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
    BigKeithO, 20 Oct 2008 @ 2:21pm

    Re: Re: Fines and the LAW

    Techdirt does tend to be full of people who think that the music business needs to find a new way to make money, but are they so wrong? How many people do you know who do/have downloaded music? I know quite a few, if the general population thinks that it is okay to download music shouldn't the music industry attempt to find a way to make money off of that? How does it make sense to go around and sue anyone and everyone that you can? At some point people need to realize that perhaps the LAW is wrong.

    Both sides of the argument make sense to me, people seem think that music is too expensive and don't want to buy CD's anymore. The music industry wants to sell music but is unwilling to try to give the people what they want, that is the basis behind a lot of comments on Techdirt I believe. You may argue that it is the businesses decision on how to make money, and you would be right, but when you see how widespread file sharing has become does it not make sense to pursue a different business model? It seems like they are wasting resources fighting an un-winnable battle against file sharers. This "battle" has been going on for how long now? 10 years or so? File sharing isn't going away any time soon. Maybe it is time to stop fighting it and time to start finding a way to make money off of it.

    My $0.02.

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