Boston University student fights back against the RIAA

Argues it’s a flawed theory that merely having copyrighted content on ones PC constitutes illegal distribution.

In Arista v. Does 1-21, the Boston case brought by the RIAA to obtain the identities of 21 Boston University students, a motion to block the RIAA from finding the names of the users behind the IP addresses accused of illegal content distribution has been filed.

The defendant makes some every interesting arguments that of course aren’t often able to be made against the RIAA because they have neither the resources nor ability to defend themselves in court. Instead they take the settlement fee option and curse the day the RIAA was formed.

In this case a Boston University student accused of illegal file-sharing argues that “The theory…that storing copyrighted files on a computer in a place where (the RIAA) was able to make copies is an illegal “distribution” is incorrect under the law.”

He argues that “The only copying alleged by the plaintiffs(RIAA) was conducted by the plaintiffs own agent, who had permission to copy the files,” and that it isn’t the duty of “…individual users to protect their music files from copying by third parties over the internet.”

In short, he makes the case that if all the RIAA did was get somebody to download music files from peoples computers, and thereby have the expressed permission by copyright holders to do so, then why are they suing them for illegal distribution of music? The only way that they could argue that the defendants had engaged in the illegal distribution of music files is if they had witnessed an unrelated third party do so.

Furthermore, the failure to prevent music files from being downloaded by others does not constitute a crime.

The defendants lawyers write:

Under…(their) theory, even if the individuals are not aware of the ability of others to copy their music files and even if they have no intent to allow others to copy said files, the mere fact that plaintiffs’ agent was able to access their music files and copy them makes the individuals infringers.

Thus, the defendant’s lawyers are arguing that in light of the fact that the RIAA can’t prove that the defendant engaged willingly and purposefully in copyright infringement(prima facie), then it can’t be allowed to find out the names and addresses of the defendant under expedited, “ex parte,” discovery.

Jared Moya

I've been interested in P2P since the early, high-flying days of Napster and KaZaA. I believe that analog copyright laws are ill-suited to the digital age, and that art and culture shouldn't be subject to the whims of international entertainment industry conglomerates.

3 comments
Miniver
Miniver

It will be very interesting to see what happens with this case. We could use some more precedent setting judgements.

mountain_rage
mountain_rage

Interesting angle I actually thought of something along those lines in the past but this really gets the idea right.

meyou123
meyou123

Good for him! If more intelligent people stand up to the RIAA it will only make it that much harder for them to win.