NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "A group of 10 copyright law professors has filed an amicus curiae ('friend of the court') brief on the side of the defendant in Capitol v. Thomas, agreeing with the judge's recent decision that the $222,000 verdict won by the RIAA appears to be tainted by a 'manifest error of law.' The clear and well-written 14-page brief (PDF) argues that the 'making available' jury instruction, which the RIAA had requested and the judge ultimately accepted, was in fact a 'manifest error of law,' making the point, among others, that an interpretation of a statute should begin with the words of the statute. My only criticism of the brief is that it overstates the authorities relied on by the RIAA, citing cases which never decided the 'making available' issue as cases which had decided it in the RIAA's favor." As it turns out, the MPAA, close ally to the RIAA, has come forth with a more controversial view. They suggest that proof of actual distribution shouldn't be required. From their brief (PDF): "Mandating that proof could thus have the pernicious effect of depriving copyright owners of a practical remedy against massive copyright infringement in many instances."
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