A Scottsdale cab driver is set to fight what he calls the “conglomerate of conglomerates” in federal court this month in a recording industry lawsuit accusing him of copyright infringement.
With little savings, not much in assets and no attorney, Jeffery Howell, 46, has been fighting a civil lawsuit the Recording Industry Association of America leveled against him in 2006 alleging he made 11 songs available through his computer.
If Howell loses the lawsuit he could face a $40,000 fine, according to court documents.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation, a San Francisco-based civil liberties group defending peoples’ rights in the digital world, opposes such lawsuits against music fans.
“These lawsuits are a bad idea,” said Rebecca Jeschke, a foundation spokeswoman. “They clearly aren’t working, because artists aren’t getting paid and it’s singling out people who download and share music. It’s time for the record industry to look past the lawsuits and come up with a solution that would get artists paid and consumers what they want without digital-rights management on it.”