RIAA Also Tells Judge That Proof Shouldn't Be Necessary To Sue For Infringement

from the heard-this-before dept

Following in the footsteps of the MPAA, the RIAA has now filed its response in the Jammie Thomas case, claiming again that actual proof of distribution doesn’t make sense: “Requiring proof of actual transfers would cripple efforts to enforce copyright owners’ rights online.” See, there’s just one problem with this. The law isn’t designed to make it easy to enforce copyright owners rights. It’s designed to make sure that only the guilty party is actually blamed for breaking the law. So the fact that it’s “difficult” shouldn’t sway the judge.

Furthermore, while the discussion here was supposed to focus on whether or not “making available” is infringement, it looks like the RIAA decided to pull in a bunch of other arguments as well, noting that Thomas downloaded many of the songs in her folder (yet, the case was about uploading, not downloading), and that none of it matters because the RIAA actually does have proof of distribution (in the form of Media Sentry downloading the files). Again, though, those points are not what’s up for debate here. So, once again, we have the RIAA trying to cloud the issue. Oh yeah, and, of course, the RIAA can’t resist using its bogus arguments that international treaties require US courts to treat making available as distribution. That’s an incredibly weak argument, based on the idea that these treaties, often written by the industry, and approved by diplomats who don’t understand what they really mean, should be binding over what the law actually says.

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Companies: riaa

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Comments on “RIAA Also Tells Judge That Proof Shouldn't Be Necessary To Sue For Infringement”

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29 Comments
Married to the Mob says:

RIAA Wants...

No burden of proof? WOW! That’s a slippery slope. I wonder how it would transpire in other cases. Would it trample over due process and trial system? Here’s the start of a comedy a network should pick up. Let’s take a look:

Jerk: “You Hit My Car!”
Me: “No I didn’t.”
Jerk: “I’m going to sue!”
Judge: “There’s no proof but because a suit was brought against you, your GUILTY”

Later…
Inmate: “What are you in for?”
Me: “Yah. The rich dicked me over and now I play the harmonica all day”
Inmate: “That’s fucked up.”
Guard: “HEY, Are you Joe Sixpack?”
Me: “Yes”
Guard: “You got a letter From Warner Music”
Me (Opening the Letter): “Fuck. Warner’s suing me for playing Happy Birthday on my Harmonica!”
Inmate: “Oh Shit”

eleete (user link) says:

Re: Re:

“How are these fools allowed to continue abusing the courts and tax dollars with these retarded law suits stuffed with lies and smoke-screens?”

In a single word…. Lobbyists, they’ve got em, and they pay em to push laws through that help their old business models. Now that you know, you can google RIAA lobbyists and find out quite a bit.

Michial (user link) says:

Re: Re: Extortion

Doesn’t the way that RIAA and MPAA both go about these cases constitute extortion. I have been reading different cases about this over the past few years, and it seems that everything starts with a letter from one or the other that basically says “we have proof your distributing pirated material, pay us $xxxxx or we will take you to court”

Seems that by most states definition that would qualify as extortion. Why hasn’t their tactics been prosecuted by some DA somewhere?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Extortion

Doesn’t the way that RIAA and MPAA both go about these cases constitute extortion.

IANAL, but the way I understand it is that if you threaten to turn somebody over to the police for prosecution if they don’t pay up then that it’s called “extortion”. But, if you threaten to sue somebody if they don’t pay up then it’s called “negotiation”.

Ryan (profile) says:

real simple precedent

It’s already been established in real life. A cop can’t arrest you for selling drugs unless he sees you sell them, or buys them from you.

Simply having them is a crime in itself, but it’s not distribution. The same should apply here. Downloading songs and having them is illegal – but it’s not distribution unless they actually download it.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: real simple precedent

That’s actually been the biggest problem for the music industry if you think about it… The people who often distribute the most music (i.e. those with large libraries) are more often than not the RIAA’s biggest customers. It’s impossible to go after the people “losing” them money without going after those making them the biggest profits…

GeneralEmergency (profile) says:

Here's a question....

His Mikeness Wrote:
…none of it matters because the RIAA actually does have proof of distribution (in the form of Media Sentry downloading the files).

It seems to me highly likely that Media Sentry has been granted some sort of written indemnification absolving it from copyright infringement while gathering its “evidence”.

If that is true, isn’t the “distribution” TO Media Sentry in fact “Authorized” and not Un-Authorized??

MediaSentry “created” the evidence by making a copy. If they were pre-authorized to make copies of RIAA covered works, no unauthorized distribution occured. Right?

Anonymous Coward says:

Conflict of Interest/ Special Interest

Let the truth be known, the RIAA does not have to prove anything. They have the government in their pocket and pretty much can get what they want at any time. Keep in mind the RIAA group has very powerful political ties. Have you ever heard the name Hillary Rosen? No? Guess what, She was the CEO of the RIAA… Whats she doing now? Writing for Huffington Post Hobnobbing with Senators, governors etc.. How much cash do you think she sends on over to the Democratic Party? The good news is that Rosens candidate Clinton did not win. If that would have been the case her connections would have potentially reached all the way to the top spot in the government. Not that she will be inhibited by this. (Someone should research how much money the special intrest group RIAA has contributed to the parties)

The RIAA is the government. They dont have to follow the law. They make the law. Someone said downloading songs is not illegal 🙂 Well… It is if the RIAA Says so. So how does a good Democrat like Hillary Rosen represent the working class? By suing an 20 year old for thousands of dollars for that bootleg copy of music on their computer. Certainly looking out for the interests of the working class huh…

sovereignjohn (user link) says:

Creative Commons...

I’ve stopped listen to and buying embedded media. Why listen or watch media that wish to put us in prison if we don’t follow their rules. With Creative Commons I can copy, mix and reuse legally. Why are we buying media from embedded media that seeks to make us criminals? This embedded media has so many rules now we’re all quite likely breaking their rules every time we use their product.

Steve says:

This brief claims the industry (copyright owner) has total control of distribution and potential distribution, including all sales and transfers or copyright materials, including simply making media available to others. WOW! While this may be intended to authorize seeking damages against someone who simply puts a digital copy of media into a share folder, the language could as easily be applied to go after someone selling original CDs on e-bay, at a garage sale, or simply putting them out in a box marked “free – take one.” If the copyright owner has the exclusive right to distribute their media through sale or transfer, then all personal subsequent sales and transfers — even giving someone media as a gift — could be subject to MPAA action per the terms laid out in this brief. Again — WOW!

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