Will The RIAA Sue Judge Kozinski For Sharing MP3s?

from the just-wondering dept

While judge Alex Kozinski is getting a ton of press for accidentally sharing pornographic images from his webserver, Justin Levine notes that the report concerning what was on the server also found music MP3s from musicians like Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan and Weird Al Yankovic. Levine wonders if the RIAA will now sue this federal judge as well. In fact, things could get tricky in that some research suggests not only was Kozinski storing MP3s, he may have actively been sharing some of those MP3s as well. That same link mentions that in one of many copyright infringement lawsuits concerning the company Perfect 10, Kozinski wrote a dissenting opinion suggesting that facilitating copyright infringement should be seen as infringement as well:
"When it comes to traffic in material that violates the Copyright Act, the policy of the United States is embedded in the FBI warning we see at the start of every lawfully purchased or rented video: Infringers are to be stopped and prosecuted."
There's a lot more involved in his opinion, which really focuses on credit card companies profiting from infringement -- but considering how he much he writes against those who help others infringe, it's probably not a wise idea that he was out there sharing music files himself.

However, to be fair, as the details come out, this whole thing is quite clearly a witch hunt by someone who seriously dislikes the judge. As we noted when the story broke, it's perfectly ridiculous to try to suggest this makes him any less qualified to judge cases. And, indeed, as the details come out about the content on his server, it's becoming clear that it is, as he noted "funny" stuff. It's all basically the sort of silly viral content that gets passed around all the time, much more for the amusement factor than any sort of titillation.

This post certainly isn't to slam Kozinski, who seems like a genuinely thoughtful judge -- with a sense of humor to boot (he famously nominated himself for a mocking "Judicial Hottie" contest run by a blog, noting: "While I think the list of female candidates is excellent, the list of male candidates is, frankly, lacking. And what it's lacking is me.... I have it on very good authority that discerning females and gay men find graying, pudgy, middle-aged men with an accent close to Gov. Schwarzenegger's almost totally irresistible." The fact that he was also sharing MP3s, again, is just yet another reminder that, contrary to the entertainment's claim that "education" will solve music sharing, many people just think it's perfectly natural and reasonable to share a song with some friends.

Filed Under: alex kozinski, contributory infringement, copyright, file sharing, mp3s, music

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  1. identicon
    Hulser, 13 Jun 2008 @ 12:23pm

    If he had been abusing children and claimed he thought it was "perfectly natural and reasonable", would you be calling for a repeal of child abuse laws?

    I think what your analogy doesn't take into account is different degrees in breaking a law. As for "abusing children", there's a big different between beating your kid to a bloody pulp and letting them ride their bike without a helmet. The latter example seems silly, but I'm sure there are plenty of people out there that would think you're criminally endangering your kid if you don't make them wear a helmet when riding a bike.

    The point is that there's a big difference between pirating thousands of first-run movies on DVD for profit and accidentally giving people access to copyrighted material because you left your server unsecured. But under the laws that exist now in many places around the world, the punishments would be the same.

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