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RIAA Fights Tooth and Nail to Prevent iTV Telecast of Legal Proceeding

A modicum of good news from the Troll Wars with the broadcasting of Thursday’s trial where the Muzak Biz, via RIAA, is suing a college kid Joel Tenenbaum for allegedly downloading a few mp3s!

The Muzak Biz bullies had been fighting tooth and nail to keep their random victimisations and ridiculous cases kept totally in private and also maintain a monopoly on information about these cases.

For once though, the victim has some very strong support in the form of of Harvard Law Professor Charles Nesson and his staff!

We wish Joel and Professor Nesson all the best in their commendable stand against these greedy bullies!

All detailed below in a very interesting piece from Ray Beckerman, a lawyer who makes available information on the countless, and often spurious, cases being taken by the Muzak Biz and who maintains the wonderful blog “Recording Industry vs. The People“.

Thanks to iptvevangelist



http://www.iptvevangelist.com/2009/01/riaa_fights_tooth_and_nail_to.html

Special to ipTVe, By Ray Beckerman


riaa_logo_18.jpg

I have been representing defendants in cases brought by the RIAA for 4 years now. The RIAA has consistently done everything it can to try to keep all of the proceedings “confidential”, even when there is no legal basis for doing so.

In my opinion, their primary reason for that tactic has been to keep as much of a monopoly as possible on information about the cases. The public availability of transcripts, legal documents, exhibits, and other information about the cases would have driven the defense costs down for other defendants and their attorneys, which is anathema to the RIAA lawyers.

My blog, “Recording Industry vs. The People“, was established for the purpose of partially countering that monopoly. Additionally, another “Web 2.0” idea I’ve had was to reach out to the Slashdot and Groklaw online communities for input into the deposition of the RIAA’s expert witness.

The legal team which has recently begun representing a 24-year old graduate student in Boston, Joel Tenenbaum, has taken it a step further, and is really taking the RIAA on, over the secrecy issue. The team, which consists of Harvard Law Professor Charles Nesson and some of his CyberLaw and Evidence students, has set up a website about the case, sends out press releases, ‘tweets’ the depositions and court appearances on Twitter, and now has requested – and been granted – permission to stream a January 22nd hearing over ITV. (See “January 22nd oral arguments in SONY BMG Music v. Tenenbaum will be televised over the internet”, Recording Industry vs. The People, January 14, 2009.)

In her January 14th order granting permission for the proceeding to be streamed, District Judge Nancy Gertner termed the RIAA’s opposition to the televising “curious”, since the RIAA’s lawyers had persistently represented to her that the aim of the litigation campaign was to “educate the public”. She ruled that Courtroom View Network (CVN) would be the sole entity authorized to televise using the Court’s own previously installed cameras, the proceeding would be “narrowcast” to Harvard Law School’s “Berkman Center for Internet and Society” which would in turn make the broadcast available for all noncommercial uses over its website, and that the broadcast would be “gavel to gavel” with no editing permitted. A copy of the actual order (PDF) is available online.

The RIAA is so vehemently opposed to the televising, that it has gone so far as to file an “extraordinary writ” of prohibition with the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, trying to get the order overturned and to block the televising. (See ” RIAA Files Writ of “Mandamus or Prohibition” with 1st Circuit Court of Appeals in SONY BMG Music v. Tenenbaum”, Recording Industry vs. The People, January 17, 2009).

As of this writing, the outcome of that proceeding is unknown.

***********************************

*Ray Beckerman is a veteran New York City-based business lawyer, with Ray Beckerman, P.C., whose practice includes internet, copyright, software, and other commercial law subjects. He began his career with the well known commercial and entertainment law firm, Phillips Nizer. He has represented defendants targeted by the RIAA and by the MPAA, and is the author of the popular digital online copyright law blog, “Recording Industry vs. The People”.

Additional Sites: Facebook Joel Fights Back Against RIAA

Also see: JoelFightsBack.com

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January 20, 2009 Posted by | InternetNazis, Ray Beckerman, _TECH STUFF | 2 Comments

Antipiracy virus spreads through file-sharing websites

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/technology/2009/01/downloading-is.html

Users of popular file-sharing websites: Your next pirated download might be your last. That appears to be the intention of the Downloading is Wrong virus that has spread on some torrent portals.

When a user downloads and launches an infected file, portions of the Windows system’s code, called hosts files, are modified; they block access to piracy hubs Mininova, the Pirate Bay and the Suprbay message board. Then, a series of pop-ups begin to fill the screen and a sound file is activated that says, “Downloading is wrong,” according to BitTorrent blog TorrentFreak.

