In the aftermath of Sony v. Tenenbaum, the Boston RIAA case in which the defendant admitted liability and the Court awarded $625,000 to the RIAA, the Court is questioning whether these six-to-seven-figure awards are excessive and should be reduced in certain scenarios.
However, the Court left open the questions of whether the amount is excessive, and whether attorneys fees and/or sanctions should be awarded, and has scheduled further briefing of those issues. The Court granted the RIAA much, but not all, of the injunctive relief it requested. In an unusual step, the Court issued a 38-page decision (PDF) explaining in some detail the Court’s views of the Fair Use defense in the context of cases like this, and indicating that there are some factual scenarios — not applicable in this particular case — in which it might have concluded that the claims were barred by Fair Use. E.g. it declined to rule out the possibility that creation of mp3 files exclusively for space-shifting purposes from audio CDs a defendant had previously purchased might constitute fair use.”
Hey, if you’re guilty, you’re guilty, but re-evaluating these seemingly arbitrary penalties could serve to bring some reasonable guidelines for future cases.