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Interview Lawyers Who Defend Against RIAA Suits

Roblimo posted more than 8 years ago | from the when-you-want-an-expert-opinion-ask-an-expert dept.

289

Attorneys Ty Rogers and Ray Beckerman maintain a blog called Recording Industry vs The People, subtitled, "A blog devoted to the RIAA's lawsuits of intimidation brought against ordinary working people," which was most recently linked from Slashdot on Sept. 10. They've agreed to answer your questions about RIAA suits -- and they obviously will not preface their answers with "IANAL," although we must note that they cannot give specific legal advice about specific cases. For that you need to engage an attorney yourself. (Luckily, their site contains a directory of lawyers willing to defend against RIAA suits.) In any case, these guys obviously know more than the average bear (or lawyer) about how the RIAA goes about suing music fans, how to keep from getting sued by the RIAA, and how to fight back if you do get sued, so we're glad they're willing to help us learn more about this apparently endless legal mess. Usual Slashdot interview rules apply.

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Guilty? (4, Interesting)

PrinceAshitaka (562972) | more than 8 years ago | (#16082976)

If you are completely guilty and are sued, but do not have the money to pay, what are your options?

Re:Guilty? (0, Flamebait)

WaterDamage (719017) | more than 8 years ago | (#16083079)

hahahaha, not much other than change your password to "C:###" to remind you of where you'll spend the next few years.

Re:Guilty? (0, Flamebait)

Ekarderif (941116) | more than 8 years ago | (#16083230)

Bend over and I'll show you.

Re:Guilty? (1)

nitefallz (221624) | more than 8 years ago | (#16083508)

Drop out of college of course. Get a 2nd job, sell your car, home, kidney, kids.

Re:Guilty? (1)

kansas1051 (720008) | more than 8 years ago | (#16083604)

Chapter 7 bankruptcy. If you don't own a home, multiple cars, or have tons of money, you wont actually lose that much (except your credit rating).

Re:Guilty? (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 8 years ago | (#16083711)

(1) Show up to court. Lose. RIAA enters an income execution and gets your wages garnished.

(2) Skip court. Lose by default. RIAA enters an income execution and gets your wages garnished.

(3) Lose. File for bankruptcy. RIAA takes all your assets except your vehicle and housing. Seven years of credit hell costing you more than the $5k in the first place. You're better off taking out a HELOC if you can.

Re:Guilty? (1)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 8 years ago | (#16083726)

Settle? I think settlement is like between 3-5k in most cases. Enough for the RIAA to make an example out of you, but not enough so that you are completely backed into a corner and fight to the (financial)death.

Biggest Mistake? (5, Interesting)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 8 years ago | (#16082985)

What's the biggest mistake you've seen people make historically in cases where they're charged by the RIAA?

Re:Biggest Mistake? (2, Interesting)

tietokone-olmi (26595) | more than 8 years ago | (#16083465)

No, no, no. Think bigger. Three biggest mistakes. Or five. Or ten! It's the US for crying out loud, there's got to be a total assload of mistakes you can make besides the #1 largest!

And they shouldn't be general lawsuit mistakes either, like playing by the other side's rules or terminology.

Cost (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#16082987)

Out of curiosity, if I was sued by the RIAA (falsely or not), how much would it end up costing me to defend myself?

Re:Cost (2, Informative)

fishbowl (7759) | more than 8 years ago | (#16083053)

As with any civil case, the cost of a defense tends to be *far* higher if you are guilty, that is, if the plaintiff has evidence that suggests you are actually responsible for the damage being claimed.

When you hear about expensive lawsuit defenses, where people try to scare you out of the idea of even *trying* to defend yourself, you generally do not hear it from someone who is clearly in no way responsible for the damage being claimed. In fact, you usually hear it from someone who is actually guilty but still wants to avoid the consequences of being found guilty.

Good vs Bad? (4, Interesting)

PrinceAshitaka (562972) | more than 8 years ago | (#16082999)

Do you have a high percentage of your clients that are guilty or do you specialize in the exceptions, the clients that have good legal ground to defend themselves?

Re:Good vs Bad? (1, Funny)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 8 years ago | (#16083330)

I can't speak for them, but each and every client I have ever defended has been one hundred percent innocent.

--Matlock

Re:Good vs Bad? (1)

Divide By Zero (70303) | more than 8 years ago | (#16083421)

I don't think that a defense lawyer could legally and ethically say if his client was guilty. I think the distinction to be made here is "No, I never used eDonkey or BitTorrent" not guilty and "What's the Internet?" not guilty.

Lawyers from outer space? (5, Funny)

hawkeye_82 (845771) | more than 8 years ago | (#16083002)

You guys are lawyers AND like to help people? What's it like on your home planet ;) ?

Re:Lawyers from outer space? (4, Funny)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 8 years ago | (#16083766)

Well, when you look up into the skies, you see flocks of pigs flying.

Other than that, it's pretty much like this place.

