Friday, May 29, 2009

Court defers ruling on constitutionality of statutory damages in SONY BMG Music Entertainment v. Cloud, denies defendant's motion to dismiss

In SONY BMG Music Entertainment v. Cloud, a Philadelphia case, the Court deferred ruling on the constitutionality question, under the doctrine of "constitutional avoidance", and denied the defendant's motion to dismiss the complaint.

May 29, 2009, Decision Denying Motion to Dismiss Complaint and Declining to Rule on Constitutionality of RIAA's Statutory Damages Theory

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Anonymous said...

The judge wrote, 'What Plaintiffs do allege is that Defendant has engaged in ongoing acts of "downloading and/or distributing to the public copyrighted recordings."'

The judge wrote, 'Plaintiff has alleged that Defendant "distributed" copyrighted materials, detailing a specific time, means and manner of that distribution.'

Those two statements by the judge don't seem supported by the evidence Plaintiffs allege they have. At best, Plaintiffs have evidence showing one copy was made by MediaSentry. As for downloading, what evidence was presented to this extent?


raybeckerman said...

The complaint in this case was not one of the 'making available' complaints. It alleges that defendant distributed and downloaded.

raybeckerman said...

This decision had nothing to do with evidence, it had to do with the form of the pleading.

Anonymous said...

This plays right into the RIAA's hands. Shame on this court.

{The Common Man Speaking}

raybeckerman said...

You're wrong. It is, as I said in my brief, not really possible to determine the unconstitutionality of a 'punitive award' without (a) there being an award, (b) evidence of the plaintiffs' actual damages, and (c) evidence of other factors such as reprehensibility.

Courts are supposed to avoid deciding questions of constitutionality if there is a chance they can be avoided.