RIAA Calls Another Critic Vexatious After She Points Out Flaw In RIAA Logic

from the time-to-get-a-thesaurus dept

It appears that someone in the RIAA's legal team discovered the word "vexatious" lately and now likes to use it. First, the RIAA declared lawyer Ray Beckerman vexatious, and now it's trying to pin the same word on a woman who is demanding a jury trial in her battle against the RIAA. We had written about this case back in August, where the woman used an innocent infringement defense to try to get the fines for file sharing decreased. That is, she admitted that she had shared the files, but rather than accepting the $750 to $150,000/per song fines that might entail, she claimed that she had no idea what she was doing was illegal, and that the law allows for such cases to be reduced to a $200/song fine.

The RIAA initially pushed back on this, but eventually relented and let the judge set a $7,400 total fine, thinking that the case was pretty much wrapped up. Except... there's the problem of the Jammie Thomas mistrial ruling, which added to a long list of rulings that claimed that "making available" files wasn't necessarily infringement. So, the woman in this case, Whitney Harper, is now pointing out that the number of files she's "guilty" of infringing should be reduced based on the Thomas ruling. She notes that while she made 37 songs available for download (hence the $7,400 fine), the RIAA only has evidence that six songs were downloaded. Thus, she believes the fine should be reduced to $1,200, and would like a jury to hear the case. You can understand why the RIAA might be frustrated, but considering how quickly it rushes out to tell other judges in ongoing cases whenever one judge rules in its favor, it seems only reasonable to have a court reconsider this case in light of the Thomas ruling.

Filed Under: innocent infringement, lawsuits, riaa, vexatious, whitney harper

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  1. identicon
    Jesse, 20 Oct 2008 @ 9:55am

    Here's what it comes down to. Proponents of "intellectual property" want to be allowed to profit from infinitely low reproduction and distribution costs, but do not want the consumer to also benefit from infinitely low distribution costs. I don't want to benefit from someone else's work with out contributing, but I also don't want to pay somebody for nothing (ie an unreasonable profit margin). What's worse, I don't want to pay somebody for something they did 20, 30, 40 years ago, particularly if they have already been more than adequately compensated. IP proponents, in these regards, are just as greedy as those individuals that pirate to avoid supporting any artists in any circumstances.

    You talk about capitalist society: the business' need a profit margin, but the consumers are also always pushing for the price to drop. When demand and supply is high, equilibrium is pretty much at cost.

    Every business wants to increase their margin as much as possible. If piracy didn't exist, if everyone were good little consumer and paid what they were asked to pay, what do you think the pricing would look like? The way I see it, piracy isn't about ripping off people who do legitimate work (though it may be for some), it is a natural check and balance on the businesses trying to benefit from 0 distribution cost and not pass that on to the consumer.

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