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RIAA Sues Homeless Man

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the just-leave-the-summons-on-the-heating-grate dept.

The Courts 245

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "In a Manhattan case, Warner v. Berry, the RIAA sued a man who lives in a homeless shelter, leaving a copy of the summons and complaint not at the homeless shelter, but at an apartment the man had occupied in better times, and had long since vacated. The RIAA's lawyers were threatened with sanctions by the Magistrate Judge in the case, for making misleading representations to the Court which the Magistrate felt were intentional. The District Judge, however, disagreed with imposing sanctions, giving the RIAA's lawyers 'as officers of the Court the benefit of the doubt,' and instead concluded — in his 6-page opinion (PDF) — that the RIAA's lawyers were just being 'sloppy' and had not made the misstatements for an improper purpose.'"

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And again... (-1, Troll)

Jack B. Nimple (1275372) | more than 6 years ago | (#23116106)

There's an interesting story [yahoo.com] on yahoo news about this. Seems the guy wasn't entirely innocent....

Re:And again... (5, Informative)

TripMaster Monkey (862126) | more than 6 years ago | (#23116126)

*** WARNING ***

Link in parent is malicious. Do not click.

Explanations? (5, Interesting)

Lord Satri (609291) | more than 6 years ago | (#23116246)

I had a few mod points to spend and clicked before it was modded troll. To my total surprise, that link launched X11 (along with numerous popups). How can this be possible? See how naive I can be: since I surfed with Safari 3.1.1 on a up-to-date mac (don't hate me too much, I use Debian at work ;-), I though nothing really bad could happen. I don't think anything bad actually happened, but how come can X11 be launched by a website?! Thanks for any explanation :-D

Just say NO to Javascript [was: Re:Explanations?] (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23116458)

With Javascript turned off all is well.

I guess Flash might play a role too.

Regards
-- t

Re:Explanations? (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23116504)

a flash exploit

Re:Explanations? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23116918)

I don't think anything bad actually happened, but how come can X11 be launched by a website?! Thanks for any explanation :-D


Javascript. When I turned off Javascript, all I get is a redirect to a plain boring page filled with silly keywords. Then do a "view source" to take a look at the script.

Re:And again... (5, Funny)

Pennidren (1211474) | more than 6 years ago | (#23116382)

See why we don't RTFA?

Not warning against topic links (-1, Redundant)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | more than 6 years ago | (#23116798)

Link in parent is malicious. Do not click.

The parent is not warning about the links posted in the thread summary. It is warning against the link posted by the anonymous coward it is replying to.

Re:Not warning against topic links (1)

skroops (1237422) | more than 6 years ago | (#23117274)

But the malicious link poster was not an AC..
Or did he post as AC and then get revealed because he posted a malicious link?

Re:And again... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23117284)

Is /. ever going to get round to sorting this issue? They've clearly found a workaround for the [yahoo.com] thing and it's sure as hell not the first time I've seen it (or been abused by it)..

Re:And again... (0, Troll)

whoda (569082) | more than 6 years ago | (#23117346)

HAHAHA, how many times are you guys gonna fall for the same trick? It's even worded the same every time.

Is this slashdot, or fluffybunnykitties, it's hard to tell sometimes.

Wrong, wrong, wrong! (5, Insightful)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 6 years ago | (#23116116)

'as officers of the Court the benefit of the doubt,'
Wrong!
As officers of the Court they should be held to a higher standard. Sloppy isn't an excuse.

Re:Wrong, wrong, wrong! (5, Insightful)

TheMeuge (645043) | more than 6 years ago | (#23116248)

Please mod parent up.

"Sloppy" should not be in a lawyer's vocabulary. In court, "sloppy" can land somebody in jail, backrupt them, cause divorce, take away their children, and destroy their life altogether in a myriad of ways.

"Sloppy" is what a McDonalds' burger maker does. When lawyers serve a subpoena that's about as accurate as addressing McCain as "Mrs Clinton", there should certainly be repercussions.

Otherwise, what prevents them from being "sloppy" and just file papers against every single college student in the United States?

Re:Wrong, wrong, wrong! (5, Insightful)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 6 years ago | (#23116444)

Exactly what he said AND think about it, if you or I go into a court representing ourselves and are sloppy.... well, the court normally does not look favorably upon people who waste the court's time with 'sloppy' actions.

