Received this welcome report from the Franklin Pierce Law Center, whose clinical program has been defending Mavis Roy, in New Hampshire, in UMG Recordings v. Roy:
Clinics Post Victory in Downloading CaseDefendant's Expert Witness Report
After nearly a year of research, litigating and negotiating, students in Franklin Pierce Law Center's Consumer and Commercial Law and Intellectual Property and Transaction Clinics have posted a victory in a music downloading case brought in U.S. District Court by members of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) against Mavis Roy.
Roy, of Hudson, New Hampshire, had been charged by four record labels with downloading and distributing hundreds of songs from the Internet. A letter from the record companies' attorneys in July 2007 directed her to a web site where she could pay by credit card to settle the case. Since she did not have a computer in her house at the time she was alleged to have downloaded the music, she ignored the requests. "For many months she thought it was just a scam," Pierce Law Clinic director Peter Wright is quoted in a story about the Clinics' involvement in the case in The Union Leader of January 26, 2009.
The Clinics appeared on her behalf in the federal law suit and the parties agreed to open the default judgment that had been entered so Roy could mount her defense. During the next eleven months both sides thoroughly investigated, researched and prepared for trial. Central to the Roy defense was a very compelling expert report from Dr. Sergey Bratus, Research Assistant Professor at Dartmouth College Department of Computer Science, that seriously challenged RIAA's evidence linking the downloading activity to Roy's computer.
Two weeks after Dr. Bratus' report was disclosed and on the eve of depositions which had been scheduled for Roy and her entire family, a settlement was reached. Under the terms of settlement, the case is dismissed with prejudice and neither side is paying the other any money.
Intellectual Property and Transaction Clinic Professor Ashlyn Lembree said of the students working on the case, "They really felt for Mavis and worked very hard to learn all the ins and outs of networks and Internet service to provide her with the best defense."
In a letter expressing her gratitude to the Clinics and their students for working so hard for her, Mavis noted that despite the positive outcome of her case, she is "still unsettled that the record companies are able to treat upstanding American Citizens this way."
This was one of several RIAA downloading cases still active in the courts. The RIAA has announced that it will discontinue pursuing litigation against individuals where downloading is suspected, looking instead to the Internet providers to deter such activity.
In Pierce Law Clinics, students gain practical experience researching cases, deposing clients, preparing strategies, even presenting arguments during trial. Students are eligible for clinic work after they have completed their 1L year.
The expert witness was Prof. Sergey Bratus of Dartmouth College. Prof. Bratus's report sharply criticized Prof. Jacobson's reports and the MediaSentry evidence, and agreed with the expert reports of Prof. Yongdae Kim in Capitol Records v. Thomas-Rasset and of Prof. Johan Pouwelse in UMG Recordings v. Lindor.
The students worked under the supervision of Prof. Ashlyn Lembree and Prof. Peter S. Wright.
The Free Software Foundation had made a grant to Ms. Roy to enable her to hire an expert witness, under its Expert Witness Defense Program.
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