The US Supreme Court will not hear the continued legal case between the record industry and Whitney Harper, who was busted for downloading and sharing 37 copyrighted songs.
Harper, 16 years old at the time of the incident, is accused by the record industry as being a “long-term, massive infringer” in the Harper v. Maverick Recording Co. case. This is the first John Doe case that has reached the Supreme Court, although the RIAA has found it very difficult to collect compensation for its legal efforts.
In September, it was announced the ‘innocent infringer’ case would reach the Supreme Court, but legal analysts immediately doubted if the Supreme Court would show interest in the case.
Although Harper admits using a P2P program to download and share songs, she tried to use the ‘innocent infringer’ defense. For those caught red handed, the last ditch effort of claiming ignorance regarding copyright law has been used by some people accused of file sharing.
If the defendant claimed to be an innocent infringer, the minimum $750 per song copyright infringement violation would be dropped down to $200 per song. Harper was fined a total of $27,750 for sharing 37 copyrighted songs, and it would have been up to the Supreme Court to possibly reduce her fine.
Since she pirated music that ships with copyright notices on CDs, the appeals court found, then she can’t use the innocent infringer defense. I always believed copyright infringement warnings were never meant to be educational, and the record industry was caught off guard when P2P file sharing became popular.
The RIAA will no longer look to sue individual file sharers, especially after years of bad press and publicity, and now uses the federal government to help create new legislation and crackdown on infringers via anti-piracy sweeps.