Having said that, court systems 'seem' to be the daytime hangout of a rather large boy's club in many places around the country. The lawyer defending you probably plays golf with either the judge or your opponents lawyer, or both!

IANAL, but I've had happy hour beers with a few. Sloppy is what you do when you think the court will be benevolent toward your actions. If the court has a reputation for seriousness and crossing-tees-dotting-eyes behavior, sloppy is NOT what you do.

Personally, you and I know that the judge in this case has heard about the stories of the **AA's actions around the country. It would be professionally negligent to not have been following those stories. So, to give them any slack when they are sloppy and wasting court time and resources is tantamount to saying "plaintiff wins, next case!"

I seriously don't think this homeless guy has a snowball's chance in hell.

Re:Wrong, wrong, wrong! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23116736)

Just stopped in to say the link in your sig is freaking classic!

I'm amazed (4, Insightful)

Moryath (553296) | more than 6 years ago | (#23116880)

I'm amazed nobody has asked the real question yet.

Namely: how much money did the MafiAA pay the district judge for this ruling?

Re:I'm amazed (5, Insightful)

remmelt (837671) | more than 6 years ago | (#23117246)

Oh, I thought the real question was: did the allegedly homeless man share any files illegally? Allegedly?

Re:I'm amazed (4, Funny)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 6 years ago | (#23117308)

The REAL question is where did the RIAA's lawyers get the heart from? They are showing it off in court now! They are going to sue this homeless guy, guy won't show for court, will be found in contempt, thrown in jail where he will now have free food and a safe place to sleep!!

What are these RIAA lawyers thinking? WTF!

Re:Wrong, wrong, wrong! (1)

Vexor (947598) | more than 6 years ago | (#23117296)

I hope this homeless fellow has a decent public defender. Counter-sue and get a nice chunk of change, hopefully get his life back on track.

Re:Wrong, wrong, wrong! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23116676)

Otherwise, what prevents them from being "sloppy" and just file papers against every single college student in the United States?
What prevents all you fucking thieves from having any moral values?

Re:Wrong, wrong, wrong! (5, Insightful)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 6 years ago | (#23116690)

Exactly, and what everyone witnessed there was the "Good ol' Boy" network in operation.

Justice in the american legal system has always been only for those with he largest bank accounts.

Re:Wrong, wrong, wrong! (5, Insightful)

KGIII (973947) | more than 6 years ago | (#23116940)

I tend to think of it as the Just Us Department really.

Re:Wrong, wrong, wrong! (5, Informative)

Uebergeek (549636) | more than 6 years ago | (#23117070)

Three things counterbalance against a lawyer being 'sloppy':

(1) Malpractice: if a lawyer is 'sloppy' in his representation of a client, the client can sue the lawyer ofr malpractice, as well as make a complaint to the applicable state bar association. This can result in the lawyer paying large amounts of money to the client, reprimands being placed in the lawyer's file from the state bar, and even the lawyer having his license to practice law revoked.

(2) FRCP Rule 11 Sanctions Unbeknownst to many oustide the legal profession, the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (and most state rules) allow for the court to impose sanctions/award costs for frivolous filings. Extreme sloppiness sometimes falls into this category.

(3) Court's discretion In its own discretion, the Court can sanction an attorney for sloppiness or other misconduct that wastes the court's time. This can result in a case being dismissed with prejudice (meaning the attorney cannot refile the case, and will likely get pegged by the client for malpractice).

Re:Wrong, wrong, wrong! (1)

Touvan (868256) | more than 6 years ago | (#23117108)

Lawyers operate in a self regulated industry - which really means not regulated at all. This is what you get in that situation, a group of knuckle heads all covering each other butts to make sure the party doesn't end.

Re:Wrong, wrong, wrong! (3, Insightful)

gruvmeister (1259380) | more than 6 years ago | (#23116326)

Officers of the court? Bullshit, we're talking about some sleazebag millionaire lawyers who would drag their own mothers into court if there was a percentage in it for them. These guys don't represent the court - on the contrary, these are the guys the court needs to be on the lookout for, as they're the ones who will manipulate it to serve their (clients') purposes.