Out of Court Settlement, Smart/Stupid? (5, Interesting)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 8 years ago | (#16083010)

A lot of people settle out of court [com.com] when they are sued and it turns out to be between $12,000 & $17,000. Now, this looks like chump change compared to the $150,000 per violation and 1,000 songs shared means $150,000,000 lawsuit. Is this smart or stupid? I mean, don't you, the lawyers that these people consult, tell them to fold and pay the little amount of money?

Follow up to that, do you believe the RIAA would actually win a $150,000,000 lawsuit if the out of court routes weren't taken? They seem to imply they wouldn't win if they offer these tiny settlements en masse.

Re:Out of Court Settlement, Smart/Stupid? (4, Insightful)

garcia (6573) | more than 8 years ago | (#16083132)

Now, this looks like chump change compared to the $150,000 per violation and 1,000 songs shared means $150,000,000 lawsuit. Is this smart or stupid? I mean, don't you, the lawyers that these people consult, tell them to fold and pay the little amount of money?

I'm more interesting in knowing how they can justify calculating that they have lost $150,000 per song "shared" and why they don't have to show any proof that this amount damage actually occured per song.

Re:Out of Court Settlement, Smart/Stupid? (4, Informative)

DzugZug (52149) | more than 8 years ago | (#16083227)

$150,000 is a statutory penalty and has no relation to the cost to the label. The same penalty occures for infringement without monetary gain.

Re:Out of Court Settlement, Smart/Stupid? (2, Insightful)

Mixel (723232) | more than 8 years ago | (#16083576)

I'm confused. How does one define a 'unit' of infringement? I mean, is it a single tarball of albums by the same author, or a single album, or a single song, or maybe a single minute of a song? Surely if I should ever copy a tarball album without permission, I have only infringed once.

Re:Out of Court Settlement, Smart/Stupid? (2, Interesting)

garcia (6573) | more than 8 years ago | (#16083633)

(2) In a case where the copyright owner sustains the burden of proving, and the court finds, that infringement was committed willfully, the court in its discretion may increase the award of statutory damages to a sum of not more than $150,000.

So basically the RIAA is *asking* the court for 150k to make the numbers look ridiculously high in order to get people to fold. Or in other words they are pointing the barrel of a tank cannon at you and hoping you will pee in your pants.

Awesome.

How can we prevent needing your services? (4, Interesting)

Software (179033) | more than 8 years ago | (#16083025)

What should we do to prevent needing your services? Another way of putting this is, how do we avoid getting sued by the RIAA?

Re:How can we prevent needing your services? (1)

BoRegardless (721219) | more than 8 years ago | (#16083071)

Uh, hmmm.

How about borrowing the CDs & DVDs?

Yeah, geesh, I guess it probably is NOW ILLEGAL TO LOAN a VCR tape, CD or DVD, and it can only get worse.

Re:How can we prevent needing your services? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#16083470)

How about only downloading p0rn? No one has be prosecuted for that. Not yet anyway.

Re:How can we prevent needing your services? (1)

toleraen (831634) | more than 8 years ago | (#16083548)

I'm not even a lawyer, and I can probably answer your questions!

1. If you're uploading pirated music/movies, stop.
2. If you're uploading pirated music/movies, and you don't want to risk getting caught, stop.

Re:How can we prevent needing your services? (1)

charlieman (972526) | more than 8 years ago | (#16083779)

If you're uploading pirated music/movies,

What if you are uploading legally purchased music/movies?

Suing You Remotely (4, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 8 years ago | (#16083029)

Ok, so the RIAA's modus operandi seems to be filing suit against someone living half way across the country. If someone in California is charged for file sharing in New York (like what happened here [p2pnet.net] , what can they do to stop this? Doesn't our justice system prevent this we-know-you're-not-going-to-come-all-the-way-over- here-so-just-settle-out-of-court strategy?

Evidence? (5, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 8 years ago | (#16083044)

I hear a lot that the RIAA has the weakest evidence ever in these cases. Such as screen shots of dynamic IP addresses [cdfreaks.com] taken from Kazaa. How the hell do judges across this country uphold these cases with such lack of concrete evidence? I mean, give me five minutes in photoshop and I'll make you a "screenshot" of Kazaa with www.whitehouse.gov's IP address listed over and over on it. Can't an expert witness cause this evidence to be thrown out quickly?

Re:Evidence? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#16083431)

I often wonder the same thing myself. There are so many variables (no pun intended) involved when you're trying to "prove" that an individual is guilty of downloading/seeding mp3s via the internet.

Re:Evidence? (4, Interesting)

halcyon1234 (834388) | more than 8 years ago | (#16083535)

The RIAA seems to be able to ask for some pretty outrageous things in their discovery requests, including seizing equipment, hard drives, etc. Can I do the same to them? Can I request the discovery of all evidence they will use in the case, including the seizing of all computers and servers used in their investigation, so I can have them expertly examined and prevent tampering?

