Monday, February 21, 2011

RIAA explains its strategy now on illegal downloading, dives its side of the "Download Martyr" case

The Minneapolis City Pages has published a reply from the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) in its five year battle with Brainerd, MN resident Jamie Thomas-Rasset, who was recently assessed a whopping $1.5 million judgment by a Minneapolis jury after she refused a “shakedown” settlement when she maintained she had never downloaded the songs.  City Pages had called Thomas-Rasset the “Download Martyr”.

The RIAA has a reply where it maintains it had evidence that she actually had contributed knowingly to the infraction, here.  It’s significant, however, to remember  that parents could have been responsible for kids’ downloading, or that PC owners could be held responsible for activities on their computers by visitors or, say, domestic employees.  It’s a little unclear what would happen if a Wardriving snoop used a home router for illegal downloading, or a domestic employee brought a laptop and used your connection.  It’s interesting because sometimes homeowners are expected to provide Internet access to live-in nannies or caregivers.

The RIAA says, however, that it has moved away from individual lawsuits to working with ISP’s to warn users and cut off service to repeat infringers.  There is still a presumption of responsibility for what goes on in your own home or on your own ISP account.

There is also a story of piracy in Europe by using Trojans to infect the computers of record companies to illegally download songs, in Info Security, here.
Update: Feb. 23

The Justice Department has filed a brief supporting the huge award against Thomas-Rasset under the "Doctrine of Remittitur", according to a Digital Media Wire story by Mark Hefflinger, here.  I naturally wonder if "remittitur" could be exploited by Righthaven.

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