Copyright Infringement Liability of State Employees

Analyzing Mary Minow's "District Court Invalidates Portion of Copyright Act as Unconstitutional; Holds State University and Employee Immune from Claim for Copyright Infringement," copyright expert William Patry has written a timely summary of the copyright infringement liability that state employees face in light of the state sovereign immunity doctrine ("State Sovereign Immunity and State Employees"), and Georgia Harper has commented on his analysis ("Another Attention Getter on the Campus Infringement Front").

Here's an excerpt from Harper's post:

His [Patry's] commentary, and the commentary to which he points at the Stanford Fair Use blog [Minow's commentary], both make the distinction which can be sort of confusing, that even though sovereign immunity protects individuals acting in their official capacity, when they have acted in a way that is illegal, they are going to get stripped of the character of "acting within official capacity," Basically, you can't be acting officially if you are breaking the law. It can't be the official act of the state to break the law. Isn't logic great?

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