EMI So Scared Of EFF Amicus Brief In MP3Tunes Case, It Asks Court To Reject It

from the what-are-you-scared-of? dept

There’s been a lot of attention paid on various news sites over the past few weeks to the motions for summary judgment in the MP3Tunes case. If you don’t recall, EMI sued MP3Tunes and (separately) its founder, Michael Robertson, arguing that the music locker service violated copyright law, even though it’s designed to let individuals store and access their own music — but not to allow others to access that music. The whole case has been quite bizarre and we’re finally getting close to at least an initial ruling on how the court sees things. I was waiting until that ruling came out to cover it, but EMI’s latest move is somewhat baffling.

You see, the EFF, Public Knowledge, the Consumer Electronics Association and the Home Recording Rights Coalition teamed up to file an amicus brief. That’s nothing surprising and barely noteworthy. Those groups file amicus briefs on all sorts of similar cases having to do with the entertainment industry trying to stretch the interpretation of copyright law in a way that hinders new technologies. What makes things odd is that EMI has filed to have the court bar the brief from being used. The arguments are somewhat silly. Effectively, they argue that the court had asked the parties to keep their own arguments for summary judgment to a minimum (less than 35 pages). However, EMI states, this brief is really just supporting MP3Tunes’ position, and thus, giving MP3Tunes a way to get more arguments than the 35-page limit allows.

Of course, it seems like all this really serves to do is to call a lot more attention to the EFF/PK/CEA amicus brief and to make you wonder what the hell EMI is so scared of having the court read about. And, really, shouldn’t EMI be focused on staying in business these days, rather than worrying about what folks like the EFF and PK have to say about copyright law? If you want, you can see both the amicus brief and EMI’s complaint about it after the jump.

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Companies: cea, eff, emi, mp3tunes, public knowledge

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Comments on “EMI So Scared Of EFF Amicus Brief In MP3Tunes Case, It Asks Court To Reject It”

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TtfnJohn (profile) says:

Re: You confuse lawyer tactics with real fear.

As amicus briefs are filed in support of one side or the other in a civil action there is no presumption of objectivity in them at all.

So called “Friend of the Court” briefs have a higher expectation of objectivity as they are more intended to point out parts of the law and precedence that may be obscure or unknown to the court in the action.

The judge will rule whether evidence is allowed or not based on a number of widely used criteria and as I hinted above objectivity isn’t required in an amicus brief.

EMI’s response to it indicates that their lawyers are more concerned that should the lawyer take the brief (testimony by another means) into account then their case is seriously weakened or lost.

Karl (profile) says:


However, EMI states, this brief is really just supporting MP3Tunes’ position

Here, we have a look at how legacy industries think. Any use of “music” on the “web” that doesn’t line their pockets, is “piracy.” And anyone who says differently is just supporting infringement.

Never mind that there are legitimate points to make. In their minds, everyone else is exactly the same: all those guys with their “freedom” and “consumer rights” are really just crooks who want their music for free. It doesn’t matter what their arguments are; they can be safely disregarded as the prattling of “pirates.”

It’s like “John Paul Jones” in lawyer form.

Hephaestus (profile) says:

Re: Revealing

SSDD … It is a technique that has worked for millenia. you place a label (pirate, jew, etc) on something and then you state all your problems are caused by that one thing. Sad thing is people still fall for it and how effective a technique it is.

I would have thought this issue was solved with the comcast or cablevision online VCR case. Or am I missing something.

Noel Coward says:


Yes, because objective means saying “both sides are exactly 50% right”.

Well, I would say being objective is reserving or refraining from your judgement till you’ve had ample opportunity to absorb the facts.

That way your better likely not to react with filters or biased point of view to material presented.

This is the most common reason why humanity can’t seem to co-operate or communicate. As they operate from a biased emotional perspective and fail to absorb other people points of view.

Back to the topic …..

I’m siding with Mike on this one [ kinda ].
EMI & its Lawyers are playing strategy & politics. Having a personal locker is one thing. Having a Torrent site is another.

This was an easy target, because the “SO CALLED” infringing material WAS stored on their servers.

But not REAL justice, just point scoring.
None of this really solves anything, but preserves the status quo.

Nothing personal right, ….. just business.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

I have not the slightest doubt that the plaintiffs are certainly not “scared” as you so ceremoniously opine with your headline. Moreover, their objections are quite legitimate at this stage in the proceedings, and particularly given the groundrules that have apparently been imposed on all of the parties.

Motions for summary judgment arise in litigation following extensive discovery, and litigants argue in support of their motions based upon the evidentiary record before the court. For the EFF and the other noted groups to attempt to inject themselves at this stage of the proceedings, to argue a clearly partisan position in favor of one party (the defendant), and to then present their arguments with only the most limited of references to the evidentiary record, diminishes greatly whatever persuasive force their arguments may otherwise have.

Karl (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

their objections are quite legitimate at this stage in the proceedings

So, I guess that nobody else should have the right to file an amicus brief, either? That’s essentially what you’re saying.

In any case, I’m hoping that the judge will take a look at the actual service (even a cursory one is all that is required), and issue summary judgement for the defendant. I mean, piracy is not even possible using MP3tunes’ service.

TtfnJohn (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Obviously, then, you would approve of an amicus brief that took EMI’s position from, say, Sony.

That is as partisan as you accuse the EFF of taking. As you state the brief is evidence/testimony so EMI would have the full right to call the principals of the EFF and and the others to testify in open court to their position and punch them full of holes if they can. That they are declining to suggests much.

Nor, by the way, is the court bound to make a ruling in favour of summary judgment if it feels there is enough still in play in the action to move to trail.

If the court has changed the ground rules in defiance of past practise and precedence then EMI has a fairly easy appeal on its hands, don’t you think?

While such motions are pretty much routine still doesn’t change the impression the EMI is concerned that its case really isn’t all that strong.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

I have not the slightest doubt that the plaintiffs are certainly not “scared” as you so ceremoniously opine with your headline.

You should talk with some guys at EMI. They’re pretty scared.

Actually, even more entertaining: talk with guys at Sony, Universal or Warner about *their* feelings about this lawsuit. I did just that recently, and discovered they’re VERY scared. They’re pissed off at EMI for this lawsuit because they think EMI is going to lose and music lockers will be declared legal, and there goes a whole bunch of the music labels’ bargaining position.

Perhaps you’re right that they’re not “scared.” They’re flat out petrified. It’s kind of amusing. Seriously. Go talk to them…

Anonymous Coward says:

Well then the other amicus brief also should go to the trash in that case.

EMI should be scared, and the others too, they are going down baby and there is nothing they can do to stop it.

Everytime I see one “artist” that works for them complaining they can’t make money I get a grin, because I’m not buying anything from them and if they are in financial trouble others all over the world are doing the same and it is not even coordinated is just one feeling uniting everyone on the face of the earth.

That is the result of years abusing the law and creating more moronic laws, in the end people will just gravitate towards the open alternatives that don’t put such burdens on people and the old players will have to find a 5 to 9 to work it out.

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