Court Will Examine The Constitutionality Of RIAA Fines

from the a-big-loss-for-the-RIAA dept

When the RIAA sues people for unauthorized uploading of songs, they usually put a price between $750-per-song to $30,000-per-song in losses. Many have argued that this seems rather excessive -- especially considering how much the songs are actually sold for. A year and a half ago, there was a scholarly paper that examined whether the RIAA's excessive loss claims were unconstitutionally excessive. With that in mind, it wasn't that surprising earlier this year to see one defendant in an RIAA suit question the constitutionality of the $750 number that was trotted out in her case. At the time, we stated that the reasoning used to back this up seemed much weaker than the reasoning in the law review article, but as lawyer Ray Beckerman (who is involved in the case) explained, the filing was limited in length and only needed to serve a specific purpose. It also looks like they were later able to submit either the law review article we mentioned, or other supporting documents. No matter what happened, the judge has now ruled that it is a perfectly legitimate question, and will be included as part of the case. The judge tossed out all of the RIAA's objections, noting that the defendant actually backed up their claim with case law and law review articles. The RIAA, on the other hand, could offer no similar case law to explain why the constitutionality of the fines couldn't be questioned. Of course, who knows how the case will turn out, but should the RIAA lose, it would be pretty damaging for them. They use the threat of the $750/song (or higher) fines as a way to bully people into just settling, rather than fighting -- even if they know they're innocent.

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  1. identicon
    Sanji Himura, 13 Nov 2006 @ 8:17am

    You have all overlooked something.

    The argument isn't that she downloaded songs, but the question is did she do so legally in good faith.

    She is proving that the RIAA is a cartel, thus violating numerous FEDERAL anti-trust laws, misuse of copyrights by combining cases together, and settling them together.

    She is also trying to link RIAA and a group called Settlement Support Center LLC to a defrauding scheme; "by conducting ex parte “John Doe” lawsuits which they have no intention of pursuing, but in which they interact with Judges, Magistrates, and other officials on a daily basis, without notice or opportunity to be heard being offered to defendants; by bringing the “John Doe” lawsuits in jurisdictions far removed from the domiciles of the “John Does” so that they have no meaningful opportunity to be heard or to retain counsel of their own choosing; and by other unconscionable conduct."

    She is also trying to prove that $750 PER SONG is unconstitutional, and that the industry sells recordings to online retailers for 70 cents per song, that is 1,071 times the actual damages suffered. You telling me that the total is fair, especially since Lindor produced affidavits stating that the industry's number came from stock reports that is carbon-copy generated in every case they try.

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