Supreme Court Justices Refuse to Intervene in Illegal Music Downloads Appeal

On 30.11.10, In Legal Industry, by Blake Houser

11/30/2010

The chance to review the appeal of a young Texas woman concerning illegal music downloads has been passed up by the U.S. Supreme Court. It was the first time that a music-downloading copyright appeal reached the high court.

The case stemmed from Whitney Harper’s act of downloading music files on her computer back when she was still in high school. The recording industry has been monitoring users like Harper as part of their ongoing campaign against illegal music downloads.

Her IP address was randomly selected and tracked. Their monitoring results revealed that Harper was using a peer-to-peer network program to share 544 digital music files. This led the music industry to sue Harper, as well as her family, for 37 copyrighted songs she downloaded using a file-sharing program called Kazaa. She was then between 14 to 16 years old.

Harper is now 22 and a college student in Texas. During her trial at the lower court, she admitted having downloaded the files. However, she also stated that she was too young to understand the legal ramifications of her act.

In his brief, Kiwi Camara, the lawyer representing Harper, told the high court that his client “did not understand the nature of file-sharing networks.” Camara’s brief also stated that Harper “…believed that listening to music using a file-sharing network was akin to listening to a non-infringing Internet radio station.”

The refusal of the Justices Monday to review the appeal is considered a legal setback for Whitney Harper, the young woman charged with illegal music downloads. This leaves thousands of other music downloader’s like Harper liable for thousands of dollars in damages.

Blake Houser

Client Relations Manager at The Wells & Drew Companies
About the author:
Blake Houser is Client Relations Manager at Wells & Drew. In addition, he is the third generation in this family-owned speciality printing business.