logo

Against Monopoly

defending the right to innovate

Monopoly corrupts. Absolute monopoly corrupts absolutely.





Copyright Notice: We don't think much of copyright, so you can do what you want with the content on this blog. Of course we are hungry for publicity, so we would be pleased if you avoided plagiarism and gave us credit for what we have written. We encourage you not to impose copyright restrictions on your "derivative" works, but we won't try to stop you. For the legally or statist minded, you can consider yourself subject to a Creative Commons Attribution License.


back

Does The Most Respected Federal Appelate Judge Share Copyrighted Music Files? If So, Will The RIAA Go After Him?

I think Alex Kozinski is one of the best judges this nation has.

He is getting a lot of attention for storing humorous porn on his computer while presiding over an obscenity trial - but it turns out he may have had a nice stash of ripped MP3's on his site as well.

As the L.A. Times notes:

The judge emphasized that he never used appeals court computers to maintain his site.

The presence of copyrighted music files on Kozinski's site raises other issues.

More than a dozen MP3 tracks were listed, and they were neither excerpts nor used to illustrate legal opinions, which experts said might have qualified their copying as "fair use." The artists included Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan and Weird Al Yankovic.

Uploading such files could violate civil copyright laws if friends or members of the public visited the site and downloaded the songs, according to attorneys who have litigated file-sharing cases for both copyright holders and accused infringers.

Even if no one downloaded the songs, just making them available might run afoul of the law, said Corynne McSherry, staff attorney at the nonprofit Electronic Frontier Foundation, which often argues the other side of such issues.

Late last year, three of Kozinski's Circuit Court colleagues noted in a ruling that "the owner of a collection of works who makes them available to the public may be deemed to have distributed copies of the works," a violation of copyright law if done without permission.

"For him to actually be held liable would take some further investigation, but I think it's possible," McSherry said. "It's a strange story. It's surprising to me."

Kozinski was not asked in the Tuesday interview about the music files, and he could not be reached for comment Wednesday afternoon.

An attorney who has had a long running dispute with Kozinski maintains over at Patterico.com that Kozinski didn't just have MP3 files, but was actively sharing them through file sharing software. [Disclosure: I am also a guest blogger at Patterico.com]

Warning: The allegation of music file sharing at this post at Patterico.com also contains some adult humor related to the porn allegations.

I have mixed feelings on a number of levels:

1. If it turns out to be true that Kozinski knowingly shared music through peer-2-peer networks, that will make him even more endearing to me. More power to ya Judge!

2. As I have indicated before, Kozinski has always had a much more balanced view of intellectual property law compared to many others in legal circles. He has warned about how IP and 'publicity rights' can encroach on free speech when they are interpreted too broadly. He also has a healthy respect for fair use (unlike some of his contemporaries on the bench). Perhaps this episode will inspire him to start aggressively challenging conventional IP jurisprudence and enforcing fair use rights even more? [A long shot admittedly - but dare to dream....]

[Update: As Patterico notes here, Kozinski doesn't always come down on the side I would like him to as a matter of public policy. But I maintain that he is still better than most in this field.]

3. Despite my adoration here, part of me would like to see him aggressively prosecuted - and then have the Feds and the RIAA conduct a wide witch hunt against every judge and government official that might have 'unauthorized' MP3 files stored on their computer. Once the Washington establishment is finally confronted with their hypocrisy and are shown just how widespread this phenomenon is, it might force their hand to actually change the law in a positive direction. It has been said that if every Congressman were vigorously prosecuted for solicitation each time they engaged in it, prostitution would be legalized overnight. The same principle applies to file sharing.

Perhaps these last few speculations are just wistful daydreams on my part. I'd hate to see Kozinski be the one martyred for the cause in any event. But this whole episode still only gets me more upset with the copyright/RIAA status quo - not with America's greatest appellate judge.


Comments

So does this mean that the fastest and cheapest method for copyright reform would be to buy the content company one can buy the cheapest, figure out which congressmen are infringing and then start suing them all for loads of money?
Kozinski, who has recused himself from this trial, is ably defended by Larry Lessig on his blog link here which indicates that much of comment on the judge is badly mistaken or malicious.
You say Mr Alex Kozinski is ably defended by Professor Lessing(from Stanford). Before who, the world, the UN, the World court ? A blogger loosely floating around, & flinging out stuff from the seat of his pants, is not exactly making any of record appearance. Lessing has accused Mr Sanai of some massive dicey stuff, and he(Professor L) would be precluded from being an expert witness due to any antics on the Blog--o-sphere. It is a parodox, on the one hand you elevate Kozinski to some mythical figure of the highest on the high in the U S Appeal court system, then, you go into he should be nailed for violating the law. So, is the law blind, if the most high on high and powerful, are violating the law(as you suggest) is that pass city, and look the other way.(by those charged with apply the law even handed, equally--the enforcers) Doesn't that do grave damage to the U S justice System, it is almost a statement if you are powerful, and a big shot, then you get an exemption like the Law does not apply, some ABOVE the Law standard. Isn't that a damaging statement on the USA legal system, are you sure you want to keep that as your overview on the matter, or adjust it, in view of its implications.

