Although it won’t affect other cases, the RIAA was handed a small smackdown this week when a U.S. district judge rejected their request for a summary judgement, and ruled that putting song files in a shared directory was not enough proof that infringement had occurred.
The judge said that the RIAA “must prove that the songs were actually downloaded,” which is not a distinction past judges have made. Whether or not this ruling will cause other judges to look at the RIAA’s future claims in a different light remains to be seen, however.
Wake’s ruling pretty much contradicts many of the legal arguments the RIAA has presented in those peer-to-peer lawsuits the organization has brought against individual users. However, not that many cases actually make it to court, mainly because defendants often opt for settling for a few thousand dollars instead of shouldering expenses for a jaunt through the civil legal system.