Weekly Top 5 Papers – May 22nd 2017

1. Defense Against the Dark Arts of Copyright Trolling by Matthew Sag (Loyola University Chicago School of Law) and Jake Haskell (Independent)

Lawsuits targeting anonymous defendants accused of illegal file sharing have transformed the copyright litigation landscape over the past few years. The practice is called copyright trolling because of the opportunistic way plaintiffs exploit information asymmetries, the high cost of federal court litigation, and the extravagant threat of statutory damages for copyright infringement to leverage settlements from the guilty and the innocent alike. I have written about various aspects of this phenomenon in previous articles, but in Defense Against the Dark Arts of Copyright Trolling my coauthor and I set out to do something more immediately helpful.

Many ordinary working people are coerced into settling meritless or mistargeted copyright trolling suits because so few lawyers are willing or able to take on these cases. Jake Haskell (a former student of mine at Loyola University Chicago) and I thought that we could level the playing field by exposing the tactics and weaknesses of the typical copyright troll. We wrote this article as a public service and we were unsure whether anyone would want to publish it at all. We certainly didn’t expect 4000 people to download it! We are grateful for the interest that so many lawyers, tech bloggers and others have expressed in this project.  – Matthew Sag

Matt Sag was my Copyright professor when I was in school, and he’s been interested in copyright trolling for a while. He got me interested in the subject, and I worked with him on the paper after I passed the bar. We both saw this as a social justice issue. Many of the people affected by the sort of predatory litigation trends we describe are low-income, unfamiliar or wary of the courts, or otherwise vulnerable.

We were very much hoping to be able to cut through most of the technical goop that permeates file-sharing cases and touch the heart of the issue, so that even attorneys unfamiliar with copyright law and intimidated by internet jargon could help. Matt wanted to show a clear roadmap of the the courts’ position on the issues, and I wanted to work on countering the troll’s typical arguments.

We are stoked to see how many people are reading this article! We hope it can be useful.  – Jake Haskell 

2. Do Stocks Outperform Treasury Bills? by Hendrik Bessembinder (Arizona State University)

3. Medieval and Early Modern Coinage and Its Problems by Meir Kohn (Dartmouth College – Department of Economics)

4. ‘Rape-Adjacent’: Imagining Legal Responses to Nonconsensual Condom Removal by Alexandra Brodsky (Yale Law School)

5. Presidents Lack the Authority to Abolish or Diminish National Monuments by Mark Squillace (University of Colorado Law School) and Eric Biber (University of California, Berkeley – School of Law) and Nicholas Bryner (Emmett Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, UCLA School of Law) and Sean Hecht (University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) – School of Law)