Some pointed fingers at MediaDefender, a Santa Monica company that distributes fake music and video files on file-sharing websites to deter piracy. But many signs indicate the culprit is simply an anonymous prankster.

For one, according to postings from affected users, the virus originated from a package of pirated software, rather than the music or video files that MediaDefender would probably target. The Trojan horse gallops its way onto the computer when launching the included keygen program (a small file that creates a valid serial code to activate software).

Antivirus developer Sophos dubbed the worm Troj/Qhost-AC and says the company has updated its software to protect against the Trojan.

Viruses are traditionally distributed for nefarious purposes — sort of like the Twitter phishing scam that exploded over the weekend, snatching passwords. But it’s not too often that a Trojan comes along in support of a morality message.

Maybe we’ll see a virus come along that blocks me from getting Rickrolled. Hey, a guy can hope, can’t he?

— Mark Milian

 

 


January 10, 2009 Posted by | InternetNazis, _TECH STUFF | Leave a comment

RIAA Wins $8K Default Settlement Against Chronically Ill Teen

These internet nazis are running amok lately. They need to be reined in. Except of course, since they’re mammoth companies with immense wealth, and thus power, they won’t be.

Technology has created a brand new landscape now mofos! The internet has become a kernel part of modern life, modern business. And file-sharing is a kernel part of the internet. Has been for years and years now.

The muzak biz needs to come up with a new business paradigm to deal with these realities. Not try to piss against one wall of modern reality in the hope that it will fall down!

The muzak biz wants to have their cake and eat it. They’re happy to luxuriate in the cheap and immediate distribution channels afforded by the internet to anywhere in the world and happy to gorge on the immediate worldwide mass publicity and consequent sales they can generate for their muzak biz acts via the internet. It all means more goodies in the massive muzak biz trough!

But the muzak biz isn’t happy with that! No, no no! They want to keep the bits of the technology apparatus that fill up their massive troughs but attack anything they feel is not so lucrative.

However, if the muzak biz dumbly does want to attack the concept of file sharing, it’s obvious that they need to go after whoever is hosting the files!! D’Oh!!! …. However, as many of these hosts are well outside the claws of the generally yankee muzak biz, they’re not happy with that approach. It’s too fucking difficult! And too fucking expensive! And inevitably futile.

And, as for peer to peer communications, the muzak biz is going to get no success whatsoever in trying to control and shut this medium – unless they can manage to enforce Al Queda style censorship across the planet! Which is exactly what these nazis would love to do! However, there is only one Afghanistan mofos, and this ain’t it!

So instead the muzak biz tries to find easy targets.

The muzak biz go after the likes of kids and music fans and bloggers generally sharing links they found on a simple web search to poor quality files! They try to attack the concept of freedom of speech by trying to prevent folk from saying they found such and such via a simple web search!

The real fact is that nobody is making money from file-sharing (aside perhaps from some file hosts). And certainly not this unfortunate sick kid in the article below who the muzak biz has come down extremely hard upon – a kid who’s being reared by a single mum trying to care for her family on minimum wage!

Stop picking on the easy, and wrong, targets assholes! It’s the twenty-first Century now. Deal with it!



RIAA Wins $8K Default Settlement Against Chronically Ill Teen

from TheTripwire.com

Like something straight out of a bad made-for-TV movie, the RIAA has handed down its most recent hard-earned lesson about file sharing (and a possible $8,000 fine) to Ciara Sauro, a 19-year-old girl who suffers from pancreatitis and severe depression, has mounting medical bills and whose mother brings in just $8.25 an hour.

In the midst of her weekly required hospitalizations (because of her condition and her need for an islet cell transplant), she apparently shared a whopping 10 songs with other people over the internet. Shockingly, Sauro wasn’t able to make it in to court to defend herself, and as such, the judge entered a default judgment against her for close to $8,000.

Unlike most Americans, Sauro actually adamently denies that she was the perpetrator of the file-sharing crime, and is (obviously) outraged that she may have to pay such a hefty fine for something she didn’t do. We agree, of course, but we also wonder why the RIAA hasn’t managed to track down the perfectly healthy, financially well-off, 20-something hackers who download and share tens of thousands of files every week and asked them to pay up. Regardless of whether you think anyone should be held criminally liable for file sharing, you have to agree with this — some poor sick kid in Pittsburgh who (allegedly) shared 10 tunes with some friends does not deserve such a punishment.

