The RIAA argued that having mp3 files ‘available for distribution’ was equal to actual distribution, even if no distribution occurred. In layperson’s terms, this means that just because you might have mp3 files (in this case) in the folder accessed by a P2P program, you are not guilty of copyright infringement.
Fortunately, the U.S. District Court Judge disagreed with the RIAA’s attempt to end run copyright law.
Here’s why this is important – Libraries make copyrighted material available constantly. If someone copies a CD, DVD or a book from the library, should the library be held responsible?
The RIAA has bullied thousands of people into ‘settling’ these copyright lawsuits. The EFF (electronic frontier foundation) took up Ms. Thomas’ case (thankfully, because there’s no way she could’ve afforded the legal costs associated with it), and so far, of all the RIAA lawsuits that have actually made it to court – the RIAA has lost every single one of them.
Suing your customers is never a good idea.