The following remark was made by Marie. L. van Uitert, MPAA attorney in the Jammie Thomas trial. She wrote in a brief:
It is often very difficult, and in some cases, impossible, to provide such direct proof when confronting modern forms of copyright infringement, whether over P2P networks or otherwise; understandably, copyright infringers typically do not keep records of infringement. Mandating that proof could thus have the pernicious effect of depriving copyright owners of a practical remedy against massive copyright infringement in many cases.
The rest of the brief goes on to list the reasons why the MPAA feels it should not have to meet the full burden of proof in its case (i.e. proving actual distribution). For them, the existence of a location where the copyright material could be copied is sufficient grounds for prosecution. When you take this off the internet, this is equivalent to suing some for 12 * $150,00 for loaning someone a CD they later copied.
I just finished reading this Ars Technica article detailing the case Capitol Records v. Jammie Thomas, where a jury delivered 24 guilty counts of infringement after four hours of deliberation and two days of testimony. Because the infringement was determined willful, they awarded $9,250 in statutory damages per song, for a total of $222,000 in damages.
Jammie Thomas, a single mother, was identified by MAC and IP address, and her KaZaa username tereastarr which she used with other websites. Interestingly, the plaintiff’s made the argument that the “eclectic musical tastes” reflected in the KaZaa shared music folder were consistent with Jammie Thomas’s actual tastes.
The New York Times reports the actually scary, precedent-setting part of this case:
Michael J. Davis of Federal District Court, ruled in the industry’s favor on a hotly contested technical question, saying that for jurors to find her liable, the record labels did not have to prove that songs on Ms. Thomas’s computer had actually been transmitted to others online. Rather, the act of making them available could be viewed as infringement, the judge ruled.
I hope this is appealed, as loaning a CD to a friend is also an act of making “music available for copying,” and the precedent is both technically incorrect and stifling to freedoms Americans take for granted.
I’m getting somewhat annoyed with Rojo, the web-aggregator and personalized search engine, who are copying my content:
Several of your pages, including but not limited to:
contain copies of intellectual property belonging to the Elliott Back Blog Network. Please remove these and any other pages copying content from elliottback.com or any of its subdomains, and cease and desist any future copying.
Guess what I got back from Rojo, almost at once:
This message was created automatically by mail delivery software.
A message that you have sent could not be delivered to one or more
recipients. This is a permanent error. The following address failed:
copyrightnotice @rojo.com: 550 5.7.0
So Rojo can’t be contacted at the address they list for copyright issues. What to do next? I think I’ll call someone high up there.