Definitions

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. False claims of copyright, such as a claim of copyright ownership of public domain material.

Etymologies

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

A compound of copy +‎ fraud. Coined in an August 2005 article, Copyfraud by Jason Mazzone, an Associate Professor of Law at Brooklyn Law School.

Examples

Comments

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  • Copyright law itself creates strong incentives for copyfraud. The Copyright Act provides for no civil penalty for falsely claiming ownership of public domain materials. There is also no remedy under the Act for individuals who wrongly refrain from legal copying or who make payment for permission to copy something they are in fact entitled to use for free. While falsely claiming copyright is technically a criminal offense under the Act, prosecutions are extremely rare. These circumstances have produced fraud on an untold scale, with millions of works in the public domain deemed copyrighted, and countless dollars paid out every year in licensing fees to make copies that could be made for free. 

    April 30, 2017

  • The term "copyfraud" was coined by Jason Mazzone, a Professor of Law at the University of Illinois. Because copyfraud carries little or no oversight by authorities and few legal consequences, it exists on a massive scale, with millions of works in the public domain falsely labeled as copyrighted. Payments are therefore unnecessarily made by businesses and individuals for licensing fees. Mazzone states that copyfraud stifles valid reproduction of free material, discourages innovation and undermines free speech rights. Other legal scholars have suggested public and private remedies, and a few cases have been brought involving copyfraud.

    April 30, 2017