Oh come on, you think it's only people in high places that ignore copyright? They are simply more visible than the rest of us, if anything, they follow the law better.

Among those who can keep a low profile (ie get away with it), virtually no one takes copyright seriously. It's not like there is any feeling of immorality associated with copying.

Yes, but if one breaks the law, and that person is a federal appeal court judge, and he is being reviewed by other federal judges, then of course, the law does not apply, it is the law of the powerful live by different rules.(standard). Or---is it ? The Judge is the one who ratted himself out, sent the matter to be reviewed by other judges. In a digital world, what is copy-righted, and what is fair use, and what is just digital void material, where no recoppy restriction applies. The digital world is reorienting society. However, why didn't the judge just do his job, and not throw his chambers into some circus mode, as if he was seeking out all the undue attention, like he can thumb his nose at the powers that be, & be Mr smutty, while he judges others. Is he fit to judge others, in view of his antics ? Well, I don't have to decide that, that is why the 3rd Circuit Judicial Council is paid all those big bucks.(above our paid grade--and power on) SAD, Mr Cow smutty was on the tax payer doles, while whipping around the cyber wiring in the Court House networks, linked to his other pursuits, which is unclear at this point, full extent on the all of it, all to be reviewed in secret in the 3rd Circuit. As to the subject person following the law better, that is undecided, so it remains to be seen if that is so.

Submit Comment

Blog Post

Name:

Email (optional):

Your Humanity:

Prove you are human by retyping the anti-spam code.
For example if the code is unodosthreefour,
type 1234 in the textbox below.

Anti-spam Code
SixSixThreeSix:


Post



   

Most Recent Comments

IIPA thinks open source equals piracy You might find this very interesting but http://www.perfectessaysonline.com does custom essays,

Your Compulsory Assignment for Tonight There are some uncomplicated guides which describe the assignment accomplishing process step by

Killing people with patents AIDS is a dangerous decease. I have watched the trailer and it is heart touching. I wish no one to

Terence Kealey: This post is very helpful for my writing because I am doing the research paper work so I search

Dr. Who?

The Other Dr. No: HIV Researcher Fighting the IP Pirates Hi, First off, I came across your site and wanted to say thanks for providing a great HIV/AIDS

IIPA thinks open source equals piracy Buy college papers at http://buy-essays-now.com and make sure that they are the best

Let's See: Pallas, Pan, Patents, Persephone, Perses, Poseidon, Prometheus... Replying to Stephan: As I noted elsewhere, I'm fine with abolishing the system, just don't think

The right to rub smooth using a hardened steel tool with ridges Finally got around to looking at the comments, sorry for delay... Replying to Stephan: I'm sorry

Let's See: Pallas, Pan, Patents, Persephone, Perses, Poseidon, Prometheus... This is very useful post for the people. I want to write this types article but I do not know about

Let's See: Pallas, Pan, Patents, Persephone, Perses, Poseidon, Prometheus... Seems like a kinda bizarre proposal to me. We just need to abolish the patent system, not replace

The right to rub smooth using a hardened steel tool with ridges I'm a bit confused by this--even if "hired to invent" went away, that would just change the default

What's copywritable? Go fish in court. This post is providing very useful and informative information for the students. I like this post

Update and critique of the proposed GOOGLE settlement Hi!) Informative article about Google INC. I agree with you, that Google is a huge company, that

IIPA thinks open source equals piracy Do you suffer from loads of academic assignments? http://marvelous-essay.net will help you to

The right to rub smooth using a hardened steel tool with ridges Thanks for the information! It's good to know that there are some places showing the consequences

Do we need a law? @ Alexander Baker: So basically, if I copy parts of 'Titus Andronicus' to a webpage without

Do we need a law? The issue is whether the crime is punished not who punishes it. If somebody robs our house we do

Do we need a law? 1. Plagiarism most certainly is illegal, it is called "copyright infringement". One very famous

IIPA thinks open source equals piracy Good post. Thanks for this information. By the way, if students want to get rid of their