12/22/2006 4:41:30 PM, by Eric Bangeman
The beat goes on in the world of file-sharing litigation. Earlier this week, the case against Patti Santangelo was dismissed without prejudice and refiled, this time naming two of her children as defendants. In another closely followed case, UMG v. Lindor, a federal judge has ruled that the RIAA will have to show that Lindor actually shared music, a higher burden than demonstrating that she made the files available for download.
Judge David G. Trager ruled that when the case goes to trial, "plaintiffs will have the burden of proving by a preponderance of the evidence that defendant did indeed infringe plaintiff's copyrights by convincing the fact-finder, based on the evidence plaintiffs have gathered, that defendant actually shared sound files belonging to plaintiffs."
In Electra v. Perez, another judge held that making files available for distribution was enough to prove infringement. Since that case was dismissed without prejudice, there is little likelihood that the ruling in that case will be precedent setting.
UMG v. Lindor appears headed for trial next year unless one of the parties blinks. With today's ruling, it appears that the record labels will have to demonstrate that someone actually infringed on their copyrights by downloading music from Lindor's computer. That's a step beyond the RIAA's argument that making files available for download constitutes infringement.
Keep in mind that since none of the file-sharing cases have actually made it to trial, there is little indication of how a judge will respond to the arguments put forth by both sides.