Supreme Court Asked To Explore Whether 'Innocent Infringement' Is A Legit Response In File Sharing Cases

from the might-not-matter-after-acta... dept

A few years back, we wrote about a teenager who used "innocent infringement" as a defense to an unauthorized file sharing lawsuit brought against her by the RIAA. Innocent infringement is in the law, as a way to reduce the statutory awards from the $750 minimum to $200. It doesn't absolve the person or get them out of paying, but can greatly lower the amount. The district court agreed, and said she could just pay the $200 rate. However, an appeals court overturned, saying that because CDs have copyright notices on them -- even though the girl never saw the CDs -- the girl should have known that the mp3s were infringing. The logic there made very little sense. How can you hold someone to a clause that was never seen?

The girl's lawyers have now appealed the case to the Supreme Court, which now has the option of weighing in on the matter (the Wired article linked here is a little misleading, in that at the beginning and in the headline, it implies that the Supreme Court has agreed to hear the case). If I had to guess, I'd say the Supreme Court won't take the case, even though it is an important issue.

Filed Under: copyright, innocent infringement, supreme court


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  1. identicon
    RD, 28 May 2010 @ 8:27am

    Re: Re: I withold comment till the court rules.

    "This is civil law, not criminal law. If someone can be held to the terms of a contract they've never seen, then what's to stop me from creating a contract that says "anyone who downloads this file owes me $1000 and anyone who doesn't download this file owes me $2000."

    You arent a big corporation with deep pockets and expensive lawyers, and you havent bought or bribed the right congressmen and judges, thats why.

    They can get away with crap like this, but if its the average person, then suddenly "the law" matters a whole lot more, and correct and proper interpretation of the law suddenly matters.

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Insider Shop - Show Your Support!

Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads

Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.