The Record Industry is reeling after a what could become a precedent setting case, had them drop suit against a suspected file swapper. The plaintiff Recoding labels agreed to drop the suit after it could not be substantially proven that the defendant in question had actually committed a crime.
Tammie Marson of Palm Desert, California had initially refused to pay the $3,500 USD in damages after she had been taken to court by a group of recording companies. She instead chose to fight it in court. Her lawyer, Seyamack Kouretchian of Coast Law Group had argued that despite having he computer containing illegally download music files, that this was not proof enough that sh had committed the crime in question. The record companies – Virgin, Sony BMG, Arista, Universal and Warner Brothers all 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 had said. "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, a cheer leading teacher, argued that she had dozens, perhaps hundreds of her students over at her house for study. Any one of her students could have used her computer to access pirated music files. She had also said that she does use a wireless INTERNET connection. It is entirely possible that someone could have hacked her connection and used her bandwidth to download copyrighted material. "She doesn't even know what a shared folder is," her lawyer had said.
If ignorance is suitable defense, then a great many file swapping cases could be thrown out. Could "I didn't know?" put an end to the litigious rampage of the RIAA? And could this defense be used as similar argument against the movie industry and film swapping?
It seems to be that way. A software executive by the name of Shawn Hogan is using similar argument against the film industry. He is fighting the case rather than pay the $2,500 fine levied against him. It it certain that it will cost him far more to fight than to succumb. And the film studios will obviously be paying far more to lawyers than what they would receive in damages. Hogan is arguing that he did not commit any crime, and that the movie studios cannot prove whether he did or not.
"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 similar 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."
The simplest solution . . . move to Canada. The supreme court of Canada it's okay to download copyrighted music, but uploading is illegal. Can any one say leech?