Feeds

Woman forces US record industry to drop file-sharing case

Dangerous precedent set

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

A group of US record labels agreed to drop a music piracy case in the US after the alleged file-sharer argued that it could not be proved that she downloaded any illegal music. The case may set a precedent that undermines scores of other music piracy cases.

Tammie Marson of Palm Desert, California refused to pay the initial $3,500 demanded by a group of record labels and opted to fight the case in court. Marson and her lawyer Seyamack Kouretchian of Coast Law Group argued that the fact that Marson's computer contained illegal music files downloaded over her internet connection was not proof that she had committed a crime.

The record companies – Virgin, Sony BMG, Arista, Universal and Warner Brothers – agreed to dismiss the case and pay their own legal costs.

"They don't take these cases to trial, they either settle or dismiss," Kouretchian told OUT-LAW. "It was our position that they could not ever prove that Tammie Marson downloaded this music or that Tammie Marson made it available. It was just an absolute impossibility. The best they could ever prove was somebody had used Tammie Marson's internet account to download the music or make it available. That's the best they could ever do."

Marson argued that as a cheerleader teacher she had had hundreds of girls through her house, any one of whom could have used her computer. She also used a wireless internet network, meaning that people outside of her house could have used her internet connection. "She doesn't even know what a shared folder is," said Kouretchian.

If this becomes a popular defence it could seriously hamper a huge number of file-sharing lawsuits taken in the US against individuals. It also looks to be a trend in defence against movie file-sharing law suits.

Software executive Shawn Hogan is using a similar argument in his response to a film industry case against him. He has decided to fight the case rather than pay the $2,500 demanded of him, even though it will cost him far more than that. His case is that he did not commit an offence and that the film industry cannot prove that he did.

"They're completely abusing the system. I would spend well into the millions on this [lawsuit]," he told Wired magazine.

Kouretchian said that Marson chose to take a similarly principled stand. "Copyright is my area of expertise, we weren't going to fold. They tested the waters with us to see if my client was prepared to go the distance," he said. "We weren't going to be fooled by the allegations and the threats."

Copyright © 2006, OUT-LAW.com

OUT-LAW.COM is part of international law firm Pinsent Masons.

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
Scrapping the Human Rights Act: What about privacy and freedom of expression?
Justice minister's attack to destroy ability to challenge state
WHY did Sunday Mirror stoop to slurping selfies for smut sting?
Tabloid splashes, MP resigns - but there's a BIG copyright issue here
Google hits back at 'Dear Rupert' over search dominance claims
Choc Factory sniffs: 'We're not pirate-lovers - also, you publish The Sun'
EU to accuse Ireland of giving Apple an overly peachy tax deal – report
Probe expected to say single-digit rate was unlawful
Inequality increasing? BOLLOCKS! You heard me: 'Screw the 1%'
There's morality and then there's economics ...
Hey Brit taxpayers. You just spent £4m on Central London ‘innovation playground’
Catapult me a Mojito, I feel an Digital Innovation coming on
While you queued for an iPhone 6, Apple's Cook sold shares worth $35m
Right before the stock took a 3.8% dive amid bent and broken mobe drama
EU probes Google’s Android omerta again: Talk now, or else
Spill those Android secrets, or we’ll fine you
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.