Wednesday, January 21, 2009

FEDERAL JUDGE SAYS RECORD COMPANIES CAN'T COLLECT RESTITUTION FOR EACH ILLEGAL DOWNLOAD

Jacqui Cheng, Arstechnica - Record companies cannot collect restitution for every time a song has been illegally downloaded, a US District judge has decided. Judge James P. Jones gave his opinion on United States of America v. Dove, a criminal copyright case, ruling that each illegal download does not necessarily equate to a lost sale, and that the companies affected by P2P piracy cannot make their restitution claims based on this assumption. . .

Jones wrote in his opinion that equating each download with a lost sale is a faulty assumption. "Those who download movies and music for free would not necessarily purchase those movies and music at the full purchase price," Jones wrote. "Although it is true that someone who copies a digital version of a sound recording has little incentive to purchase the recording through legitimate means, it does not necessarily follow that the downloader would have made a legitimate purchase if the recording had not been available for free."

It's important to note that this decision does not directly affect the thousands of civil cases that the RIAA has launched against accused copyright violators. . . . Still, the Dove ruling is reassuring in that it emphasizes once again the concept that a sheer number of downloads doesn't necessarily equal monetary losses.

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