The District Court of New South Wales has dropped a series of copyright infringement charges against a local man accused of violating the copyright of a number of songs owned by the Universal Music Group (UMG). Kevin Harris, known only as XXxCRYSTAL_FiSHxXX in the Youtube metal community, was able to make UMG drop all charges when he swiftly wrote in each video’s description section “I DO NOT OWN THIS VIDEO. ALL CONTENT BELONGS TO THE COPYRIGHT OWNERS”.
“It’s a cunning move on his part,” commented Morris Blackman, a partner at Schwartz & Blackman, a copyright law firm that regularly deals with similar cases.
“By invoking the rarely used but highly effective ‘I DON’T OWN THIS’ defence, he’s effectively made himself immune to any kind of prosecution.”
Blackman revealed that at the heart of Harris’ legal defence lies a simple legal truth: if one commits a crime but acknowledges their guilt in the act of doing it, that crime becomes legally void.
“It’s the same reason why a crime like shoplifting, for example, is almost always illegal, however in the case where the individual committing the act yells ‘THIS MERCHANDISE IS NOT MINE. IT IS THE PROPERTY OF THE OWNERS OF THE MERCHANDISE’ a court can not actually charge them with any wrongdoing,” Blackman explains.
According to Blackman, this explains why in police brutality cases, police are often acquitted or not charged in the first place; by softly acknowledging their crimes in a muttered tone under their breath they can often escape legal action.
This also explains how few bankers were ever charged of any crimes in the wake of the 2007 financial crisis. Regulatory inspectors from the FBI looking for evidence of fraud found pages of notes repeating the words “WE ACKNOWLEDGE WE ARE GUILTY OF FRAUD” which were allegedly typed up by the bankers while they committed their the otherwise illegal acts which catalysed the crisis.