Legal Issues

by Mike Masnick




Judge Tells RIAA: Irreparable Harm Doesn't Mean What You Think It Means

from the try-again,-folks dept

The recording industry loves to throw around the term "irreparable harm" in its various lawsuits -- as if someone hearing a song they didn't pay for will mortally wound the industry. While some say that this is just standard legalese and we shouldn't read too much into it, it looks like a judge in New Mexico disagrees. In denying the RIAA's request to have the University of New Mexico simply hand over info on someone using their network (without letting that individual fight back against the request for info), the judge notes: "While the Court does not dispute that infringement of a copyright results in harm, it requires a Coleridgian 'suspension of disbelief' to accept that the harm is irreparable, especially when monetary damages can cure any alleged violation." However, the judge argues, turning over someone's private info without giving them a chance to defend themselves and protest could cause irreparable harm: "the harm related to disclosure of confidential information in a student or faculty member's Internet files can be equally harmful." Nice to see the judge recognize that just because someone may have listened to a song without paying for it, it doesn't mean that they lose all other rights.

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  • identicon
    GoblinJuice, 21 Jun 2007 @ 3:24am

    Smart judge.

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

  • identicon
    The infamous Joe, 21 Jun 2007 @ 4:04am

    Ha.

    Inconceivable!

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

  • identicon
    Koala MeatPie, 21 Jun 2007 @ 4:04am

    I like it when the RIAA takes it up the ass.

    It takes 50,000 downloads of ONE song to effect the sale of one CD.

    More and more people are Swtiching to ITunes and whatnot and actually buying mp3s.

    Sales are bound to go down.

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

    • identicon
      James, 21 Jun 2007 @ 7:54am

      Re:

      While I agree that the downloading of copyrighted material is overblown by the RIAA, as since the boom of filesharing began the profits of the RIAA have gone nowhere but up, I fail to see where you get your rediculous statistic of 50,000 to 1. If someone really really wants a CD and downloads it illegally instead of buying it, that has affected the sale of 1 CD.

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

  • identicon
    inc, 21 Jun 2007 @ 4:04am

    Glad to see the judicial system wake up from its slumber for a bit.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Jun 2007 @ 4:35am

    is it me or is there finally light at the end of the tunnel!!

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

  • identicon
    edgar, 21 Jun 2007 @ 5:34am

    irreparable harm

    For every song you download, God kills a kitten.

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

  • identicon
    Paul, 21 Jun 2007 @ 5:47am

    With iTunes Plus, things are really starting to look up. Yea, some people complain about the pricing, but when it comes down to it, we're finally getting the product we want. It's true CD quality audio (so those of you who complain its not good enough, then i'd like to know what is) and there's no copyright protection. The usual album cost is still $9.99 or a few bucks more for new releases and what not.

    Also, they let you upgrade your library without re-purchasing the songs. They inform you when a song you've purchased is available on itunes plus and then you only have to pay the difference (30 cents a song).

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

  • identicon
    Bruce, 21 Jun 2007 @ 6:24am

    After 20 years in the music business,I see that the music companies are getting what they deserve after screwing the public,the artists and their employees all these years.

    I've been there!

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

  • identicon
    glitch, 21 Jun 2007 @ 6:31am

    iTunes sux as much as Microsoft

    I would have no problem paying for the music i like - want.

    But only with what I want

    Gates and Jobs are both the same and I chose m$, next Linux

    idiot tunes is still too restrictive

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

  • identicon
    Noah, 21 Jun 2007 @ 7:16am

    University of Mexico?

    Great article, but I think it's University of New Mexico. No big deal, typos happen with everyone, including me.

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

    • identicon
      Chris, 21 Jun 2007 @ 7:38am

      Re: University of Mexico?

      hmm, thats funny. I didn't catch that

      You get the watchdog cookie
      *hands you cookie*
      This cookie is awarded to totally random people who point out random mistakes. I'm sorry about the bite missing, I got hungry

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

  • identicon
    Bob, 21 Jun 2007 @ 7:17am

    And coleridgian means what ??

    Nice article, but I now need to Google: "Coleridgian" as I have no idea what that means.

    Am I the only one in that boat?

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

  • identicon
    Kubuntu Rules, 21 Jun 2007 @ 7:58am

    I Tunes kills kittens

    First off Smart Judge
    Second groups like RIAA and MPAA will never adjust their business models unless they are forced to. As long as the Justice system protects their frivolous lawsuits they will keep doing what they have been doing. I really hope the rest of the American Judicial System starts ignoring them (also I dislike both these groups because they allowed Studios and Record Companies to pay Paris Hilton money to sing and act. And even worse then allowed them to release those products in stores).

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

  • identicon
    Beefcake, 21 Jun 2007 @ 8:26am

    Heinlein's Life Line

    Life Line is a short story in the serialized compilation The Man Who Sold the Moon (and quite probably elsewhere). This whole concept of technology outmoding certain industries is certainly not new, and Heinlein's protagonist offers some great arguments. Granted, it's just science fiction and hardly legally binding, but it's an excellent parallel to what we are seeing today.

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

    • identicon
      Beefcake, 21 Jun 2007 @ 8:27am

      Re: Heinlein's Life Line

      With apologies to Heinlein who I've read hated the term "science fiction". Allow me to correct-- it's "speculative" fiction.

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

      • identicon
        Beefcake, 21 Jun 2007 @ 8:33am

        Re: Re: Heinlein's Life Line

        One last off-topic tidbit-- I've just read on Wiki (so the caveat "for what it's worth" applies) that Life Line was actually his debut work, first published 1939 in Astounding Science Fiction magazine.

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

  • identicon
    me, 21 Jun 2007 @ 8:35am

    *New* Mexico

    "it looks like a judge in New Mexico disagrees. In denying the RIAA's request to have the University of Mexico..."

    University of *New* Mexico, por favor

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

  • identicon
    Bystander, 21 Jun 2007 @ 8:45am

    Inigo Montoya said it best

    "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Jun 2007 @ 10:04am

    Heinlein Rules !

    He's so much more than just a science/speculative fiction author.

    Although his stories are "can't put them down" good, he also states ideas worthy of consideration.

    Here's one of his quotes:
    --------
    The phrase "we (I) (you) simply must..." designates something that need not be done. "That goes without saying" is a red warning. "Of course" means you had best check it yourself.
    These small-change cliches and others like them, when read correctly, are reliable channel markers.
    Robert Heinlein, from Time Enough for Love

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

  • identicon
    mawst, 22 Jun 2007 @ 5:52am

    Statistics

    The problem I have is with these so called statistics. I download everything I can get my hands on. On the other hand, I've never really been a music or movie shopper.

    It's not like if the internet didn't exist I would be buying these cds. No money can be lost when i's not actually COSTING the company to download them. That's another point. None of these companies know about me, or for that mater any accurate number of how much downloading actually occurs.

    for the sake of not implicating anyone, I'm not going to get into specifics, but the sheer amount of methods people acquire music is staggering, and impossible to calculate.

    How much do these money hungry bastards spend in lawsuits, suing fans?

    The whole thing is pathetic. Everyone knows you make your money off touring anyways.

    Go cry.

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

  • identicon
    jeremy, 22 Jun 2007 @ 1:07pm

    finally

    I'm so glad to see a judge trying to get the RIAA to own up to it's crap. The way you use words means everything in court / politics / business, and it's all about money. This judge basically said that losing money doesn't mean someone is mortally wounded... Finally! Someone who makes sense in all this.

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


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