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The Courts

Submission + - RIAA foiled by 'innocent infringement' defense (blogspot.com) 4

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes: "In an interesting development in a Texas case against a college-age defendant who was 16 at the time of the infringement, the Judge has denied the RIAA's summary judgment motion and ordered a trial of the damages — even though the defendant admitted copyright infringement using Kazaa — based on the 'innocent infringement' defense, which could reduce the statutory damages to $200 per song file. Relying on BMG v. Gonzalez (PDF), the reasoning of which I have criticized on the 'innocent infringement' issue, the RIAA argued that Ms. Harper does not qualify for the 'innocent infringement' defense, since CD versions of the songs, sold in stores, have copyright notices on them. In its 15-page decision (PDF) the Harper court rejected that contention, holding that 'a question remains as to whether Defendant knew the warnings on compact discs were applicable in this KaZaA setting', since 'In this case, there were no compact discs with warnings.' Finding that there was a factual issue as to what the defendant knew or didn't know at the time of the infringement, the Court ordered a trial of the damages unless the RIAA agrees to accept $200 — rather than the $750-plus it seeks — per infringed song."

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