Kazaa Sued by Ohio Couple

By Jon Newton 4/24/05

Executives running the entertainment industry music cartel must be rubbing their hands in glee.

Sally and Jim Wilson, a mother and father involved in a class action suit against Sharman Networks' notorious Kazaa p2p application, may inadvertently be adding a powerful new weapon to the anti-p2p arsenals of the very organizations that are victimizing them.

In February, the Wilsons learned they were being sued by Big Music cartel’s RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America), "because their two teenage daughters had downloaded 653 songs - and that they could be liable to pay $750 for each,” says the Cincinnati Enquirer.

Jon Newton

They didn't have almost half-a-million-dollars, or even the, “$5,000 recording-industry lawyers said they wanted to settle the copyright-infringement lawsuit filed in Virginia,” says the story, going on:

“The Cold Spring couple has agreed to settle for $3,000. Next week, the Wilsons plan to sue an Australian-based company, Sharman Networks Ltd., whose popular peer-to-peer Kazaa software the girls used.”

In entertainment industry cartel parlance, ‘settlement’ means forcing ordinary people with minimal financial or legal resources, to in effect buy their way out of possible civil law suits.

Whether they're guilty or not of any wrong-doing is beside the point. The multi-billion-dollar industry's aim is to create a picture in which it's being ravaged by hoards of wicked mom-and-pop file-sharing criminals, and their children.

And the legal corner-stone of 'innocent until proved guilty' goes by the board.

The multi-billion-dollar industry claims it’s being devastated by file sharing, which it calls ‘thieving,’ despite the fact that file sharing isn't a crime, that no money changes hands and that it's never been shown that file sharing has meant the loss of even one sale.

Moreover, not one of the close to 10,000 people subpoenaed by Big Music has ever appeared in a court. They have to settle because they literally can't afford to take the music industry, with its limitless financial resources and teams of highly skilled lawyers, on.

However, the fact an action has been started allows the industry to imply that file sharing is a crime, which it isn’t, and that thousands of people have been found guilty of it, which they haven’t.

'I don't like the idea of people suing me'

Now, lawyer Chris Macke, who represented the Wilsons, plans to file suit seeking to make it a class action, “so others who have paid settlements for downloading music can become parties,” says the Enquirer.

"The Recording Industry Association of America, which downloaders criticize for enforcing copyright laws, has no love for such services as Kazaa, which hurt music revenue," says the story.

Kazaa is probably the most discredited of the commercial p2p applications, but it's not the only one, which suggests other programs could also be similarly under threat.

The Enquirer which, like all too many mainstream media publications appears to have fallen hook, line and sinker for the RIAA's disengenuous declarations, also has Sally Wilson saying she learned how to download music in classes Gateway Inc offered after she bought a computer.

Does this mean the Wilsons' lawyer will soon be starting a class action against Gateway and other computer makers who provide buyers with instructions on how to download music?

Sally, Jim and Macke should instead be launching a class action against Warner, Sony BMG, UMG and EMI, the members of the music label cartel, for libel and slander in wrongfully characterizing them and their daughters as dangerous criminals and hard-core thieves.


Jon Newton is the editor of p2pnet.net and is a regular contributer to MP3 Newswire. Jon's site is devoted to the politics of digital music and his insights as well as those of his co-writers can be read there. We urge you to explore it.


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Other MP3 stories:

Copyright Bill Passed in Congress Will Criminalize File Sharing
What Makes a Journalist? Thoughts on Apple and Think Secret
Can Free Broadcast TV Really Be Napsterized?


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