Wal-Mart Won’t Print Photos If They Are Too Good

Because copyright is a strict liability tort, “photofinishers” who print photos (like Wal-Mart and Kmart) can be liable if the customer asks to print photos owned by third parties. As a result, photofinishers are now bouncing photos that look professional on the theory that they could be infringing–even if the customer certifies to the photofinisher that the customer owns the copyright. While this isn’t the most profound consequence of copyright’s strict liability scheme, it’s a nice microcosm of how strict liability creates some “false negative” errors (pardon the pun).