Peer to peer downloading is BIG. We all know that. Music companies know that. Video companies know that as well. Yet is the activity really criminal? It is really worth pursuing a p2p downloader in court?
This is what is happening today, and the case of Joel Tenenbaum, the 25-year-old American facing charges from Sony BMG and other, is a perfect example. Tenenbaum is being charged with illegal downloading due to his activities over p2p networks. The plaintiffs allege that Tenenbaum has been downloading music illegally.
Some bright minds have taken Tenenbaumâ€™s side and have gone as far as to defend him. One of these is Charles Nesson, a professor at the esteemed Harvard University. According to Nesson, downloading falls under fair use. Out-law has the story:
“Fairness borders copyright infringement,” said Nesson in his submission. Proving that the defendant infringed entails proving that his copying was not fair â€¦ the issue of the fairness of the defendant’s use is integral to the decision the jury must make as to whether the defendant’s actions were infringements.”
He said that that 1976 law laid out four factors which will determine whether a fair use exemption applies. These are: the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes; the nature of the copyrighted work; the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.
He is making sense there, isnâ€™t he? And I am sure many downloaders are loving it!