‘Mockingbird’ Spat Shows Benefits of Light Touch on Copyrights

"Some corporations still use a “scorched earth” approach when enforcing a copyright, especially in the entertainment industry, copyright attorney Andrew Bridges of Fenwick West LLP said. But that can be counterproductive both in court and in the public eye, he said.

Copyright owners who use a light touch do so, in part, because they’re enforcing rights under a copyright law that provides for “outrageous statutory damages” and extensive copyright terms, Bridges said.

“Prudent copyright owners are recognizing ‘state of play’ is extremely controversial, and will exercise prudence and restraint,” he said. Harper Lee’s estate could own the copyright on her book until 2086—70 years after her death and a 126-year term in all—under existing law."