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RIAA's $222k Verdict Is Likely To Be Set Aside 224

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "Apparently the RIAA's 'big gun' didn't fare so well this morning in Duluth, when he tried to persuade the judge in Capitol v. Thomas that the part of the Copyright Act which says 'by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or lending', can be disregarded. According to an in-person account by the Judge indicated that he is likely to grant a mistrial, setting aside the $222,000 jury verdict based upon his incorrect jury instruction, and that he will probably hand down his decision in September. Just yesterday some of the same lawyers got rebuffed by the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in their attempt to argue that Cablevision's online storage for its customers constitutes a copyright infringement, in Cartoon Network v. CSC Holdings. There, too, the content owners had argued that the wording of the Copyright Act did not mean what it said. There, too, the Court politely but firmly disagreed."
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RIAA's $222k Verdict Is Likely To Be Set Aside

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  • strip them (Score:2, Interesting)

    by fuliginous ( 1059354 ) on Monday August 04, 2008 @05:58PM (#24473467)
    The judge should strip them of their right to practice until the successfully pass an English language exam showing that they can actually read and comprehend words.
  • by the eric conspiracy ( 20178 ) on Monday August 04, 2008 @06:08PM (#24473587)

    The reason this may stand up is that in the drug case it is SELLING the drugs that is illegal. In copyright law it is making the copies that is illegal. So -

    in the drug bust the cops observe the dealer selling drugs; i.e. the illegal act.

    in the copyright case making available is not the illegal act. The party making the copies (i.e. downloading) is the only one committing the illegal act.

  • RIAA sol (Score:3, Interesting)

    by harvey the nerd ( 582806 ) on Monday August 04, 2008 @06:16PM (#24473679)
    Definitely looks like a major crack forming in the **AA DeathStar...

    As for the Congress getting more blatantly in bed with **AA, keep it up and I suspect people will stop writing them checks too, ass well as ignoring them generally. That's kind of the way these things seem to work in other countries.

    By my reckoning, RIAA has had 20+ yrs to get a consumer usable act *started*, much less its act together, and failed. The model of selling the same tunes 12x to the same person in a digital age, threatening to break people "legally", and indiscriminately sucking off education resources, just doesn't cut it. Time to shape up or ship out, guys.

  • by LM741N ( 258038 ) on Monday August 04, 2008 @06:19PM (#24473727)

    I agree. As long as our representatives in Congress and the Senate are in the pockets of media companies, all of these types of court battles will mean nothing in the future. So ones only option is to vote, voice your concerns to your elected officials, and then become incredibly cynical after realizing that they don't really care- since most of their constituents don't care either.

    Apathy in the USA. I really don't know what its going to take to wake up our country to reality. Being outnumbered 200% by illegal aliens? A large percentage of US citizens living on the street? Collapse of Social Security? Other countries no longer buying our T-Bills? Our currency worth 5% of a Euro? Who knows?

  • by Gat0r30y ( 957941 ) on Monday August 04, 2008 @06:26PM (#24473805) Homepage Journal

    The party making the copies (i.e. downloading) is the only one committing the illegal act.

    This raises an interesting legal question. The copy operation gets initiated from another computer, is the person who initiated the operation (the downloader) responsible? Or is it the person who made it available? If it weren't copyright would illegal acts be viewed the same way?
    What I'm trying to get at is if someones PC got infected with a virus, under the view that the host is responsible, one could hold people who own infected PC's responsible for the behavior of the virus right?

  • Re:Mistrial? WTF (Score:5, Interesting)

    by NormalVisual ( 565491 ) on Monday August 04, 2008 @06:34PM (#24473873)
    but to set aside a jury's verdict is fairly unamerican

    Not when the judge in question gave an incorrect interpretation regarding a point of law to the jury that almost certainly affected the verdict. I think it's a sign of a pretty good judge when he has the balls to say he made a mistake big enough to warrant a do-over.
  • by Red Flayer ( 890720 ) on Monday August 04, 2008 @06:47PM (#24474009) Journal

    In copyright law it is making the copies that is illegal.

    This is not true, which is kind of the point of the judgment being referred to.

    It is distributing copies that is illegal. You can make as many copies as you want, but if you rent them out, sell them, etc, then you are in trouble.

    The party making the copies (i.e. downloading) is the only one committing the illegal act.

    You're pretty close there... but making the copy is not the problem. The problem is downloading it. If I were to log into your computer remotely, and copy all your copyrighted media files to the same computer, that is not a violation. Transmitting the files? That's a copyright violation.

  • Re:Mistrial? WTF (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Nefarious Wheel ( 628136 ) on Monday August 04, 2008 @09:03PM (#24475141) Journal

    Lawyers are officers of the court. They must act within the bounds ...

    Bravo, you win the Internet. That is a well-reasoned and informed presentation of the situation.

  • by fredklein ( 532096 ) on Monday August 04, 2008 @09:07PM (#24475157)

    Most libraries have a copy machine in them. So, Person 'A' walks into a library, takes a book off the shelf, walks over tot he library's copy machine, and copies the book.

    Who's responsible? Person 'A' who did the copying? Or the library for 'making available' the copier??

  • by easyTree ( 1042254 ) on Monday August 04, 2008 @09:24PM (#24475233)

    I'm not siding with the RIAA..

    That's perhaps the fourth time I've seen that in this thread. RIAA trolls sure do have a lot of free time.

  • by Nefarious Wheel ( 628136 ) on Monday August 04, 2008 @10:52PM (#24475787) Journal

    Watch as yet another RIAA lawyer makes a complete ass of himself... and in the Midwestern normal town capital of the world no less... why do i feel like Garrison Kieler should be commenting on this.

    In Hollywood, where the artists are strong, the music is paid for, and all the lawyers are below average.

  • I'm not siding with the RIAA..

    That's perhaps the fourth time I've seen that in this thread. RIAA trolls sure do have a lot of free time.

    Dear easyTree, I hope you get modded up for your astute RIAA troll-detection skills. I've noticed that this shill who writes these things always loves to start off with something like that. "Nobody hates the RIAA more than me, but......" "I'm no fan of the RIAA, but..." "Sure I don't like their heavy handed methods, but...." I've seen a million of them. It's the surest tip-off. The saving grace of these guys is their bottomless stupidity.

  • by mdmkolbe ( 944892 ) on Monday August 04, 2008 @11:09PM (#24475897)

    This is incidental to your main point, but it is not a crime to attempt to commit a crime think you are committing a crime. First example, trying to break the speed limit only to be foiled by your car not willing to go that fast. Second example, if you think the speed limit is 25 and you go 40 when the speed limit is 45, it is not a crime.

    There are a few exceptions (e.g. murder) where attempting to perform a particular act is explicitly listed as a crime. But in general "attempted" crimes are not crimes (e.g. no one ever got arrested for attempted jaywalking).

  • Knock it off (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 05, 2008 @10:23AM (#24479573)
    This "Wow, modded troll for TELLIN THOSE SLASHDOT SHEEPLE LIKE IT IS, MAN!" routine you're so fond of doesn't fool anyone, not even yourself. You have never been a victim and you will never be a martyr.
  • by RivieraKid ( 994682 ) on Tuesday August 05, 2008 @10:55AM (#24480039)
    Um, no it isn't.*

    Ripping the CD you just bought is making a backup copy. Downloading a copy from the Internet is making an unauthorised copy.

    * Disclaimer: I actually don't agree with the RIAAs actions and think they have a lot to answer for.

"I will make no bargains with terrorist hardware." -- Peter da Silva