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"...the record labels are guilty of misusing their copyrights"
Written by Daniel   
Saturday, 01 September 2007 10:44
RIAA denies copyright misuse in the wake of antitrust, monopoly accusations
ARS Technica
By Eric Bangeman | Published: August 30, 2007 - 11:01PM CT

One of the common defenses against the music industry's lawsuits is to accuse the record labels of copyright misuse by collusion and acting as an illegal cartel in their legal campaign. In UMG v. Lindor, the labels are attacking that defense in a motion filed earlier this week, asking a federal judge to either strike the defense or force Marie Lindor to amend it to include something other than "mere conclusions and buzzwords."

What has the record labels upset is the accusation that the they are acting in violation of antitrust laws in their legal campaign against consumers. Here's how Marie Lindor's fourth affirmative defense reads: "The plaintiffs, who are competitors, are a cartel acting collusively in violation of the antitrust laws and of public policy, by tying their copyrights to each other, collusively litigating and settling all cases together, and by entering into an unlawful agreement among themselves to prosecute and to dispose of all cases in accordance with a uniform agreement, and through common lawyers, thus overreaching the bounds and scope of whatever copyrights they might have." By acting in such a manner, Lindor argues, the record labels are guilty of misusing their copyrights.

The fact that the record labels act together to advance their litigation agenda is unquestioned. At this point, the record labels have filed over 25,000 lawsuits, and since some very early setbacks, they have gone about them in the exact same manner. From the use of Media Sentry as its investigative arm and subsequent John Doe lawsuits to the boilerplate complaints with identical wording, the one thing that the RIAA has demonstrated is a stunning uniformity in its approach to file-sharing cases.

In a way, it makes a lot of sense. The record labels are all attempting to address what they perceive to be a big problem: file-sharing. With the vast majority of the 25,000+ cases settled in the RIAA's favor either via favorable settlements or outright victories, the strategy has proven to be devastatingly effective in the court of law—even if it is a dismal failure in the court of public opinion.... More
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