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RIAA Wants To Throw In the Towel On 3-Year-Old Case

Soulskill posted more than 6 years ago | from the stick-it-to-'em dept.

The Courts 171

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "After three years of pursuing a home health aide in Brooklyn who has never even used a computer, the RIAA has announced it's ready to throw in the towel. Only thing; it wants the dismissal to be 'without prejudice' so it won't be liable for attorney's fees. The courts have been saying that where a copyright plaintiff gives up, the defendant is presumptively entitled to an attorney's fee award. So, Ms. Lindor says 'no way.' She wants the dismissal to be 'with prejudice,' and she wants her attorney's fees." We've been discussing this case and Ms. Lindor's fight against the RIAA for quite some time.

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Attorney's fees are all well and fine..... (5, Insightful)

Stanislav_J (947290) | more than 6 years ago | (#24065191)

But how about something to compensate her for the harassment, stress, and general upheaval of her life for three years? The RIAA might cave in to paying her fees if they have no other way out of it, but a nice fat damage award would go a long way toward tempering the cartel's tactics, and to encourage others who have been sued. Of course, to get such an award she would probably have to file some sort of countersuit against them, and I doubt she has the stomach for that right now. Shows how in our legal system, even when you win, you still lose to some degree.

Re:Attorney's fees are all well and fine..... (5, Insightful)

NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) | more than 6 years ago | (#24065251)

But how about something to compensate her for the harassment, stress, and general upheaval of her life for three years? The RIAA might cave in to paying her fees if they have no other way out of it, but a nice fat damage award would go a long way toward tempering the cartel's tactics, and to encourage others who have been sued. Of course, to get such an award she would probably have to file some sort of countersuit against them, and I doubt she has the stomach for that right now. Shows how in our legal system, even when you win, you still lose to some degree.

Unfortunately, I can't disagree with anything you just said.

It's an imperfect system, and definitely being abused at the moment by the large 'rights holders', who have engaged in a maelstrom of litigation in reaction to their imminent demise.

Re:Attorney's fees are all well and fine..... (3, Interesting)

phoomp (1098855) | more than 6 years ago | (#24065459)

It's an imperfect system, and definitely being abused at the moment by the large 'rights holders', who have engaged in a maelstrom of litigation in reaction to their imminent demise

If they get their way in Canada, by getting the government to draft laws which protect their obsolete business plan, they may be developing a foothold by which they can force us to keep them alive.

Re:Attorney's fees are all well and fine..... (5, Interesting)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 6 years ago | (#24065845)

the large 'rights holders', who have engaged in a maelstrom of litigation in reaction to their imminent demise.

Yes, and in a down-turning economy, as the value of their "holdings" declines, they will turn increasingly to this type of litigation-for-profit to try to keep their stock price up.

Re:Attorney's fees are all well and fine..... (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24066417)

Thanks for your contributions to this site and to our society!

Re:Attorney's fees are all well and fine..... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24066737)

He's a radical. How can you say that with a straight face?

Her Lawyer deserves some credit too ... (5, Insightful)

Cassini2 (956052) | more than 6 years ago | (#24066419)

I think the reason this suit got this far, and generated as much interesting legal materials and reactions as it did, have much to do with the lawyer working the case. She would have not got this far, if it was not for the efforts of her lawyer. You have demonstrated how to defend and win a case against the RIAA.

It is not often that we think of lawyers as the good guys, but in this case, the community owes you thanks.

Good Work.

Re:Her Lawyer deserves some credit too ... (2, Interesting)

slicerwizard (1229066) | more than 6 years ago | (#24068339)

Y'all could show your thanks by making Ray your friend: http://slashdot.org/zoo.pl?op=check&uid=912032 [slashdot.org]
I haven't seen a single one in this thread.

Re:Attorney's fees are all well and fine..... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24067657)

Beckerman: The Pirate's Lawyer

Re:Attorney's fees are all well and fine..... (4, Insightful)

jobsagoodun (669748) | more than 6 years ago | (#24068395)

Anonymous Coward: the gutless twat.

