Supreme Court Apparently Interested In 'Innocent Infringer' RIAA Case

from the this-could-get-interesting dept

We've been covering the Whitney Harper "innocent infringement" case for a while now. Harper, as a teenager, was sued in one of the tens of thousands of RIAA lawsuits, for sharing some music via Limewire. US copyright law has a provision for "innocent infringement," where it lets you lower the statutory award amounts from a minimum of $750 down to $200. Harper made the case that she was unaware that sharing music via Limewire was unauthorized, as it seemed just like an online radio to her. While the district court sided with Harper in saying that it was innocent infringement, the record labels appealed and the appeals court reversed, claiming that because the CD cases of the music in question had proper copyright notices, Harper was properly notified... even though she never saw those cases.

Harper appealed to the Supreme Court earlier this year. At the time, I noted that while this is an important issue, I doubted the Supreme Court would hear the case. However, indicating a fair bit of interest, the Court has asked the RIAA to respond to Harper's appeal -- which generally indicates serious interest in potentially taking the case. According to Wired, the court normally agrees to hear less than 1% of appeals, but if it requests more info on a petition, then it tends to take 34% of those cases. Still long odds, but a lot more likely...

Filed Under: copyright, innocent infringement, supreme court, whitney harper


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  1. icon
    average_joe (profile), 23 Sep 2010 @ 8:51am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    That's an interesting theory about a future class action in the works. That wouldn't surprise me. I just figured Camara is continuing the journey he started with Nesson. These cases are his pet side project.

    Tenenbaum and Thomas-Rasset are a crazy couple of cases! What the heck were Nesson and Camara thinking? I'm actually really psyched about the judge in Tenenbaum finding that the statutory damages were unconstitutional. I gotta give Nesson props on that one. I'm anxious to see that one on appeal.

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