The MPAA Says They Shouldn't Need Proof To Sue You

A legal brief submitted by an attorney representing The Motion Picture Association of America states that intellectual-property holders should have the right to collect up to $150,000 per violation without having to actually prove copyright infringement, Wired reports. The MPAA attorney, who seems to feel very inconvenienced by the whole “due process” thing writes, “It is often very difficult, and in some cases, impossible, to provide such direct proof when confronting modern forms of copyright infringement, whether over P2P networks or otherwise; understandably, copyright infringers typically do not keep records of infringement.” Details, inside…

This document is among other briefs submitted to a judge overseeing the Jammie Thomas trial, the only RIAA case ever to go to trial. Thomas was sued by the RIAA for $222,000 for “making available” 24 songs on the Kazaa network. At the time, Judge Davis instructed jurors that they only needed to find that Thomas had an open share folder and not that the songs were actually copied or transferred. However, the judge has since suggested that he made have made a mistake in giving this instruction and is deciding whether to order a mistrial.

The article says,

The deadline to submit briefs to the judge was Friday. Among the briefs, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Public Knowledge, the United States Internet Industry Association and the Computer and Communications Industry Association all jointly filed a brief, saying the law did not allow damages for “attempted” copyright infringement.

“Given the serious consequences that flow from copyright’s strict liability regime, the court should resist plaintiffs imprecations to expand that regime absent an unequivocal expression of Congressional intent,” the groups wrote, noting that the language in the Copyright Act demands actual distribution to the public of protected works.

It was a similar brief in tone to the one that a group of 10 intellectual property scholars lodged earlier in the week.

But the MPAA, long an ally to the RIAA, which has sued more than 20,000 individuals for file sharing of copyrighted music, told Judge Davis that peer-to-peer users automatically should be liable for infringement.

“The only purpose for placing copyrighted works in the shared folder is, of course, to ‘share,’ by making those works available to countless other P2P networks,” the MPAA wrote.

It is absurd that lawyers, of all people, believe we should live in a society where clear and concrete proof needn’t be necessary to establish one’s guilt. Proving cases of copyright infringement is far from impossible. It is only a matter of spending the proper amount of time and money to do so.

MPAA Says No Proof Needed in P2P Copyright Infringement Lawsuits [Wired]
Capitol v. Thomas [Wiki]