This is the first of what will supposedly be the first of 20,000 people they are going after for violating copyrights via KaZaA, but we’ll see how this goes. If they lose this one, I have a feeling 19,999 others are going to be smiling ear-to-ear as they get ammo to fight their own cases with the RIAA with also.
However, if they do win… things could get very ugly, very fast as the RIAA gains the momentum to take on more and more “pirates”.
I think the problem they are going to face is the jury. The RIAA not only has to prove their case, they have to explain intellectual property and copyright law, and also make 12 common people understand how one can exactly “steal” something that is not a tangible asset.
If the defense attorney is a smart one, they will also point out the disparity in the fact that the recording industry not only did not discourage home taping back in the day (yes, they made a feeble attempt), but they in fact kept making it easier. Blank cassettes kept getting cheaper, and then don’t even get started on blank CDs. Now that there is a way to track some inept “pirates”, now they enforce their archaic concept’s of ownership and “fair use”.
This is going to be a fascinating case to watch, and the precedent it could set, in either direction, is a dangerous one.