Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Declaratory judgment counterclaims dismissed in RIAA's case against Usenet.com, Arista Records v. Usenet.com, Inc.

In Arista Records v. Usenet.com, Inc., the RIAA's case against web site Usenet.com, Inc., the Court has dismissed the defendant's counterclaims for declaratory judgment, on the ground that they were mere mirror images of the plaintiffs' complaint against defendant.

November 24, 2008, decision dismissing counterclaims



Keywords: lawyer digital copyright law online internet 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 intellectual property portable music player

5 comments:

Ray Beckerman said...

Comment deleted. Off topic. Also misstates ruling.

Albert said...

It looks to me unlike the typical John Doe Information farming suits(or the individual suits that follow if they cannot get you to agree to a settlement), this one might be reasonable to dismiss the duplicate claims.

In your typical "Regular" filesharing case reported here, the Plaintiffs appear to be willing to cut and run if there is any danger that they might lose a ruling. This is why they do not like counterclaims, because that interferes with their ability to drop cases at will without paying attorney fees to the other side.

In this case, the KEY issue is the DMCA which states service providers cannot be held accountable for content that they did not in fact post or moderate. This is a defense not found in our typical case here.

Since the content the RIAA complains of is posted by others, and Usenet.com simply provides a full, unmoderated feed of all newsgroups, how can Usenet.com be an infringer?

Since the Court is permitted to switch the labeling of Counterclaims and Affirmative Defenses, I see nothing in the dismissal that would prevent Usenet.com from raising the service provider exemption in the DMCA. As such, unless the RIAA wants to try to prove that the agents of Usenet.com are responsible for posting the song files they are complaining of, I can see no way that the service provider exemption would not apply. AOL has already received a ruling that they are not responsible for postings they did not post or moderate.

I say why should the RIAA be able to attack Usenet and Usenet.com, which is a network of computers totally under machine control, that automatically store and forwards without any human moderation in the ALT groups where im sure the postings they complain of are posted. Also, unlike the big 8, new ALT groups can be created by ANYONE. This has the effect of preventing Usenet from being able to ban certain named groups, because the posters would simply create a new similar name and purpose group to replace it.

I say, make them go after the original posters only, as they are the ONLY responsible party. Of course, logging on Usenet servers around the world I would bet are likely even more sparse than ISP IP logs, so good luck trying to identify the original poster. If they inserted a couple of extra fake items in the path header, or if the first host shown resolves to a non-us IP address (forged or real), good luck trying to get other nations to listen to a US Court.

Albert

Anonymous said...

I would have expected Defendant to make a motion for summary judgment in this case ... AFAIK the facts are on Defendant's side.

XYZZY

Not Telling said...

You are not responsible for infringing material posted by your users.

If you are a service provider then your service must be capable of significant non-infringing use. Undeniably, newsgroups have significant non-infringing uses but the RIAA is arguing here that over 99% of the UseNET traffic is from people downloading copyrighted material.

But in MGM vs Grokster, the Supreme Court held that one who operates a service while promoting its use to infringe copyrights is liable for the underlying acts of infringement.

The current UseNET website doesn't make any mention of downloading MP3s, movies, games or any other copyrighted material. It does mention downloading, but anything that you access on the internet must be downloaded.

Having said that, the Complaint has screenshots of the previous UseNET website that talks about sharing MP3s, and how UseNET is better than peer-to-peer. So it is likely that they changed their website after this lawsuit was filed. See page 81 of the complaint.

I believe that under the MGM vs Grokster ruling, UseNET will liable.

Anonymous said...

Not Telling: But sharing mp3s is often legal! Countless mp3s are public domain, liberally licensed, or otherwise safe for file sharing.

*yt*