In the latest Radio Berkman podcast, Prof. Charles Nesson and Joel Tennenbaum explain their countersuit against the RIAA, claiming that the RIAA should be forbidden on Constitutional grounds from suing people for sharing music files. Charlie’s analogy is to Congress passing a law that charges $750-$150,000 for each mile we go over the speed limit, and then allows a private company to fund itself by enforcing the law, and allows them to take bribes (“settlements”). He says the RIAA is using the federal courts as a collection agency. If the law is a criminal statute, which Charlie argues it in effect is, then private parties should not be able to pursue civil suits to enforce it.
If Charlie and Joel win, it would shut down the RIAA’s hyper-aggressive tactics. And, although Charlie does not say this, it seems to me that it might open up some interesting class action suits from those who have had to pay up.
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