Document Type

Article

Publication Date

12-2-2009

Abstract

Third-party copyright liability raises specific First Amendment problems that remain relatively unexplored. Among other things, such liability separates the danger of liability from the benefits of speaking, making key actors prone to careless censorship of speech. This Article applies the First Amendment to third-party copyright liability by drawing lessons from the famous cases of New York Times Co. v. Sullivan and Gertz v. Robert Welch, Inc. It concludes that vicarious liability should be sharply curtailed, and that the application of presumed damages is constitutionally problematic in many contributory liability cases.