Re:Wrong, wrong, wrong! (1)

phpmysqldev (1224624) | more than 6 years ago | (#23117120)

Its not just the judges decision here, by law officers of the court are given the benefit of the doubt in matters of paperwork and clerical errors. Unless they specifically did this to (and this is legal terminology) 'make a mockery of the court and the legal system', which is almost never proven, then they are given the benefit of the doubt that their mistakes were made with good intentions simply because they've passed the bard.

I knew that law minor with my IT major would come in handy somewhere

Re:Wrong, wrong, wrong! (1)

phpmysqldev (1224624) | more than 6 years ago | (#23117140)

that should be 'passed the bar' above...unless they're MMORPG playing lawyers...then they have to pass the bard...

In related news... (5, Funny)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#23116128)

The District Judge, however, disagreed with imposing sanctions, giving the RIAA's lawyers 'as officers of the Court the benefit of the doubt,' and instead concluded â" in his 6-page opinion (PDF) â" that the RIAA's lawyers were just being 'sloppy' and had not made the misstatements for an improper purpose.'"
In related news, District Court Judge Harold Baer, Jr., the same judge in the Warner V. Berry case has recently acquired a huge estate in the Hamptons valued at between $20 and $25 million dollars. When a reporter asked Judge Baer how he could afford such a state on a his public servants' salary, Baer simply said that "he had recently come into some money."

Re:In related news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23117022)

I know it's supposed to be funny, but you do realize that you just committed libel, right?

Fine... (4, Insightful)

imstanny (722685) | more than 6 years ago | (#23116136)

So make some sanctions against 'sloppy' work. I dissent with the judge's ruling. This is clearly grossly negligent conduct by the lawyers. Any minimal due diligince in this case would have eliminated the error immediately.

Guh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23116140)

I really don't know why these things surprise me anymore.

Default dismissal by precedence? (4, Funny)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 6 years ago | (#23116148)

I hope some judges (especially those that sign those search warrants) light up in the light of this. Could you imagine something like this in the future?

(cue judge, asked for a warrant)

A search? Why? The RIAA thinks someone's downloading their stuff? The organisation that randomly sues people, from grannies to bums? Get outta my courtroom before I have you thrown out the window!

Re:Default dismissal by precedence? (0)

Barny (103770) | more than 6 years ago | (#23116212)

Ahh yes, but if the RIAA is believed, pirating is a source of income for terrorists, so, do they then need to ask for a warrant at all? You gave your government the power to tear your country apart, live with it :)

Re:Default dismissal by precedence? (4, Funny)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 6 years ago | (#23116400)

Yeah? Quite the opposite, the big studios are who is funding terrorism and anti-US movements. Where do they manufacture, hmmm? Could it be that they let some country make their CDs that supports terrorism, hmmmmmm?

Buying CDs is sponsoring terrorism!

What's next guys, raping a nun? (5, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 6 years ago | (#23116170)

Every day these guys sink to new lows. It's a shame that Lou Dobbs or some other "crusader" type TV pundit hasn't jumped on this saga yet. The RIAA would give a lot of ammo to any pundit looking to rant about something outrageous every day.

The sad thing is, there are real legal issues here. The RIAA is using the American court system as an vehicle of intimidation, and to give a mask of legality very illegal activities (like investigating people with unlicensed private investigators, shotgun lawsuits that target innocent people, organized extortion, etc.). Meanwhile, the courts seem all too willing to just sit back and let them do it, with no acknowledgement that this is part of an organized campaign. I guess the Supreme Court has more important things [nytimes.com] to deal with.

Re:What's next guys, raping a nun? (3, Insightful)

FrozenFOXX (1048276) | more than 6 years ago | (#23116392)

I have to admit, I'm genuinely curious as to how in the hell this got not even a slap on the wrist. Seriously, a HOMELESS guy? If that's not proof of them ramrodding random people for cash I have no idea what is.

I always thought judges were supposed to be called, "your honor." Guess we can scratch one.

Re:What's next guys, raping a nun? (4, Insightful)

tompaulco (629533) | more than 6 years ago | (#23116482)

Seriously, a HOMELESS guy? If that's not proof of them ramrodding random people for cash I have no idea what is.
How much cash do homeless people have? Maybe I should be panhandling from them.
While it is deplorable that the RIAA seems to be so fixated on suing those with the least means to defend themselves, being poor doesn't make one above the law. Both sides of this issue pretty much top my list of people that the world can do without.

