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UMaine law students keep on keeping on in RIAA case

Last month, two UMaine Law School students filed a motion to dismiss on behalf of two UMainers accused by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) of illegal downloading.

At the end of last week, Magistrate Judge Margaret Kravchuk issued a recommendation to deny that motion -- basically, saying that the RIAA case could go ahead, instead of being thrown out, as the law clinic students had argued it should be. They'd said the RIAA's claims were too vague; Kravchuk said they weren't. (She also accused the RIAA of "gamesmanship," disparaging their strategy of lumping complaints together by school.)

Cumberland Law Clinic student lawyers Lisa Chmelecki and Hannah Ames plan to file an objection to Kravchuk's recommendation. (Check out further discussion of the ruling here.)

How effective will that objection be? While she wanted to save specific comment for their objection, the students' faculty advisor, Deirdre Smith, offered this brief legal lesson in an email:

"I can tell you that the general process is that, when a party objects to a recommendation [as Smith's students plan to do] the Court gives what's called a "de novo" review to the recommendation, meaning that the matter is considered anew or afresh without giving particular deference to the prior  recommendation."

Portland lawyer Bob Mittel, who represents several other UMaine students in the case, said by email that he too plans to file an objection.

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