Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Arista v. Usenet complaint available online

Although it's not directly on topic, we will provide occasional coverage of the RIAA's secondary infringement case against Usenet.com, since it may be of interest to our readers.

Copies of the complaint are available online.

Complaint in Arista v. Usenet (Hosted by Wired.com)
(Alternate Link)(Hosted by Internet Law & Regulation)*

* Document published online at Internet Law & Regulation

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





3 comments:

jbrooks said...

Well, I disagree, this case is definately on topic, Recording Industry Against the People. Also, perhaps not of interest to Ray Beckerman, the complaint alleges that Usenet.com is a primary infringer as well as a secondary infringer. The complaint uses most of its space alleging primary infringment, not secondary or vicarious infringment.

As a point of clarification, the Defendant is usenet.com, and NOT usenet. The Usenet is a basic component of the original internet, not owned by anybody but subject to the protocols and governance of an international governing body, and NOT the defendant in this suit.

After having visited the usenet.com website, it is clear that usenet.com is acting more in the vein of internet service provider for newsgroups than anything else. In that vein, they should probably invoke the DMCA safe harbor provisions. Assuming the RIAA, their lackeys, and their ilk have not sent DMCA takedown notices for specific alleged infringing content, then this suit should be dismissed out of hand under the DMCA. Assuming the RIAA et al have in fact sent DMCA takedown notices, presumably the Usenet.com would not be so stupid as to not have acted on those notices. Hopefully they can prove they have complied for the majority of any notices they have received.

The major point to make is that usenet news on the internet is a much bigger entity than whatever portion of usenet news, certain posts and downloads from any or all of the newsgroups, might be used by individuals either uploading or downloading copyrighted content without authorization from the copyright owner. With out question there are significant non-infringing uses of the usenet. The proper action for the RIAA is to submit the DMCA takedown notices for alleged infringing content, and not to bring suit in federal court. In reading the complaint, I found no allegations that usenet.com failed to remove infringing content in response to a takedown notice.

The other point would be that usenet.com is not the entire usenet, of the internet. Assuming arguendo that usenet.com is either a direct infringer or vicarious infringer because of the existence of the usenet on the internet, how can you allocate any damages without joining the entire usenet and every entity participating ( every ISP worldwide) in order to allocat pro rata responsibility? There are hundreds of operations similar to usenet.com offering access ot usenet newsgroups on the internet including nearly every ISP.

Alter_Fritz said...

I'm feeling a bit guilty now;
It seems Jenner and Block's Bart used my Road Map to find stuff they present in the exhibits that is ca. 4 years (the google groups posting) or even 8 years old (the FAQ).

Me wonders if Mr. Bart hasn't read his own Exhibit R or why there isn't any "Exhibit S" that shows at least one of the notices that are required according to your DMCA.

Me further wonders if the RIAA isn't afraid that they will drive with such a publicly suit even more "non-geeky" normal consumers to those alternate means for obtaining their daily dose of product.
Since they themself were to dinosaur-like technophobe to take advantage of the digital distribution channel in the last 7-8 years since Napster and they only start now to come up with means to sell sound quality reduced mp3's for (relatively) high prices while the over 20 year old USENET again shows the leading way! (Exhibit D p95). Which is: lossless digital quality without "annoyance factor" (DRM) for a fair price. ($18,95 for "all you can eat of product" seems fair. Too bad it isn't the labels who get that money since they don't set up such a system like the defendant had done on their own to cash in on customers that are willing to pay the labels if they only would provide their catalogue to consumer in a userfriendly way!)

Thank god nowadays those that are the real creators of the product -the artists- are embracing digital distribution technology on their own! Radiohead and Co. for the win and "devastation" of the greedy obsolete labels.

It seems those in charge in the labels are still unable to grasp market reality and refuse to see how they could make billions over billions with all their huge backcatalogue. *insert Nelson Munz quote here*

Ray Beckerman said...

Glad you find it on topic, jbrooks.

Alter, these record companies are history.