'Innocent Infringement' As A Way To Lower Copyright Infringement Damages?

from the seems-like-a-stretch dept

You often hear it repeated that "ignorance is no defense" to breaking the law, but it may actually be working in one copyright infringement lawsuit. Ray Beckerman has the details on a case where the RIAA is suing a teenager who claimed "innocent infringement" as a way to get the damages lowered from the $750 to $150,000 per file that the RIAA always pushes for. So, while the RIAA pointed out that there was a copyright notice on every CD, the court sided with the girl who pointed out that there was no such copyright notice on Kazaa or the songs she downloaded. In fact, she wasn't even aware that she was "downloading" -- assuming that Kazaa worked more like a radio. Of course, before others make the same argument, it does pay to recognize that the facts in this case are likely to be unique to this case, and probably don't apply in many other cases. The real problem still remains the ridiculous disconnect between the amount of "damages" allowed under the law and the actual "harm" (if any) caused by file sharing.

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  1. identicon
    Terry G, 26 Sep 2008 @ 1:43pm

    My son is a student at Duke University in North Carolina. He is a child of a single mother who went to school there on an athletic scholarship. We are in no way well off. I am am a hard working widowed mother. The RIAA is suing my son for copyright infringment for filesharing (He had it set to no sharing allowed until the University came and changed something with the computer set-up and then he got the dreaded letter)- the subpeona says Total Audio Files 811 and then it shows 9 song titles below that. Will he be charged for all 811 files?

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