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Judge Rejects RIAA Piracy Claims

The RIAA argued that any “sound recording” that is ripped to a PC and is made available to share constitutes has unauthorized distribution. However, U.S. District Judge Neil V. Wake rejected the notion that making something available to others on a file-sharing network does not violate any copyright. Wake ruled there was no evidence of infringement. Merely making content available is an attempt to infringe, but attempted infringement is not illegal.

The RIAA asked damages for 42 songs made available in Jeffery Howell’s shared Kazaa folder. MediaSentry, a contractor for the RIAA, had downloaded 12 of the 42 songs made available. While there was no question that Howell had music available, Judge Wake demanded proof from the RIAA that someone actually downloaded each song and that the defendant had intentionally place the music under his shared folder.

Howell admitted to installing Kazaa for adult content, freeware, and e-books, but claims the Kazaa software shared his music without this knowledge, music he ripped from his CDs.

It’s worth noting that this is a complete reversal of a previous ruling Judge Wake made last August, where Wake ruled the mere presence of copyrighted works was enough for liability. This new ruling sets a higher bar for the RIAA to reach for when trying to prove infringement violations against file sharers and potentially may force record labels to rethink their strategy. The new decision adds to the growing number of rulings that make infringement cases against file-sharers much more difficult to win for the RIAA.

The RIAA indicated that it could appeal and will look towards all options going forward.

  • About time these guys had their asses handed to them.
  • Turas
    Agreed. Hopefully first of many to come.
  • lopopo
    RIAA, MPAA and all other morons need to wake up and smell the coffee. Piracy will never stop, it will only become temporarily harder or easier depending on technology. Yes it is 100% wrong. Today people think that there is only one type of economical model for selling copyrighted works. We can all benefit if Developers just make some compromises and a social bargain .
  • Sounds to me like a bit of entrapment.... a contractor of the RIAA???
  • It's going to be a long uphill battle for the MPAA/RIAA. Way before Napster and the P2P networks, users who wanted free movies/songs could get them just as easily. Just a matter of knowing where to look. The thing is - they're barking up the wrong tree. When was the last time there was a singer/band worth paying for? How many movies are released per year, and of those, how many are worth paying to see or buy? Until the industries put their effort into producing quality recordings/movies rather than in the mouths of their lawyers/contractors, I really don't give a *NMAD* about all the judgements for/against them. They're not getting my pennies. -P.S. I do put my money where my mouth... err.. fingers are - I purchase all the CDs/DVDs which I felt were good products after I "preview" them courtesy of the P2P networks. ;) Quality, which the P2P networks can't provide, comes at a price for me; it should be the same for the MPAA/RIAA.