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Happy Holidays (Sort of)! RIAA Finally Giving Up On Mass Lawsuits!

The Wall Street Journal has announced that the RIAA will no longer sue fans who download music from the web for copyright infringement. Instead, it will work with ISP's to limit and even cut web access to the offenders. They will, however, continue with the lawsuits already in progress. They also apparently believe that piracy would have been much worse had they not used the lawsuit strategy at all. Sure.

However, this is not as great as it may seem...

Judge delivers blow to RIAA's dodgy "making available" theory

The crux of the RIAA's cases against music fans is the "making available" theory, meaning that they do not need to provide proof of transfer in order to claim copyright infringement, they just need to show that someone had files available to share on a P2P network. Last October, a jury in Minnesota found Jammie Thomas guilty of copyright infringement for 24 (mostly bad) songs. It was the first federal RIAA victory using this argument against a plaintiff, with a $222,000 judgment in their favor.

Atlantic v. Howell Ruling: A Troubling Caveat

Yesterday I posted about the decision [PDF] in Atlantic v. Howell that found having a shared folder on a sharing service does not constitute copyright violation. After the initial excitement wore off, analysts began to look at a second part of that ruling which, according to David Kravets at Wired, could "embolden" the RIAA's lawsuit extravaganza.

"Shared folder" != copyright violation

After years of muscling fans into settlements and lawsuits over sharing folders of music on various P2P services, a judge has ruled that offering a "shared folder" of media does not constitute a copyright violation unless there is proof that an actual file changed hands.

From PC World:

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