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The Courts

RIAA Trying To Avoid a Jury Trial 183

Joe Elliot writes "Faced with a jury trial set to begin on October 1, the RIAA has filed a motion for summary adjudication of specific facts: that the RIAA owns the copyrights to the songs in a file-sharing case; that the registration is proper; and that the defendant wasn't authorized to copy or distribute the recordings. If the judge rules in their favor, Ars notes that it may turn into a Novell v SCO situation where the only thing left to be decided are the damages. There are some significant problems with the copyright registrations — they don't match up. 'Thomas argues that since she lacks the financial means to conduct a thorough examination of the ownership history (e.g., track the ownership of "Hysteria" from Mercury to UMG) for the songs she is accused of infringing the copyright to, her only opportunity to determine their true ownership is either via discovery or cross-examination at trial.' Ars also notes that the RIAA's biggest fear is of losing a case. 'A loss at trial would be catastrophic for the RIAA. It would give other defense attorneys a winning template while exposing the weaknesses of the RIAA's arguments. It would also prove costly from a financial standpoint, as the RIAA would have to foot the legal expenses for both itself and the defendant. Most of all, it would set an unwelcomed precedent: over 20,000 lawsuits filed and the RIAA loses the first one to go to a jury.'"

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