timothy from the what-about-ritchie-chaz-and-margot? dept.
dtjohnson writes "A Harvard law school professor has submitted arguments on behalf of
Joel Tenenbaum in RIAA v. Tenenbaum in which Professor Charles
Nesson claims that the underlying law that the RIAA uses is actually a
criminal, rather than civil, statute and is therefore
unconstitutional. According to this article, 'Nesson
charges that the federal law is essentially a criminal statute
in that it seeks to punish violators with minimum statutory penalties
far in excess of actual damages. The market value of a song is 99 cents
on iTunes; of seven songs, $6.93. Yet the statutory damages are a
minimum of $750 per song, escalating to as much as $150,000 per song
for infringement "committed willfully."' If the law is a criminal
statute, Neeson then claims that it violates the 5th
amendments and is therefore unconstitutional. Litigation will
take a while but this may be the end for RIAA litigation, at least
until they can persuade
Congress to pass a new law."
"Text processing has made it possible to right-justify any idea, even
one which cannot be justified on any other grounds."
-- J. Finnegan, USC.