One of the key points in the various lawsuits that the RIAA has filed against people for file sharing is whether or not the RIAA can prove actual copyright infringement. Many have argued that there needs to proof that an infringing file was actually distributed -- otherwise, there's no violation under copyright law
, which requires "distribution." The RIAA, of course, feels that just making a file available is enough to be considered distribution. It's not a settled matter of law with some judges ruling that making available is not distributing
, but others feel the other way. In the latest such case, a guy who was defending himself without a lawyer (generally not such a good idea) failed to convince a judge that making available wasn't distributing
. Unfortunately, in not getting good representation, this ruling is now in the books, and the RIAA immediately used it to push other judges
to rule the same way. Luckily, the defendants in those other cases do have lawyers, who are questioning the original ruling by pointing out that the guy didn't have a lawyer, the judge made incorrect references to other cases and that the judge never showed how making available qualifies as distribution under the law.