Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Fight the Power

Carnegie Mellon is where I started my convoluted journey through the land of higher education. So, aside from my general interest in the RIAA's egregious misinterpretation of copyright law, I plan on following this story very closely. Good luck, kids.

There's a potential angle here that I don't think has been tried yet: equal protection under the law. What the RIAA is doing amounts to selective prosecution (i.e., only suing certain people, hoping to make an example of them). This is inherently unconstitutional.

Then again, who pays attention to the Constitution these days?


JasonN said...

Ah shoot. You used the C word and made me chastise you for it. And, I hate to do that publicly, but it's a blog.

If a private company chooses to sue individuals, thats not necessarily unconstitutional. Now, if the government were to selectively prosecute for a given crime, then you'd be on track with that term.

The argument, and I expect it to be easily won, is that they are pursuing cases they can win, inside the purview of their legal representation. They don't have the obligation to sue each and ever offender if it's not reasonable that they can profitably win each and every case. And, they always have the argument of due time. They can rightfully claim that each suit has it's individual merit and case value, and will be pursued based on priority. And, they have the right to set their own priorities.

By the way, I think suing your consumers is a bad business model.

Andrew said...

Oh, so that's "the C word"!

I see what you're saying. Maybe I went overboard when I said "inherently"--though I did qualify that whole paragraph with the word "potential" (as I see you qualify your own point about unconstitutionality with the phrase "not necessarily"). Maybe we both need to do a little more research...

In any case, I urge you to be circumspect about defending the RIAA's legal strategy. I'm no lawyer, but I know when something stinks. And "bad business model" is a dainty, euphemistic way of describing what's happening here.