Re:What's next guys, raping a nun? (1)

BSAtHome (455370) | more than 6 years ago | (#23116928)

So he is made to clean the dishes for the lawyers for the next 150 years to pay off the debt. That is also a way to create a new job for him...

Because his boss says not too (5, Insightful)

hellfire (86129) | more than 6 years ago | (#23116576)

It's a shame that Lou Dobbs or some other "crusader" type TV pundit hasn't jumped on this saga yet.

You realize there are only 4 major media companies in the world right now. Lou's bosses reports to a producer who works for a company that is owned by one of these media conglomerates, who also owns several major recording labels. The moment Lou reports that the RIAA is doing something evil, Lou and his producer immediately get fired for casting the company in a bad light and Lou gets blacklisted.

Now... I am surprised that the BBC and NPR haven't picked up on this yet. Maybe they have, but can't devote a 2 minute segment to it each and every day so I may have missed one of their special reports, but considering there are, seriously, more important stories to run such as olympic protests, government upheavals, elections here and abroad, etc, I'm not entirely surprised. It sucks, but put into perspective of US National and world news, is it as important?

Trawling (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23116184)

It's just like when fishing fleets trawl the bottom of the ocean trying to catch scallops or mussels ... they end up dragging all kinds of other species into the boat.

RIAA is looking for file-sharers, and if they dredge up the occasional homeless man, or dead person, or bubble-boy ... no biggie ... just move on.

Re:Trawling (4, Informative)

NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) | more than 6 years ago | (#23116662)

It's just like when fishing fleets trawl the bottom of the ocean trying to catch scallops or mussels ... they end up dragging all kinds of other species into the boat. RIAA is looking for file-sharers, and if they dredge up the occasional homeless man, or dead person, or bubble-boy ... no biggie ... just move on.
Interesting you should say that, because the RIAA has itself used the term "fishing with a net". Actual quote from RIAA spokesman:

"When you go fishing with a net, you sometimes are going to catch a few dolphin."
Dennis Roddy, "The Song Remains the Same" [postgazette.com] , Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Sept. 14, 2003, quoted in amicus curiae brief [ilrweb.com] (pdf) of American Civil Liberties Union, Public Citizen, American Association of Law Libraries, Electronic Frontier Foundation, and ACLU Foundation of Oklahoma, submitted in Capitol v. Foster [blogspot.com] , 2007 WL 1028532 (W.D. Oklahoma 2007), brief at page 8.

Are you kidding (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23116186)

[sarcasm:enabled]

The damn homeless, always thinking about themselves! This guy clearly can afford to buy this music, as opposed to pirating it. We need to criminalize his actions, so we can keep his kind off of the street!

[sarcasm:disabled]

I mean seriously, this has to be an article from The Onion. I can't believe that TFA is news about what is happening in the real world. I just can't. Someone tell me that it's just a bad joke, two weeks late of "April fools".

Re:Are you kidding (3, Insightful)

Black-Six (989784) | more than 6 years ago | (#23116378)

When talking about the RIAA, mind-boggling acts of stupidity are just par for the course.

Re:Are you kidding (5, Funny)

palewook (1101845) | more than 6 years ago | (#23116654)

RiAA is demanding his cardboard box in a settlement.

I don't know... (4, Insightful)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#23116190)

I don't know what outrages me more, the RIAA suing a homeless man or the judge for not imposing sanctions.

I can only hope that the judge is elected rather than appointed and that the voters fire him next election. To not lay down sanctions against this agregious behavior is itself sloppy. A lawyer has no more right to be sloppy than a surgeon does.

Re:I don't know... (3, Informative)

ari_j (90255) | more than 6 years ago | (#23116320)

This is in federal court. Federal judges are appointed for life, although they can be impeached if it gets bad enough. The magistrate judge who got it right in the first place is not appointed, though, to my knowledge.

WTF!?!?!? (5, Insightful)

Black-Six (989784) | more than 6 years ago | (#23116200)

How in the world can you sue someone who is homeless and has no internet access, take them to court, get shot down, and then have a district judge say "We think you, the RIAA, had the right intentions but the wrong paper work."? They let murders off for clerical errors, but get caught downloading tunes and its a trip to the financial electric chair.

