Judge David G. Trager struck a blow against the RIAA in court recently. As is well known, the RIAA has been pressing on it's suits against alleged "pirates" (which have included everyone from 12 year olds to dead grandmothers) in recent years. Trager has laid down the law in the case of UMG v. Lindor, stating:
plaintiffs will have the burden of proving by a preponderance of the evidence that defendant did indeed infringe plaintiff's copyrights by convincing the fact-finder, based on the evidence plaintiffs have gathered, that defendant actually shared sound files belonging to plaintiffs.
In plain english, this means that the burden of proof is resting soundly on the shoulders of the plaintiffs (in this case, the RIAA) to prove wrongdoing on the part of the defendant. However all is not sunshine and roses since another judge, in a completely different case (Electra v. Perez), ruled that simply putting files out there on the internet equated distribution, regardless of whether or not said files were actually downloaded.
It's important to note that while there has been a lot of ruling and posturing on the parts of everyone involved (RIAA, alleged "pirates," and the courts) none of these cases have gone to trial yet. In every case either the defendant has settled out of court or the RIAA has been persuaded to drop the case. So it goes, so it goes.
Of course, we all know that the RIAA has reason to be scared as illegal music trading ranks #21 on the list of global illicit markets, tied with illegal fishing. Due to this epidemic, the association recently discussed lowering artists' royalties and teamed with it's sister-organization the MPAA to remind shoppers this season that "piracy is bad." Johnny Depp could not be reached for comment on this last statement as of press time.