Copyright infringement has been a hot topic since the 18th century for print materials, and exceedingly relevant for digital files since the era of Napster in 1999. In recent years, entities like copyright trolls and other digital watchdogs are always on the lookout to acquire significant monetary gain through litigious means, even if the accused is not the infringer, but unknowingly provides the means to do so. For example, our Library safeguards against infringement liability by requiring patrons not partake in “conduct which violates Federal, State, or local law including copyright and licensing infringement,” according to our internet service policy. Copyright trolls frequently win cases against service providers, but a recent ruling is fighting this trend.
On August 27, 2018, the United States Court of Appeals (Ninth Circuit) decided that the owner of a senior living home which provides internet service to occupants will not be held responsible for copyright infringement inflicted by an unnamed guest or occupant. Here is a synopsis by Stanford University Libraries and here is the Cobbler Nevada, LLC v. Gonzalez court publication itself. Whether or not the results of this substantial case will make any lasting changes to copyright policy remains to be seen.