Copyright Enforcement – Same Standard for the Holders?

Cory Doctorow has a column in the Guardian, which I unsurprisingly found via his blog.

Now I believe that copyright holders have the right to protect their property. They even have the right to be stupid, as many of them are when they go after marginal fair use issues. If it’s marginal on fair use, you’re probably benefiting more from the publicity than any imagined damage.

But there is an important principle of freedom, I think. I’ve applied it to accused child molesters. There is no crime that is so horrible that you should punish the wrong person for it. In other words, child molestation is truly horrible. I want the offenders prosecuted and put away. But at the same time it is truly awful to contemplate someone innocent accused and unable to defend himself or herself. And we know that false accusations do happen.

Copyright infringement doesn’t even fall under that “incredibly horrible” category. It’s a money crime, and most infringements are somewhere between innocent and careless. If true infringement can be proven, by all means prosecute. As a publisher, I want copyright protected. But nothing, ever is bad enough that someone should be regarded as guilty without proof.

In other words, I agree completely with the column.