by Mike Masnick
Wed, Jul 1st 2009 5:39am
When the RIAA first sued Usenet.com, we thought it could make for an interesting case. After all, you could make a decent argument that there are a ton of non-infringing uses of Usenet. However, as the details came out, it became pretty clear that Usenet.com dug its own grave, so it should be no surprise at all that a judge was quick to side with the RIAA. There are two main things at issue: first, it appears that Usenet.com may have destroyed evidence -- shades of TorrentSpy. It doesn't matter how the rest of the case shakes out -- if you're caught destroying evidence, you're already at the bottom of a big, big hill. Not only that, but in explaining the destroyed evidence, they gave contradictory explanations suggesting they then lied about the destruction of evidence. Another major no-no. The second issue was that the folks at Usenet.com were incredibly blatant in advertising its services for infringing on copyrighted materials. Whether you agree with the Grokster "contributory" infringement concept or not, it is the rule that the courts need to follow, and there does seem to be rather overwhelming evidence that Usenet.com regularly promoted the fact that it was a better way to infringe on copyrights. So, while the RIAA will again crow about this victory, it's a victory over an egregious player in the space who appears to have gone way over the line.
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