DOI: https://doi.org/10.21564/2414-990x.150.205798

On copyright trolling in the framework of civil law

Ewa Lewandowska

Abstract


The paper analyses copyright trolling in the scope of illegitimate compensation claims for a breach of the author’s economic rights, i.e. where: 1) no infringement of economic rights has occurred, or 2) the action has been brought before the wrong authorities, or 3) the claimant has no title to bring the action before the court. It was noted that the use of copyrighted works requires the consent of the owner of economic rights, or such a use as an exception is possible in the form of permissible use. If a work is used under a contract or the law, no infringement occurs. It outlines cases of a breach of the author’s economic rights in the Polish law and the protection measures available to the entitled party in the event of an infringement. In particular, according to Art. 79 of the Copyright Law, the injured party may generally demand that the person who infringed upon the economic rights (the offender): 1) ceases the infringement; 2) removes the effects of the infringement 3) redresses the damage: under general conditions or by paying double the amount due if the owner had consented to the use; 4) renders the obtained benefits. A copyright troll calls the recipient to redress the damage by paying an appropriate sum, which is the owner’s right in the event of an infringement. Copyright troll falsely relying on the fact of infringement, while acts to obtain undue benefits. 

Furthermore, it discusses the term of “copyright trolling” and its scope. A significant conclusion is that copyright trolling is an action of exploiting copyright infringement and the related protection measures to obtain material gain (extort money). The paper offers an assessment of the phenomenon in the framework of civil law, focusing primarily on the legal basis for the return of the performance / redressing the damage. The basis for the return is provided by regulations on unjust enrichment. It is observed that the circumstances of copyright trolling allow for claiming infringement upon personal interests, such as privacy, peace, the right not to be disturbed, the inviolability of the home. This work aims to contribute to the growing body of literature on copyright trolling. The author especially hopes to initiate an informed discussion based on research, which could have the additional benefit of educating the public on the subject.


Keywords


copyright trolling; author’s economic rights; declaration of intent; contract; delict; personal interests

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