Nature doesn’t always evolve at a continual pace, but
sometimes demonstrates leaps and jumps in progression. This is a good principle to keep in mind when
discussing the Recording Industry Association of America’s victory over
LimeWire in a copyright infringement lawsuit. The case is a testament to how the justice
system trudges along at a snail’s pace while the internet hops along merrily at
text of the suit alleges that Limewire induced its users to obtain
copyrighted material, as over 93% of its content was unauthorized. But that’s not really what concerns me here,
and it probably doesn’t bother you either, since to some extent a lot of the
content on the net is likely unauthorized.
What bothers me is that the suit was filed ages ago way back in 2006, but the ruling is just now coming out and it’s already 2010. Do you know how long that is in internet years?! It’s worse than dog years, and LimeWire can probably be considered well beyond geriatric by now. Does anyone even know about LimeWire anymore? Headlines even describe the suit as making the world yawn because of how long the ruling took to make.
So are there any remedies for the court’s
heavy-footedness? Luckily, new
developments within the LimeWire suit itself may provide clues for the justice
system’s future. Recently the RIAA has
asked a judge to issue a permanent
that LimeWire be shut down.
In my opinion, injunctions- orders that require the defendant to take or refrain from action- may be just what the court system needs to get up to speed with internet concerns. Here are a few reasons why injunctions are favorable for addressing online music copyright concerns:
· Injunctions are one of the system’s quickest method of relief- some injunctions can be obtained in a day or two, can go into effect immediately, and often last indefinitely
· Injunctions cut to the heart of the offense: they focus on what the person is doing wrong rather than the secondary ripple effects
· Music is an art, which means that it is valued subjectively. To a certain degree it is difficult to attach a monetary value as a measure for punishment
· Since money is typically not the issue in an injunction, courts save time by not having to sift through tons of financial documents (like in the current Goldman Sachs lawsuit where 2.5 billion pages were dumped onto the court)
Of course, injunctions are not available in all cases, and some claims deserve legal damages in the form of money. Moreover, a focus on injunctions probably requires the general public to make a drastic paradigm shift. We’d have to move our attention from quantity-based evaluations to more qualitative determinations, which may be difficult to do for a numbers-based society.
Still, the use of injunctions can do a lot in getting
violations addressed quickly. I just
don’t know why the RIAA waited until after a ruling before they petitioned for one. Maybe they yawned and fell asleep while the
case dragged on.
By: Jay Rivera