Monday, August 21, 2006

Defendant Opposes RIAA Attempt to Examine Her Computer Hard Drive in SONY v. Arellanes

Defendant is resisting the RIAA's attempt to compel an unrestricted examination of her hard drive in SONY v. Arellanes. Her attorneys argue that the RIAA's motion fails to provide appropriate safeguards:

Opposition to Motion to Compel Inspection of Hard Drive*
Defendant's Suggested Protective Order Motion*

The RIAA's initial motion:

Motion to Compel Inspection of Hard Drive*

*Document published online at Internet Law & Regulation

Mrs. Arellanes is represented by John Browning of Browning & Fleishman, P.C., of Dallas, Texas.

Keywords: digital copyright online download upload peer to peer p2p file sharing filesharing music movies indie label freeculture creative commons pop/rock artists riaa independent mp3 cd favorite songs


CodeWarrior said...

It continues to astound the layperson at the lengths to which the toadies for the RIAA will go to in the pursuit of inflicting burdensome duties on the defendant.

I claim, even if she did download an MP3, the original copyrighted song was NOT an MP3, and since an MP3 is by definition, a compressed file, not containing all data of the original, then, perhaps, an MP3 should be seen as "limited material used in a non-commercial means for private use" and that the FAIR USE doctrine should apply to such copying of limited amounts of copyrighted materials for non-commercial, critical use.

Alter_Fritz said...

codewarrior wrote: [...]and since an MP3 is by definition, a compressed file, not containing all data of the original, then, perhaps, an MP3 should be seen as "limited material used in a non-commercial means for private use" and that the FAIR USE doctrine should apply[...]

IANAL and I have no real understanding of US consumers fair use rights, but your thoughts are IMO worth to be thought as a defense. This argument sounds very logic to me.

And since the MAFIAA™ does NOT sell mp3 by themself they could not even argue a a counter argument that those MP3s are infact the copyrighted work itself.
(Let's see what pro-people, pro-culture lawyers think about your argument)

jaded said...

While in no way germane to the legal issue being addressed by this motion, the above responses serve as a means for me to offer a rhetorical question by means of an analogy.

What exactly is it that is copyrighted? Is it the exact form of the information that is encoded on a CD? Is it the aural soundwaves that emanate from a speaker or a headset? If one distorts/modifies either of these two artifacts, does the modification retain it's copyright protection?

Here's the analogy:

There is no question that a book is copyrighted. There is probably no question that a scanned version of that book that is simply an ASCII text file is copyrighted (not sure given the above rhetorical questions, however). But what about a data file that is composed of nothing but an alphabetical listing of all of the words, and punctuation marks, that are in a particular book along with a series of coded references for each of those alphabetized words that indicates the page number that that word is found on and the sequence number of that word on that page. It should be obvious that that file, in and of itself, is not the orginal book and could not simply be read as if it were the original book. However, it should be just as obvious that that file can be easily parsed and converted into a file that is readable (in fact, software could probably do it on the fly given enough memory to work with).

The simple question becomes does that coded file enjoy copyright priveleges? Is anthing less than a 1-to-1 (or substantively 1-to-1) version of the original copyrighted material really copyrighted? Similarly, would a crypto encoded version of a copyrighted file be copyrighted?

In the book example I cited above, I can easily covert the intermediate form of the document back into a faithful representation of the orginal. One cannot do that with mp3 files. There would be data missing in the conversion back to the original form (some will say they cannot hear that missing data - others will say that they can) and thus it is not a faithful reproduction.

Hopefully this hasn't digressed things too much.....

jaded said...

After I posted, I thought of a situation that ever further complicates the answer. So, with your indulgence,

Let's say we take that already 'encoded' version of the book and further break that file up into n files with each of the n files having a random set of words in the book, each in and of itself being insufficient to recreate the original book, but the possession of the totality of the n files would allow a recreation to occur. If I distribute one of those n files (i.e., some random subset of that book that could only result in a totally fractured representation of the original book), have I violated some copyright distribution restriction?

Again, apologies if too off-base.


C said...

interesting that this should come up at such a time... there was some paper or other floating about on digg last week about multi use encoding or something... << htats the link in anycase.