Re:Attorney's fees are all well and fine..... (5, Insightful)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#24065255)

Perhaps a countersuit? IANAL, but I don't see why she couldn't turn around and sue them for the harrassment, pain and suffering, etc. Or is there some sort of statute that prevents that? Anyone know?

Re:Attorney's fees are all well and fine..... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24065291)

Well, that's the only way I'm aware of too. But the fact that this would mean MORE upheaval and stress for her wouldn't help.

Re:Attorney's fees are all well and fine..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24065303)

I agree completely. I feel that the RIAA represent some greedy bastards, and they deserve everything they get.

Re:Attorney's fees are all well and fine..... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24065433)

Shows how in our legal system, even when you win, you still lose to some degree.

Thanks to Bobby Bare there is a musical reference to being a Winner [lyrics007.com] .

As pointed out many times, the RIAA is not exactly good at following the "Gentlemen's rules" of the game. Hope Ms. Lindoor hits them hard in the wallet, would, no doubt, make Mr. Beckerman feel a lot better about Ms. Lindoor taking the draw. Hope the judge tosses the RIAA out of the ring too, with prejudice.

Re:Attorney's fees are all well and fine..... (4, Insightful)

Dan541 (1032000) | more than 6 years ago | (#24067437)

It's bullshit that plaintiffs are able to withdraw a case.

Withdrawal should result in an automatic win for the defendant which should cover legal fees, loss of income, compensation for harassment and open the door for libel suits maybe then people will stop abusing the courts.

How do court case's get started get the RIAA just take you to court so your forced to lose your income to defend yourself or does the submission need approval before it can proceed?

What do you do about holidays, work or any other form of life, during a case like this?

Re:Attorney's fees are all well and fine..... (3, Insightful)

honkycat (249849) | more than 6 years ago | (#24067759)

It's tempting to make a blanket statement like that, especially when the plaintiff is perceived as the slimy evil that is the RIAA. However, it's difficult to make such a blanket declaration without creating injustices. In this case, if you read the RIAA's motion to dismiss without prejudice, which is linked from the article, they claim that Ms. Lindor and her relatives and counsel (aka NewYorkCountryLawyer, the submitter) have impeded/deceived them during discovery. Their claim is that as a result, they are unable to mount a case -- i.e., they're not just taking their ball and going home, they've simply decided that it's not going to be possible despite their (claim of) good faith effort to resolve the issues.

If this is true, then it's unreasonable to expect them to pay the costs of the defendant -- that would only encourage defense by stonewalling.

Thus, I don't think you can automatically say the plaintiff must see the case to conclusion to avoid funding the defense. As the case law seems to say (based on the links in the article), there's a presumption that they will be on the hook for costs, but there are certainly circumstances where justice is best served by allowing the case to be dropped without such an award.

And, hopefully obviously, I'm not up to date on the details of the case, and I'm not claiming that the RIAA is correct in its claims. Rather, it is simply those claims and the court needs to decide on their merit. The defense clearly disagrees with their assertions. It will be interesting to see how this turns out.

Re:Attorney's fees are all well and fine..... (1)

initialE (758110) | more than 6 years ago | (#24068919)

So it looks like another legal fight, over whether the defendant had indeed impeded or deceived during discovery. Not over by a long shot.

Re:Attorney's fees are all well and fine..... (4, Insightful)

darkmeridian (119044) | more than 6 years ago | (#24067871)

Granting a defendant automatic damages if a plaintiff withdraws a lawsuit will lead to many meritless suits prosecuted to the end. For instance, if the RIAA had to pay legal fees, lost of income, compensation for harassment, and libel in this case, they would not be withdrawing the lawsuit. They would rather fight this to the end and wait for the defendant to go bankrupt or cave in. I think the defendant should be given the chance to get damages by filing a countersuit but should not be granted automatic damages lest we create perverse incentives to flog a dead horse.

