Skip to content

I have noticed recently while playing around on YouTube and Google Video seeking exam question fodder that many fans of popular movies and TV shows who make mash-up videos of material from the shows post a notice at the beginning or end of their video saying “no copyright infringement intended”.  It strikes me that this is actually a really good example of the disjoin between what the law says and what people think the law says.  If copyright is basically a strict liability statute, then the intention to infringe is irrelevant.  However, the everyday potential infringer doesn’t know this.  It’s kind of like when my students tell me that the copyright act says that making copies of digital music for their own personal use is a fair use and is allowed under the copyright act.  It’s fair enough that they think this should be the appropriate copyright policy, but it’s obviously not true that this is what the “copyright act says”.  Is there any point in having a law that potentially affects things we do everyday that no one understands?  I’m sure this is true of many laws, but is the answer here: (a) better public education about what the law says; (b) more lax enforcement of the law – at least with respect to public/consumer type infringers – that this class of potential infringers don’t understand what the law says; or (c) reworking the law so it is more in  line with normative expectations?