Liberty and Accessibility

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Music industry countersued

The Knoxville News Sentinel in Tennessee reports that an Army Sergeant
stationed at Fort Campbell, who has been targeted by the RIAA for file
sharing he did not commit, has fought back, counterclaiming against the
record companies for copyright misuse, in Warner v. Paternoster:
Music industry countersued
Soldier: Record labels violated his privacy, abused copyright law
By Andrew Eder
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
Music-industry litigation tactics against suspected online music
pirates face a challenge in Tennessee, with an Army sergeant arguing
that record labels have engaged in a "conspiracy" to defraud courts and
violate privacy rights.
The claims come in response to a lawsuit against Nicholas Paternoster
of Clarksville, Tenn., 33, soldier at nearby Fort Campbell, who is
accused of infringing copyrights by using the peer-to-peer file-sharing
program Kazaa to distribute songs online.
In the response, Paternoster denies the allegations of copyright
infringement and responds with a counterclaim charging that the record
labels are abusing copyright law.
The labels, "ostensibly competitors in the recording industry, are a
cartel acting together in violation of the antitrust laws and public
policy," allege Paternoster's attorneys from the Nashville law firm
Beam & Rogers.
The countersuit points out that although the recording industry singled
out only six songs whose copyrights were infringed, the complaint
includes screenshots of more than 4,600 files from Paternoster's
personal computer, including hundreds of apparently pornographic
pictures and movies.
According to another document filed in the case, Paternoster was
unaware that the Kazaa software was installed on his computer. While on
a tour of duty in Germany from 2004 to 2005, the document says, another
soldier downloaded the software and set up a Kazaa account under
Paternoster's name.
Last summer Paternoster discovered the software and "thousands of files
downloaded on his computer by the soldiers he housed," and he
uninstalled the software and deleted the files, according to the document.
Kazaa and other file-sharing networks often make a computer's files
available for download by other network users, which allows the RIAA's
investigators to document instances of copyright infringement. The
file-sharing option can be disabled, but many users never realize they
are making their files available.
By including the full list of Paternoster's files in the public record,
the record labels invaded his privacy and are trying to "shame" him
into accepting their demands, his attorneys argue.
"Such actions by the Counter-Defendants are a blatant misuse of their
right to investigate potential copyright infringement and violate
public policy," the countersuit reads.
The attorneys list a host of other common complaints about recording
industry tactics, including targeting dead, disabled and
unknowledgeable people with lawsuits; relying on Internet Protocol
addresses to identify defendants; making "extortionate threats" and
seeking "exorbitant settlement amounts" through the RIAA; and invading
defendants' privacy by pursuing "John Doe" lawsuits and subpoenas
without the individual's knowledge. In my opinion, intellectual
property is a fake concept that helps corporations and hurts small
businesses and poor peopel. Intellectual property is subjective.
Serotek, a small blindness software company was recently sued by a
bigger company called Freedom Scientific. Why? Serotek used the word
"Freedom" in their software products. Rather than getting into a long
drawn out fight with the bully that calls themselves Freedom
Scientific, Serotek has changed the names of all of their software
products. Freedom Scientific sells a Screen Reader called Jaws. Maybe
the producers of the movie Jaws should seu Freedom Scientific because
they are using the word "Jaws." Would that really be that much
different than what Freedom Scientific did to Serotek?

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