Boston students achieve partial success in file sharing lawsuit
The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has suffered a defeat in its prosecution of students who allegedly illegally shared music via internet sharing sites. In the London-Sire against Doe case, Massachusetts District Judge Nancy Gertner provisionally prohibited Boston University from passing on students' connection details to the music industry, ruling that the court first has to investigate whether this is permissible. The university acts as the internet provider for the students.
The judge also questioned that the accused students violated US copyrights simply by using filesharing portals. Making music files available does not automatically imply that the files were actually distributed, said the judge. The ruling contradicts a decision reached by the New York Federal District Court on the same day in the case of Elektra against Barker. This court concluded that a violation has occurred when music is offered with the intention to distribute it.
According to civil rights organisation Electronic Frontier Foundation, however, the conflicting decisions don't indicate a turnaround in the court cases against the users of file sharing networks. They are based on controversial evidence provided by the company MediaSentry by pretending to be a file sharing user to obtain the IP addresses of sharing partners.