Re:Evidence? (2, Insightful)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 8 years ago | (#16083541)

How the hell do judges across this country uphold these cases with such lack of concrete evidence?

Umm, the judges haven't upheld these cases. As far as I know, none of them have ever gone so far as to actually have a judge decide on one. Look at the "trial" section on the linked blog.

Re:Evidence? (2, Interesting)

slackmaster2000 (820067) | more than 8 years ago | (#16083822)

This would interest me as well. I had to take part in a legal action against an (ex)employee once in which I had to produce all sorts of logs as evidence. I work for a regulated company and am thus all too familiar with validation concepts relating to the control of electronic records. Since the logs I produced were just text with a virtually non-existant degree of authenticity, I figured that they would be considered weak evidence and that I would at the least have a lot of explaining to do in terms who has access to them, etc. But nope, the lawyers and the system were perfectly happy with these files that I could have completely falsified.

Perhaps that's the difference between a case involving a high priced defense attorney, and the average case with average defense.

Canada (1)

From A Far Away Land (930780) | more than 8 years ago | (#16083054)

Is it worth fighting a CRIA lawsuit for possessing downloaded music in Canada?

Re:Canada (1)

nuggz (69912) | more than 8 years ago | (#16083129)

I didn't know CRIA was filing lawsuits.
Since making personal copies of audio recordings is explicitly allowed in Canadian copyright law what grounds are they using to sue?

Re:Canada (1)

From A Far Away Land (930780) | more than 8 years ago | (#16083210)

Perhaps they are not at the moment? But routinely at universities something from Sony and presumably other labels have been since Napster days [and maybe no longer?] sending cease and desist orders to students on campuses, through the university administration.

I recall some case a couple years ago that was a setback for CRIA lawsuits in Canada, but that doesn't mean they won't try intimidating people here even if they will lose in court.

Re:Canada (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#16083674)

Since making personal copies of audio recordings is explicitly allowed in Canadian copyright law what grounds are they using to sue?
It is my understanding that one cannot share on his computer. You can download, just dont leave the door open to others.

Just like you can lend a CD to your friend, that can make a copy; but you cannot copy it and give the copy to your friend.

Re:Canada (1)

nuggz (69912) | more than 8 years ago | (#16083812)

You can't upload, but you can download.

I just go to the library or rip the CD.
What I'd love is a program that will rip and encode the CD (like Grip) but will wait for internet access to rename the files.
This way I could easily rip the CD without needing internet access at that time to name the files.

Re:Canada (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#16083345)

Early court rulings [cippic.ca] suggest CRIA lawsuits may be nothing to worry about in Canada. I'm more concerned about the RIAA suing visitors to the U.S. much like the american government arrests visiting foreigners for DMCA violations. As long as I don't own property in the U.S. can they force me to pay up?

The Counter Suit (5, Interesting)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 8 years ago | (#16083057)

Is there anyway to ask a judge to throw out cases when the RIAA's lawsuits become [theregister.co.uk] unbelievably [foxnews.com] ridiculous [arstechnica.com] ?

I mean, who is going to chase after these lawsuits and counter sue? What repurcussions can a counter suit have on the RIAA? And, if they do successfully counter sue, how much does that slow down the RIAA?

When will this end? Could there be an epic counter suit that would make the RIAA stop with law suits?

Systemic Problem? (5, Interesting)

ZachPruckowski (918562) | more than 8 years ago | (#16083060)

Do you see the current situation as a systemic problem in the current torts system? Specifically, do you think we need legislative intervention to correct the "money bias" in our legal system?

I mean, there doesn't seem to be much of a way to fight an RIAA lawsuit money-wise. It always seems to end quickly: Either the defendant ist so obviously innocent they drop the case or he/she settles for "pennies on the dollar". When do you think we'll see a few definite trials to answer the hanging legal questions about investigative tactics and what an IP proves?

Re:Systemic Problem? (1)

Arslan ibn Da'ud (636514) | more than 8 years ago | (#16083285)

Do you see the current situation as a systemic problem in the current torts system? Specifically, do you think we need legislative intervention to correct the "money bias" in our legal system?

Excellent question, but asking a pair of lawyers this question is like asking Goliath if we should stop discriminating against short people.

Let's see if these lawyers have the guts to reform the system that their career (and current fame) is founded on.

Your Colleagues Contact Information (5, Interesting)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 8 years ago | (#16083076)

You provide a great list of lawyers willing to defend us ... But would you happen to be able to post the names, phone numbers and home mailing addresses of your colleagues that work for the RIAA?

Don't be shy about telling us which one has won the most cases against low income citizens.

Other drive content and RIAA fishing expeditions (5, Insightful)

BenEnglishAtHome (449670) | more than 8 years ago | (#16083083)

When I heard that the RIAA wanted to physically take possession of the equipment belonging to people they sued for discovery purposes, I was less than happy with that prospect. I use a hardware-encrypted hard drive that requires a bootup password. Without my cooperation, no one will every see what's on my drive. Given that the revelation of other content on my drive would place me in far greater jeopardy than anything having to do with pirated music (Assume the worst if you wish; you wouldn't be correct), I would never cooperate with such discovery.