If this isn't proof positive that our court system is completely wanked, I don't know what is. And people wonder why our society is going to hell in a hand basket.... Kill someone and get off scott free vs. download tunes and go bankrupt paying the fines.

Re:WTF!?!?!? (5, Interesting)

ari_j (90255) | more than 6 years ago | (#23116338)

I'm fairly certain that you have over-simplified and caricatured the situation a bit. The court system isn't, as a whole, broken. It's part of our checks and balances. What is broken is that federal judges are too hesitant to impose sanctions on those who deserve them.

Re:WTF!?!?!? (1)

Black-Six (989784) | more than 6 years ago | (#23116772)

You're correct, I did over-simplify it to a certain extent. I agree that in general, our courts aren't broken and that they need a few corrections. However, as far as the press goes, the stories they publicize are what send the message of "Don't download tunes, but its ok to kill somebody." Guy I went to high school with got in a fight with his Dad one day and ending up shooting his Dad to death (7 or 8 shots). Numerous eyewitnesses and enough physical evidence to sink the Titanic, but he got off scott free because the Prosecuting attorney made a clerical error (IANAL and I don't know the exact details of the error) in the paper work to file charges. And now, in this RIAA case, a homeless man is being sued for music he supposedly downloaded and now that the judge has given them a second chance, they might be successful in winning the case.

That's what has got me about the whole situation and the moral that will be drawn by people out of stories like the 2 I've discussed (the murder and this case): Its ok to kill someone (not really, but quiet a few people take it that way), but you download tunes and you stand a really good chance of losing all that you have.

Couldn't the defendant claim "Double-Jeopardy" since the RIAA is techinically being given a second chance at trying the him for the same charge?

Re:WTF!?!?!? (1)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | more than 6 years ago | (#23116858)

Well, not based on the GP, I would still say that the court system is broken. The problem is that small procedural issues are more important than evidence and facts. I've been involved in a couple cases where a tape recorded conversation that clearly showed the guilt in one case, and innocence in another, of the defendant wasn't allowed despite being a legal recording because it was decided that it would bias the jury

Re:WTF!?!?!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23116960)

Your legal system (case law) IS broken, face it. One judge makes an irrational ruling, that ruling is now your law.

I call that bollocks. Fix it.

Re:WTF!?!?!? (4, Insightful)

njfuzzy (734116) | more than 6 years ago | (#23116356)

People seem to be overlooking the possibility that they are suing him for something he did when his means were more significant. He lived in an apartment at some point, where he presumably could have had internet access.

Re:WTF!?!?!? (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#23116360)

How in the world can you sue someone who is homeless and has no internet access, take them to court, get shot down, and then have a district judge say "We think you, the RIAA, had the right intentions but the wrong paper work."?
I think the technical legal term for it is "various violations of the RICO Act."

Re:WTF!?!?!? (1)

gruvmeister (1259380) | more than 6 years ago | (#23116370)

Money talks. Feel free to kill whomever you like, just make sure he's not rich!

Re:WTF!?!?!? (5, Insightful)

ClickOnThis (137803) | more than 6 years ago | (#23116462)

Let me be clear from the start that I have a ton of sympathy for the homeless, and absolutely none for the RIAA and its lawyers.

How in the world can you sue someone who is homeless and has no internet access, take them to court, get shot down, and then have a district judge say "We think you, the RIAA, had the right intentions but the wrong paper work."?
As I read the article, the judge said RIAA was sloppy about how they delivered the summons and not about the merits (if any) of the case. And as heartless as it may sound, there is nothing improper (in a legal sense) about suing a homeless man. He may not have been homeless and/or may have had internet access when he allegedly committed the "crime" the RIAA claims.

To take an extreme example, imagine that one of the Enron executives drove themselves to destitution and was living in a homeless shelter. Just because they're down and out does not excuse them from being prosecuted for any crimes they committed.

Re:WTF!?!?!? (1)

jamesh (87723) | more than 6 years ago | (#23116734)

He may not have been homeless and/or may have had internet access when he allegedly committed the "crime" the RIAA claims.

Just because they're down and out does not excuse them from being prosecuted for any crimes they committed.

I think you make have your civil and criminal courts confused. I'm not sure exactly how the legal system works where all this is taking place, but in Australia the civil and criminal courts are fairly separate animals. I don't think any of the RIAA action is anything to do with a crime, or even a "crime" (unless you count the actions of the RIAA itself :). In Australia at least, the RIAA would never be the one serving legal documents for a criminal case.

