the copyright on his software and ended up being abused by Ariston Technologies, in Huntington Beach, California. My hope is that others can learn from this situation.

'Ariston Technologies clearly violated copyright laws by distributing for profit a proprietary work without knowledge or permission of the copyright holder. Copyright laws such as the DMCA provide for collection of either statutory or actual damages. Current interpretation by the courts precludes collection of statutory damages unless the copyright was actually filed with the Copyright Office before the violation. In the case of shareware or open source software, proving damages is exceptionally difficult. However, even in cases where the copyright has been filed, most copyright lawyers do not work on a contingency basis, and so will not bother with a case involving shareware or open source software unless the potential dollar amount is significant. The alternative is for the individual to pay for prosecution out of pocket, which can quickly exceed US$20,000, for an award that may not be even half that. So even in cases where copyright laws have clearly been violated, the net effect is that they are unable to protect the small developer.'


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