And guess where the first trial is? That hotbed of legal precedence - Duluth!
Well, the reason this one is actually going to trial is because the defense is trying something a little new - contesting that the RIAA actually owns the copyrights to those songs. Instead, the RIAA produced an 800-page diatribe showing why they do not need to demonstrate ownership of the copyright.
Oh, and it does get better. The head of litigation for Sony BMG, Jennifer Pariser, testified on behalf of the record labels:
Pariser has a very broad definition of "stealing." When questioned by Richard Gabriel, lead counsel for the record labels, Pariser suggested that what millions of music fans do is actually theft. The dirty deed? Ripping your own CDs or downloading songs you already own.
Gabriel asked if it was wrong for consumers to make copies of music which they have purchased, even just one copy. Pariser replied, "When an individual makes a copy of a song for himself, I suppose we can say he stole a song." Making "a copy" of a purchased song is just "a nice way of saying 'steals just one copy'," she said.
So, to recap, Sony BMG's head of litigation just said that ripping a CD to your hard drive is stealing. It's 2007. I'm wondering how long it will be before Sony's music division sues it's hardware division for contributory infringement...
Also, the record labels are losing tons of money on this deal. And if you're wondering "who is the RIAA" - it's basically a cartel of all the major record labels, who are afraid you would stop buying their records if you knew who they really were.