Is there any mecahnism by which the court can compel my cooperation and are there any penalties for steadfastly refusing to provide it?

Re:Other drive content and RIAA fishing expedition (1)

russ1337 (938915) | more than 8 years ago | (#16083181)

I use a hardware-encrypted hard drive that requires a bootup password.
do you have the option to create a 'second password', one which deletes your pr0n and mp3's or trashes your drive completely even if you were forced to give them the 'password'? Then sue them for destroying evidence proving your 'innocence'.

(I 'heard' that if you go through Canadian customs you can be required to give them access to the computer, and in the UK can be jailed for not giving the password.)

Re:Other drive content and RIAA fishing expedition (1)

el americano (799629) | more than 8 years ago | (#16083734)

That would be funny if someone compelled you on your premesis, with the threat of taking your machine if you didn't comply. Unfortunately, if your machine is taken, they will of course create a master raw image and put the drive into storage, working off copies of the master image after that. Your evidence will not be destroyed. You have to make sure they don't get it in the first place.

Re:Other drive content and RIAA fishing expedition (1)

cp.tar (871488) | more than 8 years ago | (#16083233)

Is there any mecahnism by which the court can compel my cooperation and are there any penalties for steadfastly refusing to provide it?

Especially since you, as I understand, at least in the USA have the right to remain silent.

Re:Other drive content and RIAA fishing expedition (1)

BenEnglishAtHome (449670) | more than 8 years ago | (#16083654)

Especially since you, as I understand, at least in the USA have the right to remain silent.

Not really. In criminal cases (IANAL, etc.), prosecutors can compel self-incriminating testimony by granting immunity. If you can't be charged for anything you say, nothing you say can be self-incriminatory. Thus, the right to remain silent (which exists solely to protect you from self-incrimination) disappears. At least, that's the way I understand it.

My question was aimed at civil proceedings. Can I say "No, I'm not going to cooperate. Depose me if you want, but I'm not going to utter my password" without finding myself sitting in a jail cell for contempt, or worse? I dunno; that's why I asked.

Re:Other drive content and RIAA fishing expedition (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 8 years ago | (#16083828)

Can I say "No, I'm not going to cooperate. Depose me if you want, but I'm not going to utter my password" without finding myself sitting in a jail cell for contempt, or worse?
No, you can't. At best, you'll find yourself with a summary judgment against you. At worst, you'll be held in contempt of court and have to deal with fines, possible jail time, etc.

Re:Other drive content and RIAA fishing expedition (1)

Gabrill (556503) | more than 8 years ago | (#16083756)

Your right to remain silent has nothing to do with examination of your physical possessions. For example if a man driving a Delorean with a cracked mirror and one tail light robbed a store, the fact that you own said Delorian could still be used as evidence.

Re:Other drive content and RIAA fishing expedition (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#16083717)

Say it along with Dave Chapelle: "I plead da fif!"

You cannot be required to incriminate yourself.

torn... (1)

User 956 (568564) | more than 8 years ago | (#16083101)

Interview Lawyers Who Defend Against RIAA Suits

I'm torn. This is about Lawyers, so I really want to make an "Interview with a Vampire" joke. And yet, they actually seem to be doing some good this time.

Here is a fair question (1)

elmerf9001 (921143) | more than 8 years ago | (#16083124)

How can look you at yourself in the mirror knowing that you represent the RIAA? The organization you defend should be held up on RICO charges. SO again I ask do you have any morals? FUcking scumbags!!!!

Re:Here is a fair question (1)

monoqlith (610041) | more than 8 years ago | (#16083358)

I'm not sure if you're kidding or not.

These lawyers defend people who are being sued by the RIAA. That would make them the opposite of whom you accuse them of being.

I hope you are kidding. If you aren't, please RTFA or at least RTF Headline.

Re:Here is a fair question (1)

elmerf9001 (921143) | more than 8 years ago | (#16083765)

Look at my karma. I'm a trooler baby!!!!! I do not work for GNAA though

How do they get away with it? (3, Interesting)

Bertie (87778) | more than 8 years ago | (#16083130)

There's a certain peer-to-peer music filesharing client which, erm, a friend of mine uses frequently and loves dearly. They claim on their website to be all about sharing music between independent artists who've agreed to release it royalty-free, but in practice the content's all copyrighted. It's just like what Napster was in the good old days, only better. It's an absolute Aladdin's cave. What's more, if you want to jump people's download queues and get the music you're after without waiting your turn, you can pay the organisation behind the network for privileged status and ransack people's record collections left, right and centre.

I'm sure you know the network I'm talking about. My question is, given that they came down on Napster like a ton of bricks, and chase people like Kazaa and the torrent sites relentlessly, how the hell does this lot get away with it?

