A respected professor of law at Harvard university has claimed that the core laws being relied on to pursue filesharers are in breach of the US constitution. http://government.zdnet.com/?p=4152
In a major development in RIAA litigation, Prof. Charles Neeson of Harvard Law School is charging that the RIAA’s tactics are an abuse of federal process and that the law on which the litgation rests — the Digital Theft Deterrence and Copyright Damages Improvement Act of 1999 — is unconstitutional.
If the law is in fact criminal in nature:
"Defendants are entitled to the due process accorded criminal defendants, including criminal procedure and right to a jury trial.
* Congress has violated the Constitution by putting the prosecution of a criminal statute in the hands of private parties.
* Congress has violated separation of powers by requiring the courts to try cases according to inappropriate civil processes.
* Congress has violated the 5th and 8th Amendments by requiring “grossly excessive statutory damage awards.”
The law, Neeson writes, is “wholly analagous” to a law that provides the following regime for speeders: (1) a $750 fine for every mile over the speed limit, escalating to $150,000 per mile if the speeder knew he was speeding; (2) the fines are not publicized and few drivers know they exist; (3) enforcement not by the government but by a private police force that keeps the fines for itself and that has no political accountability, that can pursue any defendant it chooses at its own whim, that can accept or reject payoffs in exchange for not prosecuting the tickets, and that pockets for itself all payoffs and fines. Imagine that a significant percentage of these fines were never contested, regardless of whether they had merit, because the individuals being fined have limited financial resources and little idea of whether they can prevail in front of an objective judicial body.
This is the thought in many peoples minds when confronted by one of these terrorising letters from RIAA affiliated extortion lawyers, "can I afford to fight for what is right and refute these false claims ?". In many cases the answer is no, and this is what the RIAA propaganda machine relies on when it attacks the weakest and the poorest members of society, such people are easy to weed out from those with wealth by doing a credit check on folks or their addresses before sending out a demand, something they haven't yet denied publicly.
Whilst this professors brief is helping in this case to achieve changes politicians need to be contacted and asked to account for their reason for not defending folks rights, only when this sort of activity is undertaken can the apathetic politician be weeded out from the corrupt.