Lots of good news on the copyright front this Thursday. The RIAA has taken a big blow against its first ever copyright win in court, and the Bush administration finally got something right, opposing moves to take copyright enforcement to the government.
In the case law front, the original judge who ruled in the case of RIAA vs Jammie Thomas last year over copyright has called a mistrial based on his flawed instruction to the jury over the level of proof necessary for the RIAA to prevail. In the original trial, Judge Michael Davis told the jury that the recording industry did not have to prove anybody downloaded the songs from Thomas’ open Kazaa share folder, saying that they could find unauthorized distribution (copyright infringement) if Thomas was “making copyrighted sound recordings available” over a peer-to-peer network “regardless of whether actual distribution has been shown” reports Wired. The good news is that he had second thoughts, and the RIAA’s success rate in court now reverts to 0.
On the Government front, despite previous strong support from a senate committee, the Bush Administration has come out against a law backed by the recording industry that would have seen copyright enforcement pursued by the Government, and the addition of a copyright czar within the administration.
In what CNet refers to as a veto threat to the Senate Judiciary Committee, Keith Nelson, a principal deputy assistant attorney general, and Lily Fu Claffee, the Commerce Department’s general counsel argued that the administration was “deeply concerned” that the proposal would divert resources from criminal prosecution to civil enforcement, and create “unnecessary bureaucracy.” Further, the bill was “objectionable on constitutional grounds” because it would create an “IP coordinator” inside the White House, the organization of which is traditionally a presidential prerogative.