Lightning strikes 5.89 times

Given billions of copyrighted works, from Web pages to feature films, the stats show that it’s probably harder to get sued in a copyright case than to get hit by lightning. – Stephen Manes

1:700,000 – Chance of getting struck by lightning. (Source)
1:120,000 – Chance of getting struck with a copyright suit. (Math in extended entry)
1:5.89 – Ratio of chance of getting struck by lightning to chance of getting struck with copyright suit.
(Lessig responds to the rest of the article, I just felt like correcting the math.)


To figure out the chance of getting struck with a copyright suit I used a US population of 290,809,777; the estimated population for 2003. The number of copyright suits in 2003 according to Manes was 2,448 and 2,448/290,809,777 = 118,794.8435457516.

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