RIAA Must Prove Infringement

(antiMusic) We realize that most of our readers are as bored with stories about the music industry suing their customers as they are with vh1's celeb retardity, but the labels were handed a major setback in court on Tuesday. It turns out that they actually have to prove that the people they sue have broken the law! Imagine that.

A federal district court judge in Arizona denied the RIAA attorneys motion for a summery judgment against two Kazaa file sharers, according to Billboard.biz. The court ruled that the two defendants, Pamela and Jeffrey Howell, did not unlawfully distribute copyrighted work by simply making it available on the Kazaa filesharing network. The court said that to qualify for infringement, the owner of the copyright must prove the "actual dissemination of copies or phonorecords."

This comes into play in this lawsuit because the music labels sued the defendants for allegedly distributing 54 music files, but the RIAA investigators only downloaded 12 of those files and the label attorneys did not provide evidence that their investigators or other Kazaa users downloaded the remaining 42 files.

The court also ruled that the labels must prove at trial that Howell was responsible for sharing the 12 files that are still part of the case. While this decision only impacts cases in that federal district in Arizona, defense attorneys could call upon the court's arguments in other cases.

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