This is the defendant’s opposition to the plaintiffs’ motion to dismiss the counterclaims in the case of Sony BMG Music Entertainment et al. v. Joel Tenenbaum. Joel Tenenbaum was sued by the RIAA for copyright infringement, and Charles Nesson, his attorney, filed a countersuit against the RIAA for abusing the court system. The RIAA wanted to dismiss the counterclaims, and this is Nesson’s defense.
Nesson believes that the RIAA is trying to “…punish him (Tenenbaum) beyond any rational measure of the damage he allegedly caused.” He believes that the RIAA is trying to FRIGHTEN the public, and its not actually seeking legitimate damages. This intimidation is an abuse of the law. Tenenbaum only shared 7 copyrighted songs illegally. Nesson is challenging the constitutionality of the process, saying that due process of law is being neglected because of the “grossly excessive” statutory damages (a minimum of $750 per song with a potential maximum of $150,000). He believes that Joel’s case should be tried in a criminal court, giving him a trial by jury. He worries that the courts are giving “excessive prosecutorial power to private hands,” and compares the situation to hundred thousand dollar speeding tickets being given by self -interested police officers. He reminds the court that Joel acted with no malice and made no profit, and wonders, “Is the law just the grind of a statutory machine to be carried out by judge and jury as cogs in the machine, or do judge and jury claim the right and duty and power of constitution and conscience to do justice?”
Basically, the RIAA is just trying to scare people away from file sharing networks, and their lawsuits are unfair because no one can challenge them without facing extremely high costs. The RIAA and the courts are exploiting the public, and they must be challenged. Laws made by lobbyist influence are allowing the RIAA to act as a bully, and all of these defendants deserve due process of law (a constitutional right by the 14th amendment). These are criminal matters, and they should not be tried in civil courts. I believe that the court needs to sit back and examine the whole situation, and hopefully realize that an abuse of power is taking place. My paper will use these points to define the RIAA lawsuits as completely unfair. Hopefully someday the courts will prevent the RIAA from filing blatantly unfair lawsuits that are extremely difficult to fight, and with Nesson at the forefront of the battle, that day could come soon.