Sauro and her mom say that the internet account sited in the lawsuit was actually opened by her father after he moved out. The good news is, a local attorney has offered to represent Ciara pro-bono and ask a judge to re-open the case. Interestingly, available now through the RIAA is a resource guide for parents and teachers called “Young People, Music and the Internet: A Guide For Parents & Teachers About Digital Music & Downloading.” Ironically, you can’t view it on the site. You have to download it.

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December 30, 2008 Posted by | InternetNazis, _TECH STUFF | 2 Comments

MySpace Bans Project Playlist, Facebook Defies Same RIAA Request

More bullshit from the Troll Wars!

These rabid record companies and internet nazis are getting more rabid by the day!

Good to see that Facebook aren’t bending over to take it!

MySpace Bans Project Playlist, Facebook Defies Same RIAA Request

By Scott Gilbertson
mailto:luxagraf@gmail.com

December 22, 2008
from wired.com
In the world of online music, 2008 has been the year of the playlist sharing sites, but sadly it’s also been the year of the playlist sites being shut down. The latest victim is Project Playlist, which was recently banned from MySpace.

Project Playlist is an online mixtape sharing site similar to the recently shut down Mixwit and the long-gone Muxtape, but slightly different in that much of the focus is on sharing playlists through social networks like MySpace and Facebook.

Over the weekend, in response to pressure from the RIAA and major labels, MySpace shut down Project Playlist’s widgets and banned the service from the site.

The Project Playlist website (a social network in its own right) is still alive and kicking, but since many of the site’s users rely on the embeddable player to share playlists on other social networks, the MySpace ban will no doubt prove painful.

Starting on Friday evening, MySpace began shutting down Project Playlist’s widgets, telling affected users that “your Project Playlist widget has been removed from your profile in response to copyright complaints.”

For its part Facebook has so far refused to comply with the infringement notifications that led MySpace to ban Project Playlist. While that will likely earn the site some points with fans, it probably won’t last long. However, in an interesting twist, Project Playlist recently hired former Facebook Chief Operating Officer Owen Van Natta as its CEO. Whether or not that cozy relationship affected Facebook’s decision is unknown and neither party was willing to comment, citing pending litigation.

Project Playlist is being sued by Warner Music, EMI, and Universal Music Group, and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), but at least one label — Sony BMG — has struck a deal with the site.

Although the terms have not been disclosed, the deal is good news for the some 40 million Project Playlist users who now legally use songs from artists and bands on the Sony label in their playlists.

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December 23, 2008 Posted by | InternetNazis, _TECH STUFF | Leave a comment

Bloggers beware: Your posts could vanish without warning


Apparently, some people’s intellectual property matters more than others!
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Fine piece below from Larisa Mann about indiscriminate targetting of certain blogs by parties unknown (something we’ve had a lot of, ourselves), the rash removal of posts by Google and the one-sided battle that some bloggers get thrown into.

There are usually ulterior motives at play, and it does seem far too easy to target a blog and even get it shut down.

The trolls of course, are trying to demonise music blogs, just as they are trying to do with file hosts – who carry out a legitimate and necessary service!

Remember, we are not talking here about blogs espousing, say, racial hatred or terrorism or paedophilia or something fucked-up and harmful! These are simply blogs where music fans share their ideas and cultural / musical likes with other like minded souls! Nobody is getting hurt here! The vast majority of these blogs too are making no money from this – some like us are making less than zero!

Some excellent and well-known music blogs have been taken down in recent weeks, some of which only posted out of print and/or bootleg music – therefore, not infringing any copyright nor causing income loss to artists or the greedy muzak biz!

The critical argument of course exists that posting information found on a simple internet search (e.g. a link to a certain file that the blogger has neither uploaded, nor possibly even downloaded) represents one’s basic right to FREEDOM OF SPEECH, and to not be allowed do so is a restriction of that inalienable right! We’ve written about this in great detail before and shall not do so again!

The whole scenario is very Big Brother (no, not the dumb fucking TV show! – Orwellian) !


Free Association: Sound of Silence

By Larisa Mann, November 28, 2008

Music bloggers beware: Your posts could vanish without warning.


Music blogs are engines for fandom, DJ culture and music making. They range from websites featuring news, links and commentary run by individual fans, to label-run sites promoting similar sounds and scenes. Music blogs may also include producer coalitions that promote music as part of an ongoing culture of participation. Finally, there are blog aggregators that report on what’s hot and online music magazines with formal articles that include links to the music that they discuss. Many feature actual streaming or downloadable audio files that allow the reader to hear what all the fuss is about.

