Legal Issues

by Mike Masnick




RIAA Makes Case For Why Parents Should Be Liable For File Sharing Of Kids

from the doesn't-seem-to-fit-with-the-law,-you-know dept

Earlier this month, we pointed out that a judge had told the RIAA it needed to pay up for the legal fees for a woman it wrongly sued over unauthorized music sharing. Not surprisingly, the RIAA has asked the judge to reconsider, but there's also something even more interesting in the request. In the filing, the RIAA lawyers dispute the judge's claim that the RIAA's suit was frivolous and note that if they had been allowed to present more evidence they would have made it clear that the woman being sued should still be responsible for the activity on the account, even though she had nothing to do with the file sharing. The filing argues that, as a parent, she should have been aware of what her child was doing -- and that since the terms of service she agreed to with her ISP placed responsibility on her, then it automatically was her responsibility. On top of that, the filing points out that since she used the same computer, she should have noticed things like the Kazaa icon on the desktop or the annoying popup ads that come with the adware bundled with Kazaa. Of course, the filing doesn't explain how someone who isn't particularly computer savvy is supposed to immediately recognize that pop-up ads = your kid file sharing -- but that seems besides the point. Since it's become increasingly clear that the RIAA is filing these lawsuits based only on an IP address and a prayer (which hasn't been working out so well lately), it's interesting to see the lawyers hitting back and making the case that the owner of an account has liability for the actions of others. It's an argument that's been tried in the past and usually fails, so hopefully the judge will set the RIAA straight again.

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  1. identicon
    rstr5105, 23 Feb 2007 @ 11:08am

    re # 19

    actually yes they could. although mac spoofing is a rapidly growing trend, Joe USER doesn't know how to do this.

    All the **AA has to do is know that a certain file was downloaded at a certain IP at a certain time and subpeonea(IANAL might be the wrong word but you know what i mean) the router logs for that period of time and figure out which NIC was used to get said file.

    Most routers log both the DHCP client table and the Mac addresses of any wifi connections made.

    God I hope the MAFIAA doesn't read this post.

    *Scurries off to disable the logging on his router*

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