Feeds

Woman forces US record industry to drop file-sharing case

Dangerous precedent set

Security for virtualized datacentres

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.

Business security measures using SSL

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
JINGS! Microsoft Bing called Scots indyref RIGHT!
Redmond sporran metrics get one in the ten ring
Driving with an Apple Watch could land you with a £100 FINE
Bad news for tech-addicted fanbois behind the wheel
Murdoch to Europe: Inflict MORE PAIN on Google, please
'Platform for piracy' must be punished, or it'll kill us in FIVE YEARS
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Found inside ISIS terror chap's laptop: CELINE DION tunes
REPORT: Stash of terrorist material found in Syria Dell box
Sony says year's losses will be FOUR TIMES DEEPER than thought
Losses of more than $2 BILLION loom over troubled Japanese corp
Show us your Five-Eyes SECRETS says Privacy International
Refusal to disclose GCHQ canteen menus and prices triggers Euro Human Rights Court action
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.