A team from Harvard Law School will square off against the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) today in a Rhode Island Federal Court, according to a Harvard Law press release.
Prof. Charles Nesson (left) and a group of law students have taken up the case of Joel Tenenbaum, a Boston University grad student targeted by the RIAA. Alleging that Joel file-shared seven songs as a teenager, the RIAA is seeking more than one million dollars from Tenenbaum family. Odly enough, if the same music was purchased on iTunes, the total value would be all of $6.93.
Matt Sanchez, one of law students assisting Prof. Nesson, said:
The basic rules of evidence suggest that this invasion of privacy is both unnecessary and absurd. This hearing isn’t only about Joel’s parents. It’s also about finally putting up a fight against the recording industry’s intimidation practices.
An except from a case document filed by the Harvard team explains their position:
The [RIAA] is in the process of bringing to bear upon the defendant, Joel Tenenbaum, the full might of its lobbying influence and litigating power. Joel Tenenbaum was a teenager at the time of the alleged copyright infringements, in every way representative of his born-digital generation. The plaintiffs and the RIAA are seeking to punish him beyond any rational measure of the damage he allegedly caused.
They do this, not for the purpose of recovering compensation for actual damage caused by Joel’s individual action, nor for the primary purpose of deterring him from further copyright infringement, but for the ulterior purpose of creating an urban legend so frightening to children using computers, and so frightening to parents and teachers of students using computers, that they will somehow reverse the tide of the digital future
GP: While not a video game story, Harvard Law's legal battle against the RIAA's IP ham-handed enforcement tactics have implications for game consumers as well.