Monday, September 20, 2010
New paper examines distribution and 'making available'
Professor Peter Menell of Berkeley Law has published a new paper examining copyright's right of distribution, and the related debate about whether it encompasses a "making available" right. The debate is important in litigation against peer-to-peer users and facilitators; a conclusion that "making available" is not a violation of the distribution right torpedoed the verdict in the first Jammie Thomas-Rasset trial. Prof. Menell definitively concludes that the evidence, including the legislative history of the 1976 Copyright Act, "shows unequivocally that Congress intended to encompass broadly the 1909 Act rights to 'publish' and 'vend' within the right to distribute, and rejects the position that Congress required proof of 'actual distribution' to prove violation of the distribution right."