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


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  1. icon
    Technopolitical (profile), 28 May 2010 @ 10:50am

    Re: I withold comment till the court rules.

    Points of info:

    If I come to your house to sell cookies for my high school debate team:

    1] if you got a sign up , " no trespassing", I am not allowed to cross your property line. Period. And can be arrested if I do.

    2] If you have no sign , I must leave immediately from your property upon being asked , buy owner or resident of property.

    3] If while walking to you door,, I knock over a flower pot , with your prized orchid:
    A} no sign that stated do not trespass : I am guilty for damages to the flower pot only , but not trespassing.

    B} If the sign read " NO TRESPASSING" , and you knock over my flower pot with my prized orchid:
    Not only do you owe me for a new flower pot and orchid , but you could be prosecuted and convicted of CRIMINAL TRESPASS, (according to NY state Law, other states may be different , call your local DA.).

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