Not that, erm, my friend's complaining, you understand...

Re:How do they get away with it? (1)

Travelsonic (870859) | more than 8 years ago | (#16083399)

Whether or not it is copyrighted is NOT enough to say it can't be shared, and whether or not you have permission to share the works. I say this as indie musicians copyright their works (to prevent real ripping off) and share the work freely.

Case Closed? (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 8 years ago | (#16083146)

Is there any way to get lawyers to see these kinds of abusive clients like the RIAA as threats to the lawyers, instead of just threats to defendants (when they win) or the RIAA (when they lose)? Or are we stuck with funded organizations like the RIAA "playing the numbers game" and suing anyone with any chance of being found guilty/liable, getting lawyers paid on both sides of the lawsuit?

Re:Case Closed? (1)

Verdict (625032) | more than 8 years ago | (#16083174)

After being sued by the RIAA, is it feasible to sell all of my wordly possessions and prepay for my own or a relatives college education and start eating at a soup kitchen?

Re:Case Closed? (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 8 years ago | (#16083366)

"After being sued by the RIAA, is it feasible to sell all of my wordly possessions and prepay for my own or a relatives college education and start eating at a soup kitchen?"

?

Your opinion on file-sharing and copyright (5, Interesting)

MobyDisk (75490) | more than 8 years ago | (#16083187)

Everyone is asking about how to defend against the suits. I want to know the other side of things:

What do you think that the RIAA should do to prevent piracy? Do you agree or disagree with the lawsuits as they are doing them now? Do you suggest a better way? How about your opinion on the current state of copyright law?

Wireless (5, Interesting)

Space (13455) | more than 8 years ago | (#16083191)

I have an open wireless network. If the RIAA tracks music sharing to my IP address am I liable for traffic which is possibly produced by my neighbors?

allofmp3 (5, Interesting)

giafly (926567) | more than 8 years ago | (#16083197)

What's the position of Americans who buy from legal offshore music sites, such as allofmp3 [allofmp3.com] ?. Is this safer than downloading "free"?

Re:allofmp3 (1)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 8 years ago | (#16083670)

If you consider giving your credit card information to potentially shady overseas organizations "safe" sure it's "safe." Is it any more legal than downloading free? Quite possibly not.

What...? (0, Offtopic)

jo42 (227475) | more than 8 years ago | (#16083203)

What do you call 500 lawyers with cement overshoes?

Re:What...? (0, Offtopic)

rivetgeek (977479) | more than 8 years ago | (#16083664)

A good start.

Re:What...? (1)

egamma (572162) | more than 8 years ago | (#16083801)

A good start

When is it illegal? (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#16083204)

At what point does it become illegal?
- Simply having the music on your computer?
- Downloading more music?
- Actually uploading and sharing the music?

I understand how uploading songs could be construed as a violation of copyright laws, but I fail to understand how downloading them for personal use puts the downloader in violation of those laws.

Re:When is it illegal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#16083846)

Too late, all three are already illegal.

The author or the user? (3, Insightful)

GlobalEcho (26240) | more than 8 years ago | (#16083229)

Some years ago, the RIAA's legal actions tended to be againt companies, such as Napster, that created the tools or ran servers used by millions of people to share files. Much of this sharing consisted of alleged copyright violations, so the argument was that such software was contributory to infringement despite any non-infringing uses it might have.

Many people here on Slashdot were repelled (so to speak) by the attack on software that did truly have non-infringing uses, and argued that the lawsuits should target the individuals responsible, rather than the technology they were using. I had a lot of sympathy for those arguments.

Now that the RIAA does sue individuals instead, do you believe they do so because it became too hard to sue companies, or because they bought into the idea of individual responsibility? In other words, did the category of lawsuits change because the companies and software are now structured so as to be too difficult to sue?

Re:The author or the user? (0, Troll)

freedom_india (780002) | more than 8 years ago | (#16083364)

These are the same guys who:
1. Swore high up and down that moving to CD's from vinyl and tape would make them reduce prices of CD's drastically. This was 10 years ago. Prices of CD's have grown higher not lower.
2. Swore that they would not sue XM Radio and Sirius for providing timeshifting facilities and personal recording. The latest news is they have sued them.
3. Swore mighty high in 1990s that they would NOT sue moms and under-age minors, and instead would sue only corporate piracy.
4. Wanted a higher share from iTunes prices while paying lesser to the real artists for digital downloads.
5. Misrepresent year after year that reduced sales of CDs are due to piracy while the real reason is increased digital sales.
6. Same people who tried to pay back a court ordered fine via crappy CD's.
7. Same people who installed rootkits on your computers and escaped with nothing but a slap on wrist when they should have been put behind bars for "Bubba" to enjoy.
8. Same people who continue to earn more from sales and continue to pay lesser each year to artists by way of clever contracts.
9. Same people who sue dead people and they families.

