Any day now we will be finding out whether the Obama Administration, which pledged to work for the people, and to keep officials from working on matters affecting the industries they represented in private life, will be intervening to help the RIAA defend its position that it's okay to assess statutory damages of from $750 to $150,000 for infringement of a single mp3 file.
This will be the litmus test of whether, as many fear, the Obama/Biden administration will be tools of the 'Big 4' Record Companies.
The Obama Department of Justice has former RIAA lawyers in its 2nd and 3rd highest positions. Under the rules, they, and any of their compatriots whom they may have brought with them, should be precluded from having anything to do with the Justice Department's decisions as to (a) whether or not to intervene and (b) if they do intervene, what position they will take.
In SONY BMG Music Entertainment v. Cloud in Pennsylvania, and SONY BMG Music Entertainment v. Tenenbaum in Massachusetts, we will probably find out any day now.
In Tenenbaum the Free Software Foundation filed its amicus curiae brief yesterday, reminding the Court of the authorities which say that statutory damages are subject to the same Due Process test as punitive damages.
[Ed. note. If the Justice Department lawyers have the temerity to say to the Court that statutory damages of from 2,100 to 425,000 times the actual damages sustained pass constitutional muster, we can pretty well count the Obama Justice Department out as anything other than a lackey for the RIAA in this struggle. -R.B.]
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