Court to RIAA: Making songs available isn't enough for a lawsuit

A federal judge in New york has ruled that the RIAA cannot sue people for simply making copyrighted music available for download. Rather, the recording industry needs to demonstrate that someone has actually downloaded the file. Otherwise, it's not clear that a crime actually took place.

It's much trickier to demonstrate that someone actually downloaded the files you made available. And when we say you, we mean the figurative you. We're quite confident that no Download Squad readers are actually violating the law. This particular case isn't over yet, since the RIAA feels it can demonstrate that the defendent actually distributed copyrighted files, and didn't just make them available.

The judge in the case also found that while making files available might not be enough to justify a lawsuit, an "offer to distribute" copyrighted works is. What's the difference? If you don't password protect your WiFi router, your neighbors might be able to download files from your computer, which you've "made available." But if you designate a folder on your PC that has files you're willing to share with other Limewire users, that might be construed as an "offer to distribute."