Woman Admits File Sharing; Challenges Constitutionality Of Copyright Act
from the now-that's-chutzpah dept
A few years back, there was a research paper released that posited that the fines sought by the RIAA for copyright infringement were unconstitutional. While this argument has been brought up in some court cases, and even considered by judges, it’s yet to have been an important part of any decision. That may be about to change.
In the Elektra vs. Barker lawsuits, where earlier rulings had clearly sided with the RIAA on the question of whether or not “making available” was infringement, defendant Denise Barker is taking a new tack: admitting to infringement, but challenging the constitutionality of both the fines and the Copyright Act itself for establishing those fines. Instead, Barker notes that a reasonable “loss” on a downloaded piece of music is about $3.50 (which even sounds high). Considering that the fines start at $750 and go up from there, there’s a reasonable argument to be made that the fines are excessive (and there’s some case law to support that).
While it’s an interesting argument, the chances of a judge buying it seem slim (especially considering the court already sided with the RIAA on most of the “making available” thought process). It will be a fascinating lawsuit to watch, but the odds are pretty strong against having the court decide that the Copyright Act is unconstitutional.