Wednesday, October 29, 2008

SHOWDOWN IN BOSTON: HARVARD PROFESSOR TAKES ON RIAA


The RIAA has tactfully sidestepped a legal battle with the brains at Harvard Law School, for obvious reasons. But now, the battle is being brought to their doorstep. In Sony BMG Music v. Tenenbaum, Harvard Law professor Charles Nesson has now filed an amended counterclaim on behalf of defendant Joel Tenenbaum. The counterclaim fires back against the suing label and the RIAA for abuse of process across state and federal jurisdictions. Additionally, Nesson is seeking protection against a hard drive inspection.

The RIAA has predictably moved to dismiss the counterclaim, prompting an opposition from Nesson. That is just the first volley in an interesting battle, one that continues to put the major label group on the defensive.

Nesson has been a longtime critic of the trade organization. In early May of 2007, Nesson openly challenged any efforts by the RIAA to subpoena information on students, and resisted requests to shuttle legal settlements to university users. "Seeking to outsource its enforcement costs, the RIAA asks universities to point fingers at their students, to filter their internet access, and to pass along notices of claimed copyright infringement," Nesson wrote in a paper co-authored by Wendy Seltzer, a fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society.

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