Not content with the current (and already massive) statutory damages allowed under copyright law, the RIAA is pushing to expand the provision. The issue is compilations, which now are treated as a single work. In the RIAA's perfect world, each copied track would count as a separate act of infringement, meaning that a copying a ten-song CD even one time could end up costing a defendant $1.5 million if done willfully. Sound fair? Proportional? Necessary? Not really, but that doesn't mean it won't become law.
The change to statutory damages is contained in the PRO-IP Act that is currently up for consideration in Congress. We've reported on the bill before, noting that Google's top copyright lawyer (and the man who wrote a seven-volume treatise on the subject of copyright law), William Patry, called the bill the most "outrageously gluttonous IP bill ever introduced in the US." The industries pushing it (music, especially) have an "unslakable lust for more and more rights, longer terms of protection, draconian criminal provisions, and civil damages that bear no resemblance to the damages suffered," he said.
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