Monday, May 18, 2009

RIAA responds to amicus brief filed by Free Software Foundation in SONY BMG Music Entertainment v. Cloud

In SONY BMG Music Entertainment v. Cloud, the RIAA has filed a response taking exception the amicus curiae brief filed by the Free Software Foundation on the issue of the constitutionality of the RIAA's statutory damages theory.

Plaintiffs' response to Free Software Foundation's amicus curiae brief

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...

The initial impression I get from the response from the RIAA: "Y'all can squabble about the law, we are above it"

Oldphart in Kansas

Eric said...

Gee, last I checked the RIAA lobbies congress for enhanced copyrights and the FSF *uses copyright* while at the same time lobbies for more permissive laws. Arguing against what you claim is a straw man with another straw man doesn't seem like a winning move.

p3, the RIAA has never "proven" distribution because the particular claim has never been tried in a court of law. In fact whenever pressed they have folded rather than actual prove their case.

p4, correct, RIAA has only been awarded $20K+ per recording ( before the case was thrown out ) which is almost 30,000x actual damages and they had argued for *MORE*.

bah, I just give up reading this tripe since some of these cases they are badmouthing here are the ones they used themselves in other rulings when they got hit with punitive damaged.

Basically whatever the RIAA claims you are doing, they are really doing 10x worse and with panache!

mhoyes62 said...

Looking at their argument, it still appears they are contending that the defendant distributed to millions of users. But given the nature of broadband connections, that is provably false, and they can't even prove how long or even if the songs were available.

It is also interesting for them to argue that the FSF wants to do away with copyright when they use copyright to help keep software free.

The problem I see is that the RIAA has been using a method of using the court system as a cudgel and corrupting the spirit of the law to make up for flagging sales. That is what I was hoping would be corrected with a new justice department, but having seen the inclusion of RIAA lawyers, it makes me wonder.


Anonymous said...

Michael -

I think RIAA has gotten themselves into this position because they've brought different arguments in different jurisdictions, and they've finding it necessary to take this position in the interest of not getting caught out on the inconsistencies. I also read their condemnation of the FSF's position on copyright is dead wrong. And the matter of sanctions against Mr. Beckerman is both irrelevant (which reduces it to an ad hominem attack) and I think wrong. If memory serves, I believe that matter was either dropped without being considered, or the court denied the motion altogether.

-Quiet Lurker

raybeckerman said...

The RIAA's motion for discovery sanctions against myself and Ms. Lindor, and Ms. Lindor's motion for Rule 11 sanctions against their lawyers, are both pending.

Anonymous said... attorney who runs a blog entitled "Recording Industry vs. The People" and who is currently subject to a pending sanctions motion for his conduct representing a defendant in one of the Plaintiffs' enforcement cases.Oooo, that sounds so scary. Scary until one realizes that any attorney can file such a motion at any time no matter how unjustified. "Pending" is the key word here. IT MEANS NOTHING!

Not only does it mean nothing, it clearly has no place at all in this filing, which this man hopes that the judge realizes. Not only realizes, but realizes also how phony the rest of this filing is as well.

The rest of their filing is simply whine, whine, whine from plaintiffs who refuse to recognize when Statutory damages have crossed the line into Punitive damages. Something The Court has definitely recognized in the past.

...FSF should refrain from making factual arguments, even in cases where the factual assertions are correct.That is too funny for mere words to refute. And it is refuted in the very next sentence, to wit:

...we examine an amicus curiae brief solely for whatever aid it provides in analyzing the legal questions before us.Clearly the Court will make the decision on how to use the AC brief, and the AC should provide all relevant information to assist the court -- facts, analysis, or otherwise. The RIAA is simply Wrong!

Defendant has not only infringed Plaintiff's works through downloading, she has also distributed Plaintiffs' works for years to potentially millions of other file sharers.This is so patently false that the RIAA should be thrown out of court with sanctions for saying it. Not is it only impossible for any home user with a simple broadband connection to have distributed terabytes of information through that skinny pipe (millions of bytes per file x (times) millions of of users), but the filesharing programs themselves will not support such distribution. Additionally, the record companies themselves distribute sharable music files on every single standard music CD. They enable all this sharing to occur by providing the source material to facilitate it. To argue an impossibility deserves sanctions of the most severe sort.

Moreover, courts have consistently rejected FSF's proportionality argument.Excuse this man, but that is not completely true. Every court that has accepted the counterclaim of unconstitutionally excessive damages -- and there are some -- have done just the opposite!

It is Congress' prerogative to pass laws intended to protect copyrights and to proscribe the range of punishment...Again the RIAA is wrong. Congress may not pass unconstitutional laws no matter how much their lobbyists may wish it of them. If everything Congress passed automatically passed Constitutional muster then we wouldn't even need the Supreme Court to keep them out of trouble.

And lastly this little gem:

FSF also ignores well established law holding that statutory damages under the Copyright Act were not designed solely to compensate each private injury caused by infringement, but also to punish the infringer...Isn't that the very definition of "punative" damages?

{The Common Man emulating Jim Cramer's Famous "They know nothing!" Outrage}

Anonymous said...

I stand corrected.

-Quiet Lurker

Anonymous said...

Michael, Quiet Lurker:

The crux is: "[Defendant] has also distributed Plaintiffs' works for years to potentially millions of other file sharers."

I eagerly await the day judges require evidence supporting this claim, since none is around that I can see.

I also await judges smacking down "potentially millions", on the grounds that it's devoid of meaning. Potentially millions of people do potentially millions of illegal things every day, and yet we really only care about the things they actually do.