Monday, October 15, 2007

Update on RIAA Ruling

Apparently, $222,000 in fines is "constitutionally excessive." According to the lawyer representing the woman fined for illegally sharing copyrighted songs, the sum of money is just too much to ask for. Check out the article here.

Some of the highlights are found below:

"The Minnesota woman a federal jury dinged $220,000 for pirating 24 copyrighted songs asked the trial judge on Monday to set aside the verdict on the grounds the judgment is unconstitutionally excessive.

It's a novel theory that, if successful, could undermine the Recording Industry Association of America's litigation machine that has sued thousands of alleged pirates.

The petition (.pdf) to U.S. District Judge Michael Davis, among other things, challenges the constitutionality of the 1976 Copyright Act, the law under which the RIAA sued Jammie Thomas of Minnesota, as well as over 20,000 other defendants. The $750 to $150,000 fines the act authorizes for each download is unconstitutionally excessive and against U.S. Supreme Court precedent, wrote Brian Toder, Thomas' attorney.

The RIAA said the argument is "baseless." In pretrial court documents in a New York federal copyright case against a Brooklyn woman, the RIAA acknowledged that such an argument might kill its zero-tolerance suing machine by making "it economically unsound for any copyright owner to seek to protect its copyright interests.'"

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