I could go oln, but i have a job to do rather than ranting about RIAA.

So next time, don;t get your high horse and support RIAA while trying to look neutral.

Historic precedent? (5, Interesting)

Weaselmancer (533834) | more than 8 years ago | (#16083241)

Are there any precedents in history of any industry doing anything like this before? I know there have been examples of cartels forming and the cartel using their combined power against other businesses, but is there anything in history like a cartel using its massive legal leverage against their own customer base?

Re:Historic precedent? (1)

techmuse (160085) | more than 8 years ago | (#16083810)

The oil industry

The cell phone industry

Virtually any monopoly

The mob (ok, that would be illegal leverage...)

If you could turn the tables (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#16083272)

Which RIAA executive's hard drive would you like to do an in-depth analysis of?

Are you hiring 3Ls? (1)

pgpckt (312866) | more than 8 years ago | (#16083289)

Are you hiring 3Ls?

If so, I would like a job.

Theft (4, Interesting)

trewornan (608722) | more than 8 years ago | (#16083300)

Could you finally settle that age old Slashdot bone of contention:

Is copyright infringement, theft (or not).

Where is the line? (5, Interesting)

paulevans (791844) | more than 8 years ago | (#16083317)

It seems to me that what the RIAA is doing is pure extortion using the courts. What line hasn't been crossed that has kept what they are doing legal?

Re:Where is the line? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#16083771)

They didn't go after Bush's "illegal" songs on his iPod.

Are RIAA's tactics racketeering? (4, Interesting)

techmuse (160085) | more than 8 years ago | (#16083326)

RIAA presumably has a right to defend its copyrights in court, but its tactics seem to be designed to force people to avoid a fight that, while they might win, might also drain them financially. Does this count as racketeering? If so, could RIAA be subject to a class action suit under the RICO laws? If not, how can ordinary citizens who may have done nothing wrong defend themselves without burning through all of their cash in the process?

Visitors use the family PC (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#16083334)

We have lots of kids/young adults visit our home, and often they borrow the computer. There's always adult supervision, but not necessarily internet-savvy supervision. If visitors were to download music illegally, am I in trouble?

Mashups as "parody"? (1)

hawkd_sf (947623) | more than 8 years ago | (#16083341)

Was curious re: some recent stories about (I think) EMI wanting to track down people who downloaded the recently noted Beatles/Beach Boys mashups. What would you think about the prospects of using the defense that these sorts of mashups (well, in some respects ANY mashups) are parody and thereby, protected speech?

What about (5, Interesting)

chefjoeardee (1001809) | more than 8 years ago | (#16083356)

I've always wondered this and I'm not sure entirely how it would work but if a household has a wireless connection setup and they maintain standard security (WEP, MAC filtering) and the such, which clearly shown to be vulnerable to attacks/intrusion, how can a court prove without doubt that it was in fact that person who was involved in piracy? Furthermore, would it be their fault? They implemented the security they could yet there are still ways around it. If it still holds up for the RIAA side, couldn't they just blindly point fingers at people (not that they already don't) and win?

How does legal advice regarding copyright work? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#16083361)

How do I find out if a song I'm thinking of singing is legal? If I write down the sheet music, or sing the forbidden notes, I've just broken the law if the work was copyright! How do I find out what it is that I can't legally say? :-(

More generally, how do I communicate to a lawyer what I'm thinking of expressing, without breaking the law by expressing under copyright?

So, how does legal advice regarding copyright work?

I like to trade Anime mp3's (2, Interesting)

Travoltus (110240) | more than 8 years ago | (#16083367)

which come from Japan.

I just want to clarify.. the RIAA can't sue me for that, can they?

Re:I like to trade Anime mp3's (1)

Psmylie (169236) | more than 8 years ago | (#16083690)

Depends on whether or not they have distribution rights on those titles in the US, I would think. If they do, then I think they can. If not, then they'll probably rat you out to whatever their Japanese equivalent is

Re:I like to trade Anime mp3's (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#16083817)

Recording Industry Association of America

You're probably safe, duder.

Which of the following are illegal ? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#16083466)

Which of the following are illegal and why? Which of the following are in a legal grey area?

1) Trading CDs via US Mail
2) Ripping CDs that I own to mp3, and playing them on my computer.
        2a) Backing up CDs to mp3 on my computer
3) Ripping CDs that I own to mp3, and then putting them on my mp3 player for my own personal use.
        3a)Loaning the mp3 player to my friend with the ripped music from question 3
4) Borrowing a CD from the library, ripping the CD to my computer and listening to the music on my mp3 player, and deleting the music when I return the CD to the library.
        4a) Never deleting the music from the computer/mp3 player
5) Emailing an mp3 from question 2 to one friend to listen to, and requesting that he delete it once he is finished.
        5a) emailing an mp3 to 10 friends and asking them to delete it once its been listened to?
        5b) ...not asking them to delete it.
6) Using a p2p service to trade mp3s from CDs they own with mp3s from CDs you own
7) Using allofmp3 to download music
8) Stripping copy protection from iTunes or PlaysForSure music files, to play them on your mp3 player.
9) How does the RIAA show that the music you have on your computer are not backup mp3 files from CDs that were destroyed or lost by you?
      9a) Can I use a p2p service to acquire a song I legally owned from a CD I owned, but was destroyed or lost?