Re:Attorney's fees are all well and fine..... (4, Insightful)

Khyber (864651) | more than 6 years ago | (#24068031)

No, I say grant automatic damages in court. If you can't prove it, don't fucking bring it. They deserve every bit of shit thrown at them for bringing a FALSE LAWSUIT into court.

She needs to file and have the RIAA members labeled as vexatious litigants. That'll put a HUGE hole in their operation.

Re:Attorney's fees are all well and fine..... (5, Interesting)

arth1 (260657) | more than 6 years ago | (#24069013)

What I think would be fair was if any case brought that was dismissed with prejudice would automatically cost the accusers a fine of exactly as much as the damage they sued for.
That would not only reduce the amount of false claims, but also the preposterous amounts the accused are being sued for.

(I say fines and not compensation. Fines should go to the public and never to the accused, who only should get actual expenses covered. In Ius Commune, a firm principle is that neither the accuser nor the accused must ever benefit economically from the justice system. Rewarding the victim makes becoming a victim desirable, just like rewarding the accuser makes accusations more profitable than avoiding the initial issue.)

Good for her. (3, Insightful)

AltGrendel (175092) | more than 6 years ago | (#24065193)

Stick it to 'em. Hard.

Re:Good for her. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24065213)

Bleed the cunts.

Too bad... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24065195)

she couldn't get compensation for her time and emotional distress.

Without prejudice... (5, Informative)

LinuxGeek (6139) | more than 6 years ago | (#24065199)

also means could refile the suit if they want. It may just mean they want to try and get better legal leverage, like a new judge.

Re:Without prejudice... (4, Funny)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 6 years ago | (#24065207)

I've always thought "Without Prejudice" would be a good motto for a shady company. You'd put it on your letters under the logo and you'd be protected while you lied your ass off during negotiations.

Re:Without prejudice... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24065253)

I've always thought "Without Prejudice" would be a good motto for a shady company. You'd put it on your letters under the logo and you'd be protected while you lied your ass off during negotiations.

Neat idea! Kind of like "Fair and Balanced"!

Re:Without prejudice... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24065541)

Or all the news that's fit to print

Re:Without prejudice... (2, Funny)

vilgefortz (1225810) | more than 6 years ago | (#24065333)

Aperture Science "We do what we must, because we can"

Re:Without prejudice... (3, Informative)

metamechanical (545566) | more than 6 years ago | (#24066341)

an important distinction, something that confused me for awhile; "prejudice" in this sense is not the same as "discrimination", but instead means "pre-judged".

Exactly as you said, when a case is dismissed "without prejudice", it allows another case to be filed later. My understanding is that this is generally in the event of a case being dismissed due to a clerical error.

Re:Without prejudice... (1)

mixmatch (957776) | more than 6 years ago | (#24067879)

Discrimination can also be used to mean a judgement...

Re:Without prejudice... (3, Informative)

Naturalis Philosopho (1160697) | more than 6 years ago | (#24069015)

"Prejudice" never means "discrimination". Even when talking about race/ethnicity/religion "prejudice" only refers to the (often unwarranted) opinion one forms, or the opinion given to someone, not what one does about it (hint: "prejudice" can be noun or verb, depending on whether its the opinion formed or the act of imparting an opinion or slant). "Discrimination" refers to the treatment one gives a person or group based on something like a prejudiced opinion of them (hint: only a verb as an action has to take place). That's why prejudice (in race) isn't illegal in the U.S. but discrimination is: we still haven't outlawed all thoughts, just actions based on them.

Bow to your grammar overlords. BOW I said! ;)

Towel???? (1)

William Robinson (875390) | more than 6 years ago | (#24065225)

I never thought I wanted to picture RIAA naked....unless they have some good chicks on board.

Re:Towel???? (5, Insightful)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#24065261)

A hitchhiker should never go anywhere without his towel.

