by Mike Masnick
Mon, Feb 25th 2008 8:03pm
Yet another court has rejected the RIAA's "making available" theory of copyright infringement. As a central part to most RIAA cases against individuals for file sharing, the record labels have insisted that merely making an unauthorized music file "available" for file sharing is the equivalent of copyright infringement. Others have pointed out that the law is pretty clear that there needs to be actual distribution (i.e., a copy is actually made) before you can show infringement. The RIAA doesn't like that theory because the evidence they have usually only shows that a file is available, not that it was actually shared. The specific case at hand involved the RIAA asking for a default judgment against an individual who did not respond to charges of infringement, but the judge rejected the default judgment, noting that by using the "making available" standard, the complaint was insufficient. The judge, among other things, points to William Patry's book on copyright, where he explains that "without actual distribution of copies.... there is no violation [of] the distribution right" and also to the infamous Perfect 10 ruling concerning copyright infringement of thumbnail images.
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