RIAA's Excessive Loss Claims Unconstitutional?

from the legal-logic dept

The RIAA's questionable math has been discussed at length in the past -- where they love to trot out the claim that each shared song is worth somewhere between $750 and $30,000 in "losses." While the number is completely bogus for a variety of reasons, it is the number that the industry uses when suing the thousands of people they've sued. Now, Declan McCullough points out an analysis suggesting that these high dollar claims are unconstitutional by being so excessive. Because of this, the writer argues, the RIAA should not be allowed to sue for such a high amount. This would mean that more accused file sharers would likely be willing to challenge the lawsuits in court, rather than settling for a few grand just to get out from under the possibility of owing millions. In other words, some of these cases might actually get argued on the merits -- something the RIAA doesn't seem all that enthusiastic about, despite being the one bringing all of the lawsuits.
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  1. identicon
    Precision Blogger, 4 May 2005 @ 12:42pm

    But the unconstitutionality won't help ...

    I read Declan McCullough's "Note" and his arguments seem pretty compelling. But he goes further and notes that Judges are uncomfortable upholding thix type of ruling even when it's correct, because it puts them so unconservatively at odds with legislators. He argues that is is congress, not the courts, that needs to fix the law to make the minimum statutory awards reasonable.

    Add this to the fact that a person sued by the RIAA is likely to settle for a few thousand rather than risk a court making them pay a $1.5M fine, which could be very expnesive to litigate, to reverse on appeal.

    - PB

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