Monday, January 07, 2008

Portland Morning Sentinel: "Maine law students enter battle on downloading, against record labels"

From this morning's Portland Morning Sentinel:

Maine law students enter battle on downloading, against record labels


Blethen Maine Newspapers Kennebec Journal & Morning Sentinel 01/07/2008

Lisa Chmelecki and Hannah Ames, friends and third-year students at the University of Maine School of Law in Portland, had never studied copyright law before a few months ago, and were unfamiliar with a historic legal battle brewing on college campuses nationwide.

Now they're right in the middle of it.

Chmelecki and Ames, under the supervision of Professor Deirdre Smith, are defending two college students who have been sued for copyright infringement by the Recording Industry Association of America. The cases came to them through the law school's legal aid clinic, which provides representation to low-income residents.

Chmelecki and Ames filed briefs last month in federal court, and are waiting for a judge to rule on their motion to dismiss the cases against their clients.

They argue that the digital information used by the recording industry to bring the lawsuits falls short of a new legal standard, set by the U.S. Supreme Court in a decision in May.

"We're defending the process," said Ames, 25, a Harpswell native. "The RIAA needs to follow the rules, the same way everyone else needs to." Their involvement in the case has captured national attention from lawyers, bloggers and others who intensely follow technology law. The upcoming decision could set a precedent for other students facing RIAA lawsuits. It's all part of a larger debate about the future of information and the Internet.

Complete article
Alternative link (Portland Press Herald) "Third-year law students take on recording industry"

Keywords: 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


Anonymous said...

The "new legal standard" that their motion relies upon, I'm presuming that that is the Twombly standard, as outlined here: ?

Anonymous said...

I would venture that these two law students are about to receive the best education that they'll get while in law school.

Cara Duckworth, a spokeswoman for the RIAA, said courts have consistently accepted the industry's practices and arguments. She said the industry has prevailed in almost every instance in which attorneys have moved to dismiss a case or quash a subpoena.

"I think that speaks in and of itself," Duckworth said. "We have followed the letter of the law."

Actually that doesn't follow at all. When the Supreme Court upholds the procedure used then they can make that claim. Until that point, it simply isn't fully litigated, and Cara Duckworth is stating an obvious fallacy in the hope that the uncritical masses will accept it at face value. (Visit: to learn about fallacies.)

Judges seem to be herd animals. They appear to follow what other judges have already done, even if questionable. The RIAA clearly exploits this behavior, especially when they appear before the judge unopposed, and likely based their strategy on gaining early easy wins to quote later as though a body of valid legal opinion has been generated. The RIAA also clearly likes to stick with judges who have already accepted their shaky legal positions, as likely to be more unwilling to reverse themselves later due to the known quirks of human nature.

None of this makes the RIAA right, just successful at the moment – although it's hard to call them successful either, with just one questionable win at trial so far.

Ray, I do wonder how much your blog has helped these student lawyers. The article doesn't really say.


raybeckerman said...

I'm not looking for credit, just want to win this war.