Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) is on the march again, hunting down and prosecuting those dangerous individuals who are sharing music with each other and depriving the recording industry of potential small profits against its millions. The latest RIAA claim against two individuals has been accepted for litigation by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a public interest, non-profit organization.
The RIAA brought an action in U.S. District Court in Arizona against a couple, The Howells, on the grounds of “attempted” copyright infringement without any actual dissemination or transfer of the alleged copyrighted music having occurred. The Howells allegedly committed their offense by using Peer to Peer (P2P) file sharing software and having downloaded approximately 13 music selections that were then stored in their music file directories.
There is no proof that the files were even opened or listened to or that the files were disseminated or shared with anyone else. In fact, after this case was brought, the RIAA then filed a Motion for Summary Judgment asking the Judge to rule in its favor immediately on the basis that there were no points to be successfully argued by the defendants. At this point, the EFF and The Howells’ lawyers decided this case was worth challenging and have now filed an Amicus Curiae (“friend of the court”) Brief in Opposition to the RIAA’s Motion for Summary Judgment against the Howells.
The amicus curiae hearing on the Motion for Summary Judgment in the Howells’ case, Atlantic v. Howell, is scheduled for January 24, 2008. This is an important case in that it tests the rules for what constitutes actual copyright infringement. To date, it does not consist of attempt.
Read the Amicus Curiae brief here
Read the complete posting of EFF’s Senior Staff Attorney here