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The Courts

Fair Use Defense Dismissed In SONY V. Tenenbaum 517

Several readers sent us updates from the Boston courtroom where, mere hours before the start of trial, a federal judge ruled out fair use as a defense. Wired writes that "the outcome is already shaping up to resemble the only other file sharing trial," in which the RIAA got a $1.92M judgement against Jammie Thomas-Rassert. The defendant, Joel Tenenbaum, has already essentially admitted to sharing music files, and the entire defense put together by Harvard Prof. Charles Nesson and his students turned on the question of fair use. The judge wrote that the proposed defense would be "so broad it would swallow the copyright protections that Congress has created." Jury selection is complete and opening arguments will begin tomorrow morning. Here is the Twitter feed organized by Prof. Nesson's law students.

"Necessity is the mother of invention" is a silly proverb. "Necessity is the mother of futile dodges" is much nearer the truth. -- Alfred North Whitehead