Legal Issues

by Mike Masnick




Accused File Trader Suing RIAA - Claims Sharing Not Distribution

from the interesting-legal-tactic dept

In all the legal accusations flying back and forth over the RIAA's plans to sue everyone they possibly can, none of the individuals who have been subpoenaed have filed counter lawsuits against the RIAA. That's about to change. A lawyer in California is getting ready to file a lawsuit on behalf of one such user with a slightly different argument that has been seen before. He says that just because a user has a particular file available for sharing, that doesn't mean the file was actually shared. In other words, since the RIAA doesn't have actual proof that the individual distributed the file, then they have no case. It's a fine line - and I doubt a judge will see it that way. The RIAA will (I'm sure) respond that just making the file available is the equivalent of distribution, by itself.

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Aug 2003 @ 1:28am

    Intent to Distribute

    While I root for the plaintiff, I'm afraid Mike is right if criminal laws are used as a precedent. INTENT to distribute will land you in jail as fast as actually distributing heroin. However, I don't think this is a slam dunk since some judges have said there really can't be precendent when it comes to new technology.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Ed Halley, 13 Aug 2003 @ 7:11am

    No Subject Given

    I don't bother with music trading-- I respect the licensing arrangements of copyrighted materials, and even if I didn't, it would cheapen the meaning of music for me.

    However, answer this? Aren't most music trading systems set up (by default or by convention) such that any file uploaded to a node becomes immediately available for download to other nodes? So I'm sharing some of the mp3 cuts from my folk music session at my own studio, when some lamer "gives" me a copy of Wall-O-Noiz-Harlot's latest best-selling candypop single. Did I even have the intent to share any illicit tripe that ends up on my node?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      James, 13 Aug 2003 @ 11:01am

      Re: No Subject Given

      You are correct in the sense that by default most P2P programs automatically import new music. So if a users was to copy a cd to their computer just for listening, unknowingly those files can become shared. Therefore, this case might stand a bleek chance.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Aug 2003 @ 7:59am

    funny...

    ... how with all this happening with the RIAA suing end users and forcing ISPs to hand over names and what not, Broadband Providers such as Comcast are still advertising "Download Music Faster" as part of their cable modem marketing.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    bastard sam, 13 Aug 2003 @ 8:44am

    No Subject Given

    Honestly, I don't know if intent is enough. And even if it was, just because it's there doesn't necessarily mean intent. It gets real sticky. I think this guy just might have a chance, if he could prove he did not intend to trade. For example, if you attempt to download it and for whatever reason, it was not possible, due to firewall, or what not.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    D, 18 Nov 2003 @ 1:17am

    What about this argument

    How can the RIAA not only prove that he distributed the file, but how can they prove that it was the file? In essence just because I have a file that i am sharing called "Eminem - My name is", doesn't mean that it is really that file at all so they couldn't prove it was unless they downloaded it and played it in court!!!!!!!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Use markdown for basic formatting. HTML is no longer supported.
  Save me a cookie
Follow Techdirt
Techdirt Gear
Shop Now: I Invented Email
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads

Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.