RIAA's ulterior motive? (1)

teh_chrizzle (963897) | more than 8 years ago | (#16083534)

i have read a few places that the RIAA doesn't make enough on these lawsuits to cover the costs of filing the suits in the first place. do you think that this is simply a means of instilling fear into people? or possibly a means of causing the masses to equate file sharing with theft?

IP Addresses (5, Insightful)

MECC (8478) | more than 8 years ago | (#16083537)

I haven't looked at so-called screenshots that the RIAA produces in court, and haven't myself looked at a Kazaa screen (or limewire, etc) to see what kind of IP addresses are shown, but there are two possibilities: the public IP address or the Private IP address. More and more on the Internet, each public IP address has behind it some private IP addresses, that typically can't be connected reliably for a given time to a specific computer, let alone a specific hard drive.
Questions:
Does current 4th amendment legal precedent allow for the confiscation of anything capable of storing files from behind a public IP address?

In otherwords, if I'm running a 'Internet cafe', and someone in my place allegedly downloads a music file, and the public IP shows up on an RIAA screenshot, is it legal for a judge to order everything in my cafe to be confiscated and searched? Does 4th amendment legal precedent allow for such mass grab-everything-and-go searches?

Has anyone ever pointed out to a judge how easy it is to fake a screenshot? Are there any rules of discovery regarding such flimsy evidence? I mean, suppose I want to accuse the RIAA of threatening me with murder in a court, and produce a piece of paper with a death threat that has the RIAA's corporate headquarters letterhead on it, all on a very good looking piece of laser printed output. Wouldn't most courts throw out something so easily faked? What if I just handwrote in crayon "I'm the RIAA and I'm coming to kill you" on a piece of paper, and them sued them using that as evidence? How far would that get in a court of law?

Are there such things as 'vexatious litigant' laws is some states? If so, how does someone get declared to be a 'vexatious litigant', and what are the consequences?

Can the RIAA and ASCAP/BMI tie up podcasting? (2, Interesting)

crovira (10242) | more than 8 years ago | (#16083560)

I am a podcaster ( MSBPodcast.com ) and one of my big concerns is that the RIAA will make all my music disappear or tie me up in legalities.

Could ASCAP/BMI (and other worse regimes, like the European models,) force me to pay a licence fee for my very small audience (only 0.0833% of the population has MS.)

Most Outrageous? (1)

maddogdelta (558240) | more than 8 years ago | (#16083612)

What is the most outrageous lawsuit (that you have been involved with) brought by RIAA?

Under what circumstances is copying legal (5, Interesting)

greyfeld (521548) | more than 8 years ago | (#16083613)

While I belive that downloading songs via P2P networks and burning copies of CD recordings with a computer CD-ROM drive is illegal under current law, I was wondering under what circumstances, if any, copying of recorded music on CDs is allowed for personal use. I have been under the impression for some time that the Audio Home Recording Act of 1992 allows me to make all of the private use digital copies I would like provided I am using something like a set-top CD Recorder and the taxed blank CD's produced for music copying. How does borrowing a CD from the public library and making a copy using one of these types of devices fall under the long arm of the RIAA and existing law? Thanks for taking the time to address this.

Here are what I believe to be the relevent sections from the Audio Home Recording Act of 1992:

Section 1001 defines a "digital audio recording device" as: "Any machine or device of a type commonly distributed to individuals for use by individuals, whether or not included with or as part of some other machine or device, the digital recording function of which is designed or marketed for the primary purpose of, and that is capable of, making a digital audio copied recording for private use ...".

Section 1001 defines a "digital audio recording medium" as "any material object in a form commonly distributed for use by individuals, that is primarily marketed or most commonly used by consumers for the purpose of making digital audio copied recordings by use of a digital audio recording device.

Such term (digital audio recording medium - my addition) does not include any material object--

(i) that embodies a sound recording at the time it is first distributed by the importer or manufacturer; or

(ii) that is primarily marketed and most commonly used by consumers either for the purpose of making copies of motion pictures or other audiovisual works or for the purpose of making copies of nonmusical literary works, including computer programs or data bases."

Section 1008 says "No action may be brought under this title alleging infringement of copyright based on the manufacture, importation, or distribution of a digital audio recording device, a digital audio recording medium, an analog recording device, or an analog recording medium, or based on the non-commercial use by a consumer of such a device or medium for making digital musical recordings or analog music recordings."