Taking a homeless person to court to try and get some money out of them may not be wrong, but it's probably pretty stupid.

Re:WTF!?!?!? (1)

ClickOnThis (137803) | more than 6 years ago | (#23116910)

I think you make have your civil and criminal courts confused. [...] I don't think any of the RIAA action is anything to do with a crime, or even a "crime" (unless you count the actions of the RIAA itself :).
Yes, I think you are correct. In this case, I was the one being sloppy -- with the use of the word "crime". I meant it in a sense that included any action that could be litigated or prosecuted.

Taking a homeless person to court to try and get some money out of them may not be wrong, but it's probably pretty stupid.
Agreed. It's "stupid" unless the litigant has a reason to believe the homeless person could come into some money in the future to pay any judgement that might be awarded.

Re:WTF!?!?!? (1)

jamesh (87723) | more than 6 years ago | (#23117166)

Agreed. It's "stupid" unless the litigant has a reason to believe the homeless person could come into some money in the future to pay any judgement that might be awarded.

I've always wondered... does it work that way? If I sue someone for some amount (say... $1m) and I win, but they don't actually have any money, what happens? Does the debt get written off or if they win the lottery at some point in the future do I get my $1m then?

Re:WTF!?!?!? (1)

Black-Six (989784) | more than 6 years ago | (#23116860)

You make a good point with an excellent, albeit extreme as you stated, example. Am I saying that the guy didn't download tunes, No. However, do I think it sends the wrong message to people when someone is given multiple trys to convict you of something, Yes.

Re:WTF!?!?!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23116944)

Please don't compare civil proceedings with criminal proceedings, especially when the scope is so different. :b

Defamation of character (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23116562)

The homeless guy should sue the holy fuck out of the RIAA for defaming his character. I'm sure the guy could get some lawyer to take that case on contingency and get about a million dollar settlement out of the RIAA. The lawyer would get $800K of that and the homeless guy would get about $200K but that might be enough money for him to get back on his feet again.

Re:Defamation of character (1)

Nephrite (82592) | more than 6 years ago | (#23116886)

Are you trying to say that RIAA is some twisted charity?

Re:WTF!?!?!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23116742)

what if the guy illegally downloaded music, then because of a turn of events he lost his job and ended up homeless?

did he not break the law because now he is homeless? is he no longer responsible for past actions because he is homeless now?

maybe there's something I am missing...like, if the guy was homeless during the time the allegedly illegal file download took place, or something like that. But if the guy had a home and a computer, and downloaded music illegally, i don't think it matters whether he is homeless or not. Moral questions raised by this aside of course...just playing devil's advocate a bit.

Re:WTF!?!?!? (1)

amplt1337 (707922) | more than 6 years ago | (#23116920)

They delivered the subpoena to the house he lived at a while back. It's entirely possible that they're suing him for activities he conducted when he lived there and (may've) had internet access.

Re:WTF!?!?!? (1)

MulluskO (305219) | more than 6 years ago | (#23117080)

but get caught downloading tunes and its a trip to the financial electric chair.
I guess that's another form of capital punishment.

Doubt? (1)

angryfirelord (1082111) | more than 6 years ago | (#23116208)

The District Judge, however, disagreed with imposing sanctions, giving the RIAA's lawyers 'as officers of the Court the benefit of the doubt...that the RIAA's lawyers were just being 'sloppy'...
Doubt? Sloppy? Has any of their past trials even made light to this judge? I'm sure if I was being tried and I said that I was just being "sloppy" for supposedly making my mp3s available to everyone, I'd have no defense case left.

Re:Doubt? (3, Insightful)

autocracy (192714) | more than 6 years ago | (#23116226)

There are few clearer examples of "double standard" than when the deciding party declares that it's different because they're "one of us." Mrrr.

Re:Doubt? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23116574)

I'm sure if I was being tried and I said that I was just being "sloppy" for supposedly making my mp3s available to everyone, I'd have no defense case left.

Yes but you're not an officer of the court. nudge nudge wink wink.

New case in the works... (5, Funny)

wobedraggled (549225) | more than 6 years ago | (#23116224)

RIAA sues a rock, infringing on the musical style.