At minimum, a music blog might consist of basic lists or links to hot or obscure tunes, like a mixtape or playlist. But at maximum, many blogs provide fascinating context for the music they post, from scholarly analysis on a particular music element to a devoted fan’s impassioned history of a tiny subgenre, or even a wide-ranging set of thoughts on a musical theme.

Although blogs serve various creative purposes, they are above all social spheres. By posting links, entries and search functions, music blogs promote and embody a lively culture of interaction. Music blogs can also help artists. One anonymous blogger points out, “People like myself discover new music through these blogs, which often leads to album purchases, and even more often to support of the artist’s concerts, merchandise, etc.” Other blogs focused on DJ culture have new electronic artists post their work for feedback — an important step in developing artists and music scenes.

Missing Links

But now posts are disappearing. The trigger for deletion appears to be MP3 audio file links that possibly violate copyright law. However, many blog sites go far beyond simple link lists, including commentary, images and bloggers’ own creative work alongside music. The blogger’s original work, also covered by copyright law, often disappears along with the problematic link.

Apparently, some people’s intellectual property matters more than others!

Even stranger, some deleted links were given to bloggers by artists and labels explicitly for promotional purposes. As another anonymous blogger told me, “On the one hand record companies use blogs to help them sell records, and on the other hand, persecute blogs for it.”

It also seems that one branch of the music industry doesn’t know what the other one is doing. Linda, author of a small Southern California-based music blog, explains,

“I e-mailed my contact at the label of a band for whom I wrote an album review that was deleted. I told him which songs I posted and asked if I had done something that prompted the label to request a takedown. He denied that the label would have done that. I e-mailed another contact at a PR (public relations) firm regarding another album review that was deleted. The PR had sent me the album to review! They denied having any part in a takedown.”

The Google-owned blog-publishing system, Blogger, has e-mailed bloggers after the fact, informing them that their posts were taken down because they contained a link to material Blogger has learned infringes copyright. But in other cases, entire posts have disappeared with no communication. Most bloggers have not been told which link in a multiple-link post is problematic.

When Blogger has notified music bloggers, they’ve cited the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), an unwieldy mishmash of compromises between the content and tech industries. The DMCA is supposed to protect middleman technology companies like Google (“Internet Service Providers” or ISPs) from lawsuits over what their users do. To avoid lawsuits over content that users post, ISPs must not create or edit content but simply host it, and must take down content when an owner says it infringes their copyright.

Bloggers can technically use the DMCA to fight back if they think their use is legal, by filing a counter-notification. In the best scenario, this would mean the copyright holders and the people who upload copyrighted content can duke out the issue themselves while the ISPs stay out of it.

However, Blogger hasn’t given bloggers the tools they need to defend themselves. Counter-notification can only happen after Blogger registers takedowns online. But, as Linda pointed out, since Blogger has not yet registered any complaints, “There is nothing for me to ‘counter’. I have no idea who I have offended or how.”

Blogger’s own code of conduct says, “If we remove or disable access in response to such a notice, we will make a good-faith attempt to contact the owner or administrator of the affected site or content so that they may make a counter notification.” Since when is no notice a good-faith effort?

Even if Blogger complied with its own policy and the DMCA, that might not be enough. Linda points out the asymmetry of the legal battle: “The direction[s] for filing a counter-notification includes agreeing to pay all legal fees if I am found in the wrong. Without knowing what I am defending myself against, how can I possibly agree to such terms? Is it realistic for me, someone whose blog earns no money, to retain a lawyer?”

The system is biased in favor of those with plenty of cash and their own lawyers on staff. Luckily, in the US, we have a legal defense that would cover many music blogs — at least those that discuss, educate, criticize and comment. These could qualify for fair use protection, which does allow people to make use without permission of copyrighted works in ways that benefit society.

Although many bloggers, DJs and musicians I spoke with said that some blogs don’t play fair, they all emphasized the overall benefit that music blogs provide to artists and the public. “There will always be pirates,” said one blogger, label owner, producer and DJ. “File-sharing, mash-ups, and DJ mixes are all part of a huge explosion of musical creativity. We’re living in a time in which people are exposed to more new music than ever before and it’s the free flow of information that’s driving this push forward.”

Unfortunately, it looks like Blogger may have made a private deal with content owners to automatically remove posts that owners complain about, rather than going through a transparent process with room for discussion. While this may not be illegal (although we should be concerned about the effect on our fair use rights), this is exactly why we can’t trust private companies to administer our culture fairly: They can make deals with other private companies without public input.

