RIAA Lawsuits Hit 71 Year Old Grandfather, 12 Year Old Girl
from the who's-responsible? dept
No surprise here, but among the 261 lawsuits filed by the RIAA was one against a 71-year-old grandfather who says that his grandkids have used his computer when they come to visit and that they’ve even explained this to the RIAA. So, here’s the question: who is legally responsible? If the RIAA can’t prove who was at the computer allowing the copyright infringement, is it really the legal responsibility of the owner of a computer to know everything that is happening on the machine? If so, wouldn’t that mean, legally, that the owner of the computer would also be responsible for any viruses or trojan programs acting on his or her computer? Based on this example, I would think that the owner of the computer should only be responsible for actions that they themselves did on the computer – and that the burden of proof would need to be on the RIAA to show that it was that specific individual violating their copyrights. Of course, I’m not a lawyer, so hopefully, we’ll hear from someone who understands the law a bit better. Update: Here’s another story of someone who was sued who says he’s quite angry at (a) Comcast for giving out his personal info and (b) the music industry for suing him over something that he (and his sons) were not profiting off of (“just because we are downloading music doesn’t mean we are making millions of copies”). He plans to boycott all music industry products moving forward. Way to go, RIAA, you just turned a former customer who found music through file sharing into a lifelong hater of the industry who will no longer buy your products. That’s okay, they’ll probably now get millions of dollars out of him in a legal settlement that will make it impossible for his kids to go to college. Update 2: At the other end of the age spectrum comes this story of a 12-year-old girl who’s being sued. Her mother claims that she “paid” $30 for Kazaa (suggesting she got scammed) and assumed that that made it legal. She also mocks the idea that her 12-year-old downloading a nursery rhyme and some TV show theme songs is a real “threat” to the music industry.