As I mentioned in my last essay, my colleague Chris Cotropia and I have recently completed a data collection project in which we examined pleadings from approximately 1,000 copyright cases filed in federal court over a four-year period. We are still evaluating the data, but our preliminary findings indicate that copyright litigation differs from other federal civil litigation; it takes longer and appears to be contested more – yet ends up in much the same place.

A little background first. During the period we studied (2005-2008), the cases fell into three broad categories. The first comprised those cases in which big media companies sued individuals for illegal file-sharing, a concerted campaign that ended years ago. The second category also involved big media companies as plaintiffs, but the targets were bars and restaurants in which unauthorized musical performances were alleged to have taken place. The third category was a catch-all, containing all other cases. [...]

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