The RIAA is facing some major problems as one chap, amongst the legions the RIAA is suing as a matter of course, is fighting back with an awesome line of legal defence.
So far, the RIAA has gone after alleged P2P moguls by showing that an IP address was involved in downloading an illegal song, then going to the ISP that allocated that IP and finding out who it was assigned to.
The connection between the two has been enough to convince many of its targets to cough up 'compensation' to the RIAA in the thousands of dollars, and has warranted a trial of many others.
However, Paul Wilkes, the industry's latest target, has hit the court he's being sued in with something of a crucial point. Given that there is no evidence that he actually has the song on his computer, has any P2P software on his computer, or no actual evidence of anything, in fact - is this enough to even bring
the lawsuit on?
Paul protests his innocence, saying that he doesn't have the song or P2P software, thus effectively proving his own point.
He has filed for summary judgement in the case, which means that he believes that there is not enough evidence being presented by the RIAA for the case to even go to court formally. The court is now having to consider whether it should actually require the RIAA to have evidence beyond an IP address.
If the court says that it will require more evidence than such a tenuous link, that will be a major spanner in the RIAA's works, since it is very difficult to get that evidence directly from a potential target's computer.
In response, the RIAA has asked that Paul's hard disk be turned over to them for inspection to determine whether the songs and software are on there. But given that this would amount to a rule where a hard disk can be obtained merely by an accusation, the court may look unfavourably on this.
This is definitely one to keep an eye on. Let us know your thoughts on the whole debate over in the forums.