Fonovisa v. Alvarez

This is one of the thousands of cases filed by RIAA member companies against individuals for P2P file sharing. EFF filed an amicus brief on behalf of the defendant asking the court to reject the recording industry's claims that file sharing infringes the distribution right. (According to the recording industry simply "making available" a file on a P2P network infringes the distribution right.)

EFF's brief in this case argues that a copyright owner's distribution right only reaches material objects -- mere transmissions never infringe the distribution right.

The court subsequently issued a ruling that declined to resolve the question finding that it was premature at this stage of the proceedings:

"However at this point the Court will not conclude that the mere presence of copyrighted sound recordings in Defendant’s share file constitutes infringement. The Court has an incomplete understanding of the P2P technology at this stage; and the ultimate issue of liability is more appropriately considered on a motion for summary judgment when the parties will have an opportunity to fully explain the P2P technology and the means by which a file can be made available to distribute for public download on P2P systems."

EFF has filed briefs in several other cases on this same issue including Elektra v. Barker. For more on EFF's efforts on behalf of file-sharers check out this page.

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