Remember the Whitney Harper file-sharing case ? Last time we reported about it, the U.S. Supreme Court was pondering on ‘Innocent Infringer’ defense.
Now the verdict: The same court has refused to hear an appeal in this case that was supposed to probe the “innocent infringer” defense in a copyright related issue.
Whitney Harper was accused of copyright infringement because he shared 37 songs online without permission. The recent decision by the US Supreme Court revalidates the $27,750 fine he was ordered previously. Another ruling by a federal judge in Texas had reduced Harper’s fine to $200 (£128) per song instead of the standard minimum of $750 (£481) per song (a provision under the Copyright Act in the US) arguing that Harper is entitled to “innocent infringer” exemption since she was 16 when the illegal file-sharing occurred and not aware of the law she was violating.
Now that ruling was overturned because there’s a money-machine that must be fed and one cannot allow exceptions that would weaken that mechanism.
CNN points out: “It was the first music-downloading copyright appeal to go to trial and subsequently reach the high court, after the industry sought to stifle what they say is rampant illegal file-sharing, costing companies and artists billions of dollars […] The justices’ refusal Monday to intervene is a legal setback for Harper, and leaves thousands of music downloaders like her liable for thousands of dollars each in damages.”
No basis was ever given for the amount of the original fine and now it seems no basis has been given for upholding that fine. American, so called, justice works in some very strange ways.