Wednesday, November 14, 2007

RIAA Pursuing Case in Georgia Against Young Lady Who Was 13 or 14 years old at time of infringement

We have just learned of a case being prosecuted in Columbus, Georgia, in which the RIAA is pursuing an 18-year-old girl based on infringements she apparently committed when she was 13 and 14, Elektra v. McDowell.

The RIAA moved for summary judgment.

The Court granted the motion to the extent that it sought an injunction against further infringement, but denied the motion as to damages, holding that there were factual issues concerning the defendant's defense of innocent infringement.

RIAA's Statement of Material Facts*
Defendant's Opposition to Motion for Summary Judgment*
November 6, 2007, Order, Granting in Part, and Denying in Part, RIAA's Motion for Summary Judgment* (Also reported at 2007 WL 3286622)

* 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


Alter_Fritz said...

Ray confess! you just did this easy to spot error just so you see if I'm still there and looking out for you. ;-)

one "e" to much in the your third link.

Anonymous said...

Isn't there a statute of limitations?

Also, if you're underage at the time of the action, are they allowed to wait until you are an adult, and then charge you as one?

Other than that, the fact that the RIAA pursues children years after the fact should hardly be considered news any longer.

Btw, the link to the November 6, 2007 Order is broken.

raybeckerman said...

I confess, Alter_Fritz....

You'd been much too quiet lately.

I had to flush you out to see if you were "lurking".

Plus I need your input. Don't dare vacation again.

raybeckerman said...

At least not without clearing it with me.

Virtualchoirboy said...

You know, the more I read these cases and the responses from the RIAA, I find myself wondering just how it is they get to sleep at night. The completely heartless approach they seem to take in order to "win at all costs" is driving me further and further away from buying ANY music from the major labels and instead to look for artists like Radiohead to support.

I'm also appalled by the especially callous response regarding the defendants potential "access" to valid copyright notices. By implying that a 13 or 14 year old child can just wander off to a retail store anytime they need to "access" a valid copyright notice is a sign of 1 of 2 things:
(1) The attorney making that statement does not have children and doesn't understand the first thing about parental responsibility
(2) The attorney making that statement doesn't care what it takes, as long as they win.

At least the first gives them the benefit of the doubt at being ignorant, but somehow, I suspect #2 is more accurate.

The defendant (1) admitted downloading, (2) was not aware that she was automatically sharing once she downloaded and (3) will likely never download or share again. If the true intent of their "campaign" was instructional, they'd agree to the "innocent defender" motion and let the lower judgment be enforces. Doing anything else reveals their true nature - that their intent seems to be to hurt, punish and abuse their customers to the maximum extent possible.

I want to thank you, Ray, for maintaining your blog. It has helped me educate my family. Now, instead of buying the music put out by the major labels, my two sons, their friends that I've been able to talk to (20-30 kids), their 12 cousins, their cousins friends (no idea how many, but probably over 100) and every parent that dares to talk about music around me, looks for alternative music. I don't support piracy, but I sure as heck won't support the major labels anymore either. I look forward to the day when they either understand that they need to change or disappear forever. Thanks again!

raybeckerman said...


I haven't been able to get it out of my mind what fiends the RIAA's lawyers are.

This young woman has to start her adulthood with a judgment against her and a bankruptcy, because she downloaded some song files when she was 13 and 14.

I don't know how Richard Gabriel sleeps at night.

If I were his parent I would be mortified.

Anonymous said...

It's not what Richard Gabriel files that's the problem.

It's what the judges in these cases are letting him get away with.

Virtualchoirboy said...

A little off topic, but I heard a few lyrics from an old favorite today that just seem so appropriate every time I hear them. From "Spirit of the Radio" by Rush:

One likes to believe
in the freedom of music
But glittering prizes
and endless compromises
shatter the illusion
of integrity.

Makes me wonder if Neil Peart understood where everything was headed all the way back in 1980. I think by "freedom of music", he was referring more to the nature of music in that once you hear it, it can stay with you forever and can be passed on by people singing a familiar song or humming a favorite tune. The rest just speaks volumes to how he saw the music industry over a quarter century ago. The rest of the world has come so far and yet the music industry itself seems to have barely taken a step.

Sometimes, I wish they would just wake up and realize what they are doing. I know it will never happen, but you've gotta have dreams, right?


Anonymous said...

I thought the SoL was 3 years. If it happened when she was 14, and she's 18 now, the claim shoud be time-barred.