Friday, April 24, 2009

DOJ motion to intervene granted, in SONY BMG Music Entertainment v. Cloud

The Department of Justice's motion for leave to intervene, on the side of the RIAA, in SONY BMG Music Entertainment v. Cloud, has been granted. The motion had been unopposed.

The Government's brief argued that the RIAA's statutory damages theory, which sought as much as $150,000 in statutory damages for infringement of a single MP3 file, survived due process scrutiny under a 1919 Supreme Court case which upheld an Arkansas statutory damages award for $75, awarded under an Arkansas railroad fare overcharge statute.

The Government also argued that the Court should ignore the Supreme Court's 2003 decision in State Farm v. Campbell, which followed its 1996 decision, BMW v. Gore.

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


Anonymous said...

Let's see... this is the third case where the DOJ has intervened on the side of the RIAA.

Must be wrong thinking on my part to believe that there is a correlation between the interventions and there being, what is it now,6 former RIAA lawyers at Justice.


raybeckerman said...

1. The brief they filed consists of the same, not very well thought out, material the DOJ filed under the Bush Administration.

2. The Jenner & Block RIAA lawyers who joined the DOJ are disqualified from having anything to do with any of the RIAA cases.

3. The brief they submitted is completely contrary to controlling law, and will not carry the day, rest assured.

Another Kevin said...

Isn't the DoJ more or less required to defend US statutes that are attacked in court on Constitutional grounds? I though that was one of the SG's jobs.

raybeckerman said...

Dear Another_Kevin

1. No.

2. If they were inclined to intervene there was no need to take an extreme position defending up to $150,000 for a download of a single MP3 file. That wasn't lawyering, that was pandering.

3. The statute isn't being attacked wholesale; it's only the RIAA's statutory damages theory, and its interpretation of the statute, that is being attacked.

Anonymous said...

I find it impossible to defend the idea that discouraging file-sharing justifies a $150,000 (or even the $750 minimum) penalty when a CRIMINAL conviction on DUI will not likely yield more than a few hundred to a couple of thousand in fines. Is files-sharing really more serious? Does it really need stronger discouragement? I've come to expect outrageous and illogical arguments from the RIAA, but the DOJ should be able to cut through the bull. These statutory damages were never intended to be levied against these types of defendants, even the ones that guilty.

lost in thought

raybeckerman said...

The DOJ's argument is frivolous, and does not represent the law of the land.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I know that they are, by law, disqualified from having any 'direct' involvement in these cases, but cynic that I am...

Don't recall that RIAA lawyers (or any government denizens for that matter)have any real respect for the law unless it suits their purposes and I can only assume that there are 'water coolers' at the DOJ.


Matt Fitzpatrick said...

Forgive me if I entertain the notion that the DOJ is deliberately submitting a silly argument to undermine the plaintiffs.

raybeckerman said...

Comment rejected because it recommended illegal act.