Based on my reading of this act, I cannot be sued or arrested under a certain set of circumstances. I.e., using a set-top CD recorder and taxed Music CD blanks. Are there other laws that circumvent this and make it illegal?

Extent Of US Law (1)

FrankDrebin (238464) | more than 8 years ago | (#16083618)

Slashdot has an international audience of technology-savvy readers. Many of us have laughed at the hilarious responses [thepiratebay.org] to international threats made by some who seem to believe US law applies worldwide. More seriously, what, if anything can the RIAA do to folks outside the US?

You know... (1)

Overfiend1976 (979710) | more than 8 years ago | (#16083621)

At least some lawyers are willing to fight the 'terror machine' known as the RIAA. And in regards to the cost, you DO have the option of asking around to the various lawyers who are on this list if you are nailed with a lawsuit and finding out if any of them are willing to take the case pro bono. As far as the RIAA terrible 'proof' they seem to have it in their heads that since they have all the money, they are above and beyond the 'innocent until proven guilty' motto. What we need is some legal precedence to establish real and true evidence not easily doctored screen shots. Offering as proof any evidence that even someone with extremely limited photoshop skills could alter is not only foolish, it's dangerous. Dangerous because if estabished as proof, the RIAA can target ANYONE they so choose.

Gray Area Questions (5, Interesting)

Four_One_Nine (997288) | more than 8 years ago | (#16083772)

Over the years I have attempted to educate some of the 'younger' generation about the do-s and don't-s of music copying and sharing. The following questions have come up out of real experiences and I have never had anyone provide a reasonable (justifiable) answer.

1. If I purchase a CD and it is subsequently stolen (along with my 5 disc changer *@$#!!) do I retain any rights to listen to that music?

. a. Are the .mp3 files of that CD on my computer legal or do they now belong to the thief too?

. b. Can I re-burn a CD from the .mp3s and is that legal?

. c. Does me having a backup copy of the files on my computer mean I can't make an insurance claim?

. d. What if it is destroyed (for example by a fire) rather than stolen?

2. If I purchase a CD and it is subsequently scratched or broken to the point where it is not playable, can I legally download the songs from that CD from a file-sharing network?

3. If I purchase the DVD for a movie, could I legally download songs from the soundtrack for that movie from a file-sharing network?

4. If I purchase a CD that our entire family listens to, and then my daughter leaves for College, can she legally take a copy of an .mp3 ripped from that CD with her on her computer? or - similarly - could she take the disc and could I keep the .mp3 on my computer?

RIAA's Legal Standing (3, Interesting)

brainee28 (772585) | more than 8 years ago | (#16083819)

I'm a bit confused as to the RIAA's standing within the court.

If copyright infringement is the basis for the suit, then would not the copyright holder have to bring on the action against the suspected infringing party? The RIAA does not represent all studios and artists, yet they are bringing actions against an individual without their group directly being infringed upon. I understand that they are representing the interests of the studios and or copyright holders, but doesn't the actual copyright holder have to bring their case forth?

From what I've read of the RIAA, they seem to be instigating actions against individuals, but there's not been mentioned any direct copyright holders bringing actions against individuals. Could you clarify this please?

Level of care (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#16083821)

Let's say you have acquired some digital audio files through some legal means and have these stored on your computer. What is the level of care required of you to protect these files from redistribution? Can you put them on a drive that is shared without requiring a password, what if it has a weak password? What if your computer gets compromised without your knowledge and the files become publicly available? How much is required of you?

lawyering (1)

mchale (104743) | more than 8 years ago | (#16083878)

How can we, as average citizens, help combat or forestall the kinds of legal tactics the RIAA uses?

In particular, do you have any advice for people considering going into law who oppose the RIAA?

Multiple Ownership of A Physical Copy (2, Interesting)

kthejoker (931838) | more than 8 years ago | (#16083890)

What are the exact legal laws for ownership of a particular piece of content, such as a book, CD, or DVD?

If I buy a CD, can my wife make a copy? If my son-in-law buys a CD, can I make a copy?
If two people each contribute $5 to buy a $10 DVD, can they make a copy?
If 100 people each contribue a dime to buy a $10 DVD, can they all gather together and watch it?
Can a corporation own a DVD? Can they make the DVD or DVD content viewable on a secure intranet for all employees of the corporation? Can they make it downloadable?

Are there any specific cases or laws relating to this? How many people can own a CD? Is it limited to one person? One household? Also if you could address any possible permutations or exceptions I may have missed, that would be great.

Countersuits (3, Interesting)

zentinal (602572) | more than 8 years ago | (#16083894)

In your opinion is there a percentage of countersuits (compared to the number of suits filed by the RIAA), particularly percentage of countersuits won, that would dissuade the RIAA from filing suits of this kind?

On a related note, is there such a thing as a class action countersuit? Can those sued by the RIAA gather together and countersue the RIAA?

What do you get out of this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#16083936)

What exactly do you, as a lawyer, get out of this if you're successful and the RIAA stops going after everyone?
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