Monday, July 27, 2009

Judge rejects fair use defense as Tenenbaum P2P trial begins; Ars Technica, 7/27/09

Nate Anderson via Ars Technica; Judge rejects fair use defense as Tenenbaum P2P trial begins: Hours before the second P2P file-sharing trial in the US gets underway, the judge finally rules that defendant Joel Tenenbaum cannot claim "fair use" in the case. The proposed defense would be "so broad it would swallow the copyright protections that Congress has created," she wrote:

"There will be no fair use defense for Joel Tenenbaum at trial this week...

That won't happen, because Judge Gertner this morning granted the record labels' request for summary judgment on the issue of fair use. Noting that defendants only have the right to a jury trial when there are material facts in dispute, Gertner went on to point out that Tenenbaum has admitted to the activity in question and that she may therefore rule on the issue of fair use as a matter of law...

Gertner has been no fan of the labels' litigation campaign, telling industry lawyers in the past that they were "basically bankrupting people, and it's terribly critical that you stop it."

But that hasn't stopped her from taking on Team Tenenbaum's attempt to eviscerate copyright. As Nesson wrote in his pretrial outline of the case, "the idea of imposing law on the global ocean of free bits that has flooded into cyberspace is a gross and harmful over-extension of the power of the state and authority of the law." Gertner, whatever her own feelings on these kinds of cases, sees clearly that such claims amount to abolition of copyright in the digital age and are at odds with the law as currently written."

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