The recording industry loves to throw around the term "irreparable harm" in its various lawsuits -- as if someone hearing a song they didn't pay for will mortally wound the industry. While some say that this is just standard legalese and we shouldn't read too much into it, it looks like a judge in New Mexico disagrees. In denying the RIAA's request to have the University of New Mexico simply hand over info on someone using their network (without letting that individual fight back against the request for info), the judge notes: "While the Court does not dispute that infringement of a copyright results in harm, it requires a Coleridgian 'suspension of disbelief' to accept that the harm is irreparable, especially when monetary damages can cure any alleged violation." However, the judge argues, turning over someone's private info without giving them a chance to defend themselves and protest could cause irreparable harm: "the harm related to disclosure of confidential information in a student or faculty member's Internet files can be equally harmful." Nice to see the judge recognize that just because someone may have listened to a song without paying for it, it doesn't mean that they lose all other rights.
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