Peer-to-Peer and Copyright Law Answer Key

Scavenger Hunt: Peer-to-Peer File Sharing and Copyright Law

Electronic Frontier Foundation‘s Primer for Peer-to-Peer File Sharing and Copyright Law -

Answer the following questions:

  1. What results from the transmission of a file from one individual to another?

ANSWER: The transmission of a file from one person to another results in a reproduction, a distribution, and possibly a public performance.

  1. What are the individuals called who have directly violated one or more of the copyright owner’s exclusive rights?

ANSWER: Direct Infringer.

  1. What is a vicarious infringer?

ANSWER: A person who had the right and ability to control or supervise the underlying direct infringement.

  1. What liability is contributory infringement similar too? Please explain.

ANSWER: Aiding and abetting” liability. In other words, “one who, with knowledge of the infringing activity, induces, causes, or materially contributes to the infringing conduct of another, may be held liable as a contributory infringer.

  1. What binary choice has copyright law put on peer-to-peer developers?

ANSWER: It states either build a system that allows for thorough monitoring and control over user activities, or build one that makes such monitoring and control completely impossible.

  1. For online service providers, what are the four “safe harbors” for copyright liability Congress enacted in 1998?

ANSWER: The four “safe harbors” are: (1) transitory network transmissions; (2) certain kinds of caching; (3) storage of materials on behalf of users (e.g., web hosting, remote file storage); and (4) the provision of information location tools.

  1. What is material contribution?

ANSWER: The accused contributory infringer induced, caused, or materially contributed to the underlying direct infringement.

  1. True or False: Copyright law sometimes reaches beyond the direct infringer to those who were only indirectly involved.


  1. Should developers of peer-to-peer file-sharing technology monitor users? Please explain.

ANSWER: The nature of vicarious infringement liability creates a strong incentive to monitor the conduct of users. This stems from the fact that knowledge is not required for vicarious infringement liability—a person can be a vicarious infringer even if they are completely unaware of infringing activity.

  1. True or False: If there is no direct infringement, there can be no indirect liability.


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