And why should we trust the content industry to make the rules when it doesn’t play fair? There’s a long history of baseless and debatable copyright complaints. If these companies have Blogger’s ear and don’t consider input from the public or users, they can basically define our access to works with no accountability.

What About Author’s Rights?

Worse yet is the fact that music bloggers’ own original material is being deleted. Even if some links in a post are not fair use, two wrongs don’t make a right. Google has made its name by promising to do right by its users and the data they host for the public. If they keep deleting our own creative works, why should the public trust them?

Blogger is a private company, but it provides public services similar to those offered by libraries, archives and broadcasting. It’s a growing problem in the internet era: These private companies, controlled only by private law, have the ability to run their businesses with little or no respect for the public.

Google recently made a deal with book publishers over access to scanned books for Google Book Search. We have to be vigilant that they don’t snub the reading public the way they are currently dissing the listening, writing and remixing public on Blogger.

(Author’s Note: Only one blogger agreed to be identified for this column. Others say they are concerned about being further targeted. So much for “Don’t Be Evil“!)

Larisa Mann writes about technology, media and law for WireTap, studies Jurisprudence and Social Policy at U.C. Berkeley and djs under the name Ripley. She is a resident DJ at Surya Dub, San Francisco, and collaborates with the Riddim Method blog-DJ-academic crew, Havocsound sound system, and various other cross-fertilizing organisms in the Bay Area and worldwide.

www.rockrap.com

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December 1, 2008 Posted by | BloggerStuff, InternetNazis, _OTHER, _TECH STUFF | Leave a comment

A fight back against the evil Corporations in The Troll Wars



“The concern of this Court is that in these lawsuits, potentially meritorious legal and factual defenses are not being litigated, and instead, the federal judiciary is being used as a hammer by a small group of plaintiffs to pound settlements out of unrepresented defendants.”

-Hon. S. James Otero, District Judge, Central District of California, March 2, 2007, Elektra v. O’Brien, 2007 ILRWeb (P&F) 1555

The troll wars have truly begun, my fellow prisoners. Hordes of Nazi bullies trying to control the internet! Trying to restrict freedom of speech!

Things have really been escalating recently. Just check out the wonderful recordingindustryvspeople.blogspot which tracks some of the countless cases being brought against individuals – in many cases, spuriously so.

There have also been an insane number of music blogs shut down. Talk about shooting the messenger!

Large hosts such as Rapidshare are being brought to court by the muzak biz. Trolls are trying to make hosts accountable for content stored on their servers, which is akin to a “real life” scenario of trying to hold a bank accountable for the contents of a safety-deposit box.

In this scenario, the bank offers a service whereby certain objects can be safely stored. Objects the bank do not know specific details about. Thus, the bank cannot be held accountable if, for example, someone – an EMI executive, say – stuffs his safety-deposit box full of nazi memorabilia and gay sex toys!!

The army of trolls is on the move, my fellow prisoners, and making a concerted attack on the concept of file sharing and indeed too on the concept of free speech.

Just because we live in a technical world, doesn’t mean that the inalienable right to free speech no longer applies!

The muzak biz has been ripping off the music fan since the days of the gramophone!! However, the trough where the muzak biz sticks its greedy snout is presumably not as overflowing with goodies as it once was!!

The Troll Wars are truly underway!! The dark days are upon us!

But some good news! Maybe the tide is turning!

Yes, the muzak biz’s courtroom campaign against people who share songs online is coming under counter-attack and Harvard Law School professor Charles Nesson has launched a constitutional assault against a federal copyright law at the heart of the industry’s aggressive strategy, which has wrung payments from thousands of song-swappers since 2003.

The muzak biz had being suing a college kid, Joel Tenenbaum, for a minimum of $12,000 for allegedly distributing a few files on Kazaa! Insanely, at the extreme, Tenenbaum could be sued for $1 million if it is determined that his alleged actions were willful!

Joel is accused by the RIAA of downloading at least seven songs and making 816 music files available for distribution on the Kazaa file-sharing network in 2004. He offered to settle the case for $500, but the muzak biz rejected that, demanding $12,000.

We wish professor Nesson every success in his commendable venture.

Nov 17, 7:22 AM (ET)

By RODRIQUE NGOWI

BOSTON (AP)

The music industry’s courtroom campaign against people who share songs online is coming under counterattack. A Harvard Law School professor has launched a constitutional assault against a federal copyright law at the heart of the industry’s aggressive strategy, which has wrung payments from thousands of song-swappers since 2003.

