Courts Don’t Tell RIAA Anything They Want To Hear

May 16th, 2008 // 2 Comments

Hey, RIAA! You know how you’ve got MediaSentry pulling files from people’s hard drives? That doesn’t really prove they’re sharing information. And that “making available” precedent you like to use in cases? That was in regards to the “actual dissemination of copies and phonorecords,” so it may not apply. And those big money lawsuits you wantonly hurled at housewives and single parents? Judges would love to see you pay their legal fees. The labels that fund you have gradually realized that learning to harness new technology might be wiser than trying to curb its use, and with the endless crap being flung your way by the legal system, it might be a good idea to drop the old method of fighting illegal downloads entirely.

Several weeks ago, a US District Court judge denied a quick decision in Atlantic v. Howell, questioning the validity of the making available argument. The husband-and-wife Howells moved against the RIAA, arguing that outside investigator MediaSentry had forced an upload from their hard drive, but failed to observe a P2P upload to another third party.

On Thursday, another court also reconsidered things. The situation emerged in a request for a retrial by Jammie Thomas, a defendant that suffered a decisive and expensive defeat at the hands of the RIAA. Thomas wants that decision retried, though the judge considering the request focused on the validity of the making available principle.

District Court judge Michael J. Davis noted that the original decision “may have been contrary to binding Eighth Circuit precedent,” specifically a case that found that “infringement of [the distribution right] requires an actual dissemination of either copies or phonorecords”. Davis considered that the court may have “committed a manifest error of law,” and called for oral arguments to begin July 1st.

Hee hee! And don’t forget this.

A federal magistrate is recommending that Tanya Andersen, who defeated the Recording Industry Association of America’s file sharing lawsuit, be awarded $108,000 in legal fees.

The recommendation by Magistrate John Acosta, if upheld by an Oregon federal judge, would mark the second time that a target of the RIAA who beat a lawsuit was awarded attorney’s fees. In August, a federal judge ordered the RIAA to pay $68,685 in litigation costs to two Oklahoma women whose case was dismissed.

The RIAA dropped the case against Andersen last year after concluding her hard drive didn’t contain purloined music tracks. The RIAA initially claimed a Kazaa shared directory that linked to her internet-protocol address was unlawfully distributing thousands of songs.

I know they don’t want to sound weak, but I think it’s time for a withdrawal timetable.

…And Fresh Challenges Emerge on “Making Available” [Digital Music News]
Judge Recommending Legal Fees in RIAA v. Andersen [Wired]


  1. loudersoft

    Human beings….behaving….humanly.


  2. westendgirl

    This is the judicial branch’s best week ever. I’m going to hop a plane to L.A., marry another woman, and then we’re going to download some songs.

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