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Friday, December 09, 2005

Ind. Decisions - 7th Circuit issues several opinions today

Two bankruptcy rulings today from the 7th Circuit. In Sidebottom v. Broyles (SD Ind., CJ McKinney), Judge Wood writes:

This case involves a tangle of bankruptcy issues under the Code as it existed prior to the effective date of the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005. * * *

We AFFIRM the judgment of the district court, which in turn affirmed the judgment of the bankruptcy court, dismissing Sidebottom’s Chapter 13 petition.

The other, an opinion by Judge Easterbrook, begins:
Resource Technology Corporation turns garbage into money by collecting methane from landfills, reducing the emission of a greenhouse gas in the process. It either sells the methane or burns the gas to make electricity. Installing methane-collection systems is tricky, however, and Resource Technology landed in bankruptcy because its outlays exceed its revenues from harvested methane. This appeal concerns one of its moneylosing ventures.
Another opinion by Judge Easterbrook today deals with "no strike" provisions Illinois required: "Illinois subsidizes the construction or renovation of renewable-fuel plants -— principally facilities that make ethanol."

Also of interest is BMG Music v. Gonzalez, Cecilia, where Judge Easterbrook writes:

In this appeal Cecilia Gonzalez, who downloaded copyrighted music through the KaZaA filesharing network, denies the premise of Grokster and Aimster. She contends that her activities were fair use rather than infringement. The district court disagreed and granted summary judgment for the copyright proprietors (to which we refer collectively as BMG Music). 2005 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 910 (N.D. Ill. Jan. 7, 2005). The court enjoined Gonzalez from further infringement and awarded $22,500 in damages under 17 U.S.C. §504(c).

A “fair use” of copyrighted material is not infringement. Gonzalez insists that she was engaged in fair use under the terms of 17 U.S.C. §107—or at least that a material dispute entitles her to a trial. It is undisputed, however, that she downloaded more than 1,370 copyrighted songs during a few weeks and kept them on her computer until she was caught. Her position is that she was just sampling music to determine what she liked enough to buy at retail.

Instead of erasing songs that she decided not to buy, she retained them. It is these 30 songs about which there is no dispute concerning ownership that formed the basis of the damages award. * * *

As for the injunction: Gonzalez contends that this should be vacated because she has learned her lesson, has dropped her broadband access to the Internet, and is unlikely to download copyrighted material again. A private party’s discontinuation of unlawful conduct does not make the dispute moot, however. An injunction remains appropriate to ensure that the misconduct does not recur as soon as the case ends. See United States v. W.T. Grant Co., 345 U.S. 629 (1953). The district court did not abuse its discretion in awarding prospective relief.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on December 9, 2005 01:04 PM
Posted to Ind. (7th Cir.) Decisions