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P2P Music Downloading - Brief of Amicus Curiae Reviewing Fact and Law

This brief is submitted in response to a request of the Court in the case of Capitol Records, et al. v. Noor Alaujan.  The amici parties in the brief are individual members at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School, acting not in the interest of any of the parties in the case but in the interest of helping the Court balance the competing claims of the Plaintiffs and Defendants.

This case requires balancing rights of copyright holders, who allege harms caused by the distribution of their songs on peer-to-peer (P2P) file-sharing networks, with protections for individual consumers accused of copying and distributing these songs on such networks. The brief outlines some of the factual matters in the case, such as possible errors in the methods by which these users are identified, as well as more substantive legal issues such as potential fair use defenses and the question of whether merely storing files in shared folders violates Plaintiffs' rights of public distribution.

In this brief, amici parties urge the Courts to exercise caution in granting uniform remedies, given the diversity of possible factual and legal defenses that might be raised by individual users.

Download the amicus brief (pdf).

Submitted By

William W. Fisher III, Hale and Dorr Professor of Intellectual Property Law; Faculty Director, Berkman Center
Charles R. Nesson, William F. Weld Professor of Law; Faculty Co-Director, Berkman Center
Jonathan Zittrain, Jack N. and Lillian R. Berkman Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurial Legal Studies; Faculty Co-Director, Berkman Center
John Palfrey, Executive Director, Berkman Center
Diane Cabell, Director of Clinical Programs, Berkman Center
Renny Hwang, Clinical Student, Harvard Law School
Ory Okolloh, Clinical Student, Harvard Law School

Follow-Up: Interactive Brief

In the coming weeks, the Berkman Center will post a version of this brief on a wiki page that can be modified, updated, and amended by others interested in these issues.  This interactive brief is intended to serve as a resource for potential plaintiffs and defendants in similar cases and for those interested in developing the legal issues at stake in these matters.