Wednesday, November 04, 2015

It's No Longer Popcorn Time for IP Piracy

The Wall Street Journal reports in an article [subscription required] published on November 3 that a Canadian court granted a Motion Picture Association of America request for an injunction against Popcorn Time, a notorious website for pirated movies and TV shows.

The fight against pirated movies and music is ongoing. Shutting down another popular website known for facilitating the sharing of pirated content certainly won't end the war against piracy of intellectual property. Nevertheless, it is important, not only because of the direct effect of taking down Popcorn Time but because of the message it sends.

Content providers such as movie studios and recording companies have invested much time and financial resources educating the public regarding access to lawful content. These efforts include the website and others.

And it is crucial to continue efforts to educate the public concerning the reasons why our Founders thought protection of intellectual property rights important enough to include in the Constitution. This explicit constitutional protection alone ought to be reason enough for law-abiding citizens to refrain from downloading illegal content.

My new book, co-authored with my Free State Foundation colleague Seth Cooper, The Constitutional Foundations of Intellectual Property - A Natural Rights Perspective, is, in the words of former Solicitor General of the United States Paul Clement, "an essential volume for anyone who cares about the Constitution and intellectual property."

I certainly can't -- and won't -- argue with Mr. Clement's statement that: "The Framers thought intellectual property was important enough to provide for its protection expressly in the Constitution. This book provides invaluable insights into the Framers' decision and should inform contemporary debates about the nature of that protection."