The professor, Charles Nesson, has come to the defense of a Boston University graduate student targeted in one of the music industry’s lawsuits. By taking on the case, Nesson hopes to challenge the basis for the suit, and all others like it.

Nesson argues that the Digital Theft Deterrence and Copyright Damages Improvement Act of 1999 is unconstitutional because it effectively lets a private group – the Recording Industry Association of America, or RIAA – carry out civil enforcement of a criminal law. He also says the music industry group abused the legal process by brandishing the prospects of lengthy and costly lawsuits in an effort to intimidate people into settling cases out of court.

Nesson, the founder of Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society, said in an interview that his goal is to “turn the courts away from allowing themselves to be used like a low-grade collection agency.”

Nesson is best known for defending the man who leaked the Pentagon Papers and for consulting on the case against chemical companies that was depicted in the film “A Civil Action.” His challenge against the music labels, made in U.S. District Court in Boston, is one of the most determined attempts to derail the industry’s flurry of litigation.

The initiative has generated more than 30,000 complaints against people accused of sharing songs online. Only one case has gone to trial; nearly everyone else settled out of court to avoid damages and limit the attorney fees and legal costs that escalate over time.

Nesson intervened after a federal judge in Boston asked his office to represent Joel Tenenbaum, who was among dozens of people who appeared in court in RIAA cases without legal help. The 24-year-old Tenenbaum is a graduate student accused by the RIAA of downloading at least seven songs and making 816 music files available for distribution on the Kazaa file-sharing network in 2004. He offered to settle the case for $500, but music companies rejected that, demanding $12,000.

The Digital Theft Deterrence Act, the law at issue in the case, sets damages of $750 to $30,000 for each infringement, and as much as $150,000 for a willful violation. That means Tenenbaum could be forced to pay $1 million if it is determined that his alleged actions were willful. The music industry group isn’t conceding any ground to Nesson and Tenenbaum. The RIAA has said in court documents that its efforts to enforce the copyright law is protected under the First Amendment right to petition the courts for redress of grievances. Tenenbaum also failed, the music group noted, to notify the U.S. Attorney General that that he wanted to contest the law’s constitutional status.

Cara Duckworth, a spokeswoman for the RIAA, said her group’s pursuit of people suspected of music piracy is a fair response to the industry’s multibillion-dollar losses since peer-to-peer networks began making it easy for people to share massive numbers of songs online. “What should be clear is that illegally downloading and distributing music comes with many risks and is not an anonymous activity,” Duckworth said.

Still, wider questions persist on whether the underlying copyright law is constitutional, said Ray Beckerman, a Forest Hills, N.Y.-based attorney who has represented other downloading defendants and runs a blog tracking the most prominent cases.

One federal judge has held that the constitutional question is “a serious argument,” Beckerman said. “There are two law review articles that have said that it is unconstitutional, and there are three cases that said that it might be unconstitutional.”

In September, a federal judge granted a new trial to a Minnesota woman who had been ordered to pay $220,000 for pirating 24 songs. In that ruling, U.S. District Judge Michael J. Davis called on Congress to change copyright laws to prevent excessive awards in similar cases. He wrote that he didn’t discount the industry’s claim that illegal downloading has hurt the recording business, but called the award “wholly disproportionate” to the industry’s losses.

In the Boston case, Nesson is due to meet attorneys for the music industry for a pretrial conference on Tuesday, ahead of a trial set for Dec. 1.

Entertainment attorney Jay Cooper, who specializes in music and copyright issues at Los Angeles-based Greenberg Traurig, is convinced that Nesson will not persuade the federal court to strike down the copyright law. He said the statutory damages it awards enable recording companies to get compensation in cases where it is difficult to prove actual damages.

The record companies have echoed that line of defense. In court filings in Tenenbaum’s case, they contend that the damages allowed by the law are “intended not only to compensate the copyright owner, but also to punish the infringer (and) deter other potential infringers.”

But are these lawsuits the only way the record industry could deter piracy? Nesson believes the industry could develop new ways to prevent copyright material from being shared illegally. One idea would be to bundle music with ads and post it for free online, he says.

“There are alternative ways,” he said, “of packaging entertainment to return revenue to artists.”

On the Net:

Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society: cyber.law.harvard.edu

Ray Beckerman’s blog: recordingindustryvspeople

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November 18, 2008 Posted by | InternetNazis, Roykeanz, _CARTOON, _OTHER, _TECH STUFF | Leave a comment