The Impact of State Sovereign Immunity
In early September, the Copyright Alliance delivered its findings to the U.S. Copyright Office regarding the extent to which state entities commit copyright infringement on individuals and organizations. To accomplish this, the Copyright Alliance conducted a public survey in which 115 respondents answered having experienced copyright infringement by state entities, and in many cases, multiple instances of infringement since 1976.
Strikingly, the results indicate that there is an upwards trend in state infringements which, since 1990, have ballooned dramatically. Survey respondents often used words such as, “at least a dozen”, “thousands”, and “countless” to describe the number of times they experienced infringement. Fourteen categories of responses were collected, including written materials, sound recordings, television programs, motion pictures, and many others. This raises the question of whether the doctrine of state sovereign immunity needs to be readdressed in order to curtail the apparent epidemic of infringements.