Re:New case in the works... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23116460)

When asked for comment on the matter, Rock had nothing to say.

Re:New case in the works... (4, Funny)

sorak (246725) | more than 6 years ago | (#23116744)

RIAA sues a rock, infringing on the musical style.

Do you mean for stealing the name, or for being boring and unworthy of attention?

to stay one step ahead of the riaa (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 6 years ago | (#23116892)

one must anticipate these sorts of attacks

for indeed, a rolling stone gathers no moss

oh shit! what am i saying?

Re:New case in the works... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23116950)

better hope that rock does not start rolling or it might triple the damages. . .

Re:New case in the works... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23117286)

When Asked for comment on the case, the rock was speechless

Translation (3, Insightful)

MarkGriz (520778) | more than 6 years ago | (#23116238)

The RIAA's lawyers were threatened with sanctions by the Magistrate Judge in the case, for making misleading representations to the Court which the Magistrate felt were intentional. The District Judge, however, disagreed with imposing sanctions, giving the RIAA's lawyers 'as officers of the Court the benefit of the doubt,' and instead concluded ... that the RIAA's lawyers were just being 'sloppy' and had not made the misstatements for an improper purpose.'
Or, to quote Hanlon [wikipedia.org] ....

"Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity"

Re:Translation (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#23116394)

"Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity"
Yeah, and never attribute to favoritism what can be explained by pure, unadulterated bribery.

Re:Translation (2, Insightful)

deniable (76198) | more than 6 years ago | (#23116526)

Or Clarke's Second Law of Management: Any sufficiently advanced incompetence is indistinguishable from malice.

This could also be a judge being subtle. In six pages he says "You're not evil, just stupid."

Re:Translation (1)

kalirion (728907) | more than 6 years ago | (#23116618)

That's usually true, unless the subject of the quote has a distinguished history of malice.

umm (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 6 years ago | (#23116842)

when an organization whose entire raison d'etre is malice does something stupid, its still malice

Re:Translation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23117268)

"Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity"


As stupidity becomes the last refuge of scoundrels

Malpractice (1)

OhHellWithIt (756826) | more than 6 years ago | (#23116240)

Rule one in litigating for profit is to go after a defendant deep pockets. The plaintiff's attorneys are clearly trying to earn whatever equivalent there is that the bar association has.

This just goes to show you... (3, Funny)

Skeet112 (1088203) | more than 6 years ago | (#23116250)

...You don't even have to own a computer for them to sue you for downloading music! Hell, you don't even need an address!

Re:This just goes to show you... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23116318)

everyone has an ip address :shady:

Re:This just goes to show you... (1)

MrMacman2u (831102) | more than 6 years ago | (#23116330)

Well, I'm CERTAIN, and apparently so are the RIAA's attack lawyers, that this utter criminal had heard or worse yet, OVERHEARD (double infringement!) illegally downloaded music files.

At sometime in the past... maybe... possibly... almost...

Anyway, there is just no excuse for such unconscionable behavior! I mean really, even living as a homeless person the man MUST have some money that he is needlessly wasting by buying things like food when he could be throwing it at the RIAA with abandon!

Filesharing at the time of not being homeless? (3, Insightful)

Loconut1389 (455297) | more than 6 years ago | (#23116496)

The linked blog does not make it clear whether or not the man was sued for filesharing that occurred after the date he lost his place of residence/computer. Without reading the 6 page order, what's the real deal? The kneejerk from everyone is to think this man could not possibly have done P2P since he's now homeless. What's the real answer? How did they come to accuse him in the first place? Blog and summary seem short on details.

Re:Filesharing at the time of not being homeless? (2, Informative)

Loconut1389 (455297) | more than 6 years ago | (#23116608)

i have now skimmed the 6 page summary too- all I gleaned was the guy supposedly used Kazaa over AOL about a year before the court case. So, how long ago was the guy homeless?

