MINNEAPOLIS - A Brainerd woman will have to pay record companies $222,000 for sharing songs online, according to court records.
Six years ago Jamie Thomas-Rasset of Brainerd left the courtroom for the first time. She's been in and out of the courtroom since as a result of copyright infringement related to downloading and sharing music.
She's not the first one, nor the only one.
"The question is whether or not it's fair use and all of these cases all along. Napster, Aimster (and others) all made the argument that it was fair use and the courts have said progressively it's not fair use," said William Mitchell College of Law professor Ken Port.
He added, despite the courts results, it hasn't stopped other websites from popping up, designed slightly differently than their predecessors and allegedly within the fair use doctrine.
While Napster, Kazaa and other types of file sharing websites were synonymous with college students years ago, today it's Torrents, The Pirate Bay and MP3 downloads from YouTube.
So are they legal?
"For anyone to say to prognosticate absolutely this is what a court will find, you just can't do that and I just can't do it," said Port.
Because the new websites are so eerily similar to the old, which have been found to violate fair use, Port said something should be done sooner rather than later so copyright law is clearer to everybody.
"Society needs some help to understand what in the world copyright means," said Port. "The Supreme Court has got to deal with this and Congress has got to deal with this."
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