Harvard v. The RIAA: The Showdown Continues

The RIAA appears to be strategically avoiding lawsuits against Harvard University students, despite repeated denials by the trade group.

But after years of mailing thousands of infringement letters to students across US-based universities, including the Ivys, tough-talking Harvard was somehow left off the list.

Harvard Law School professor Charles Nesson, a staunch critic of RIAA-led lawsuits and crackdown tactics, has loomed large.  But instead of waiting for a lawsuit to come to his doorstep, Nesson is now jumping to the assistance of Boston College graduate Joel Tenenbaum (Sony BMG Music v. Tenenbaum).

Nesson and a group of Harvard Law School students are defending the Tenenbaums against alleged abuse of the federal court system.  “The plaintiffs and the RIAA are seeking to punish [Tenenbaum] beyond any rational measure of the damage he allegedly caused,” the Harvard team asserted.

At a Monday hearing in Rhode Island, Nesson and associates protested a motion to enter a Tenenbaum computer into evidence.  The Tenenbaums claim that the computer was acquired after the alleged offense.  “The basic rules of evidence suggest that this invasion of privacy is both unnecessary and absurd,” said Matt Sanchez, a Nesson student working on the case.  “This hearing isn’t only about Joel’s parents.  It’s also about finally putting up a fight against the recording industry’s intimidation practices.”  Joel faces damages surpassing $1 million for sharing seven songs on Kazaa.