RIAA Blames Harvard Law Professor for Dragging Out File-Sharing Case

There’s been a development in the RIAA lawsuit where a Harvard Law professor decided to step in.

Note: This is an article I wrote that was published elsewhere first. It has been republished here for archival purposes

There’s an interesting report from a Connecticut news site that discusses the latest developments in a case where a Harvard Law professor stepped in to intervene in a file-sharing lawsuit that probably would have otherwise ended up like the other thousands where the defendant settled out of court.

While the report says that the judge hasn’t made any decisions, the arguments being heard seem interesting even if they have been heard in previous cases. The RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) demanded that the defendant hand over their computer so they can copy the contents of their hard drive for evidence of copyright infringement.

Nesson argues that handing over the computer would be a violation of the defendants privacy rights.

While a battle is being fought inside the courtroom, it seems that the battle is also being fought outside of the court as well. From the report:

RIAA spokeswoman Cara Duckworth said the industry group had wanted to settle the case quickly, but blamed Nesson, who brought some of his students to court Tuesday, for dragging it out.

“During the past several years, thousands of regular working class folks in the music community have lost their jobs precisely because of the illegal activity involved in this case,” she said in a written statement. “While this might be an interesting academic exercise for the professor and his class, there’s been real world consequences for those who create music.”

Some would argue that, in Britain and parts of Europe, file-sharing has revitalized the Drum and Bass movement (Drum and Bass, often referred to as DnB, is a fast-paced genre of electronica) and, as direct result of things like social file-sharing. One could easily argue that it’s precisely because it’s now much more possible for a wider audience to be exposed to such music, thus creating opportunity for producers to create music and, consequently, creating jobs as well. Of course, this kind of thinking doesn’t apply solely to DnB, but many movements of underground music that would otherwise be strictly confined to small independent music stores trying to compete against big box retail and major record stores.

While the major record labels have already announced that they would stop the file-sharing lawsuits last month, this latest development proves that this doesn’t actually end the court room battles.

In October, Nesson, the Harvard Law professor, announced that he will take on the RIAA. Later on, he argued that the file-sharing case should be broadcast live on the internet directly from the courtroom.

It appears that the case is currently rests in the judges hands for now.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Google+.

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