The RIAA gets dumber by the day... (5, Interesting)

BUL2294 (1081735) | more than 6 years ago | (#23116604)

Seriously, when it became obvious that this guy was homeless (what, he totes around a laptop, getting mobile Internet access using Sprint or AT&T???), the RIAA should have dropped the case as this is an amazing case of "getting blood from a turnip." The RIAA seems dumber by the day. Let's see...
1) RIAA physically finds homeless man to sue. Serves with papers.
2) RIAA extorts (er, "offers settlement") to homeless man.
3) Homeless man appears in court for trial, maybe even with pro-bono attorney. (Free heat, maybe even free food. Could judge offer temporary housing--like sequestering a jury???)
4) Homeless man loses case big time, owing hundreds of thousands of $$$.
5) Homeless man declares bankrupcy.
6) Homeless man sues RIAA for mental stress.

Seriously, under what circumstance could the RIAA win? Bragging rights?

Does this even make sense? (1)

Hojima (1228978) | more than 6 years ago | (#23116620)

How much could they possibly sue a bum for? I don't think he declares the change he gets in his taxes. Of course someone will come and correct me, saying it prevents him from ever achieving any future success and moving back to an apartment. I don't think he really has that ambition. Either way, so long as he works for cash and pays in cash for the rest of his life, can't he live just fine?

Re:Does this even make sense? (1)

DigitalSorceress (156609) | more than 6 years ago | (#23117236)

Well,

IANAL, but it seems to me that if someone's homeless, they just sort of do their sloppy work and send to the last known address, and tell the court the party was served. When they don't show up, they're now guilty of contempt of court or somesuch.

Even in this case where the courts basically said "hey, you didn't properly serve him", the RIAA will correct their mistake and follow proper procedure and properly serve him. Now this guy has to go through the court system and since it's not a criminal case, I don't THINK the state needs to provide him a lawyer, so the RIAA either steamrolls him if he does show up, or they get a default judgment and/or get him sited for contempt. So this guy who has obviously already been through the meat grinder gets so far past screwed that it will take the light from screwed thee years to catch up.

Doesn't the RIAA have some 90 year old "never touched a computer in her life" granny they could be tormenting instead?

~sigh~

You know the lawyers at RIAA are insane... (5, Funny)

Garabito (720521) | more than 6 years ago | (#23116672)

You know the lawyers at RIAA are insane when actual headlines like these read like if they were from The Onion

Re:You know the lawyers at RIAA are insane... (3, Interesting)

jc42 (318812) | more than 6 years ago | (#23117150)

Actually, the writers at the Onion have been known to make the same complaint that other satirists in the past have made: Their job is constantly made difficult by the way that real people keep doing things far more bizarre and funny than anything they'd dare to publish.

The Onion may have some of the best satirists around right now, but that doesn't make their job any easier. Not with our current crop of politicians and corporate managers that are competing to outdo the Onion's writers with stories like this.

And it seems that even some judges are taking part in the competition ...

Congratulations! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23116702)

Well done, RIAA! You're not evil, just incompetent!

John (1)

jab9990 (1260764) | more than 6 years ago | (#23116724)

I guess we know the real reason they are losing money.

The sanction actually is in the ruling... (1)

Bullfish (858648) | more than 6 years ago | (#23116832)

They may not get a fine, but how would you like your incompetence becoming a part of the public record...

Legally rendered for all who care to look...

Re:The sanction actually is in the ruling... (1)

Dorkmaster Flek (1013045) | more than 6 years ago | (#23117012)

So does this mean that, even though this judge overturned the sanctions, the fact that they were originally sanctioned at all can actually have an impact?

Re:The sanction actually is in the ruling... (4, Interesting)

Bullfish (858648) | more than 6 years ago | (#23117258)

Essentially, yes it does... For example, a lawyer can make a claim in a court and the judge can ask that the jury disregard it for a technicality... But, how do you forget? It still plays a role at decision time even if it "officially" isn't part of the record or decision.

Further, if thee lawyers bring another flimsy case forward, a review of precedent can show the same lawyer bringing frivolous cases forward in the past and eventually that will lead to harsher punishments by the courts.

And if nothing else, if the lawyer goes for a job with a new firm, then a review of that lawyer's previous cases will show that a judge had it entered into the court record that he/she was incompetent.

God... (3, Funny)

amplt1337 (707922) | more than 6 years ago | (#23117002)

Here I thought *I* was a dick.

Judge Baer and Magistrate Fox (1)

cosmicpossum (554246) | more than 6 years ago | (#23117064)

Baer and Fox??? Sounds like a fairy tale!

Proof! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23117262)

Pirating music makes you homeless!
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