My favorite line (5, Funny)

Registered Coward v2 (447531) | more than 6 years ago | (#24065229)

We have been telling plaintiffs all along that the defendant is innocent of any
infringement. Unmindful of their duties as officers of the Court, they nevertheless persisted. Now
that the time has come to pay the piper, they seek to scurry away, rather than face the music.

Don't they own the music?

(I trust Mr. Beckermann will accept my quote as fair use...)

Re:My favorite line (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24065269)

Don't they own the music?

1. Owning copyright doesn't give them ownership of the music; it is a limited time monopoly according to the US Constitution. Copyright (theoretically and used to be in fact) runs out and the work goes into the public doamin with Huck Finn.

2. They only own a tiny fraction of the copyrights. Most bands aren't signed; you can see them in your local bar.

3. If I were this lady I'd see a shrink, and file lawsuit against the labels for metal distress

Re:My favorite line (4, Funny)

dpilot (134227) | more than 6 years ago | (#24065321)

> 3. If I were this lady I'd see a shrink, and file lawsuit against the labels for metal distress

Metallica's got that one covered, and they're on the RIAA's side.

Mickey Mouse (5, Insightful)

Morosoph (693565) | more than 6 years ago | (#24065617)

Copyright (theoretically and used to be in fact) runs out and the work goes into the public doamin with Huck Finn.

I'm coming to think that the US should make a Peter-Pan type exception for Mickey Mouse, since US congress refuse to let the sun set on the rodent.

Yes, it would be a barmy exception, but it is still worse, by some considerable margin, that one cartoon character should make law for the whole system of copyright!

Hell, they should make an exception for Minnie and Pluto while they're at it...

Re:Mickey Mouse (1)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 6 years ago | (#24066579)

I'm coming to think that the US should make a Peter-Pan type exception for Mickey Mouse, since US congress refuse to let the sun set on the rodent.

As a matter of fact I would be fine with that. The eternal Peter Pan copyright belongs to the Great Ormond Street childrens' hospital, and when the copyright expired in 1987 the government granted them a perpetual right to collect royalties on it. I'm sure there are similar institutions in the US which would appreciate the same kind of deal with Mickey Mouse.

Re:Mickey Mouse (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24067861)

There's a simple solution to this: Allow Trademark law to extend to /characters/. Disney's not making any money off of "Steamboat Willie", they're making money off of the use of the Mickey Mouse character.

Everything about Mickey is already trademarked (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | more than 6 years ago | (#24068407)

From the ears on down.

Re:My favorite line (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 6 years ago | (#24067129)

I think the GP was making a joke.

Re:My favorite line (1)

You2 (1318015) | more than 6 years ago | (#24065275)

I'm not sure the RIAA knows what fair use is, I know that viacom doesn't, and I'm pretty sure the MPAA doesn't know what it is either.

Re:My favorite line (2)

Dan541 (1032000) | more than 6 years ago | (#24067561)

The MPAA does not evern know what is and is not theirs to begin with.

Re:My favorite line (4, Funny)

lysse (516445) | more than 6 years ago | (#24065365)

According to the contracts, they own the musicians.

And their firstborn.

Re:My favorite line (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 6 years ago | (#24067683)

I thought Monsanto owns their first born.

With all those gene patents and "no unauthorized reproduction" ;).

Re:My favorite line (1)

mofag (709856) | more than 6 years ago | (#24068995)

I thought Monsanto owns their first born.

sloppy! easily circumvented with a ceasarian

"With Prejudice" needed to send a message (5, Insightful)

Morgaine (4316) | more than 6 years ago | (#24065257)

The RIAA's lawsuits are purely speculative, based on a standard of "evidence" that would be laughed out of court in any other area. When there is no penalty for speculative litigation, litigation becomes a business method instead of an instrument of last resort. This case needs to be dismissed With Prejudice to counteract this misuse of the legal system.

In addition, the RIAA as plaintiffs suffer no discomfort from a failed lawsuit, as it's all just paperwork and their daily office job for them. In contrast, their defendants suffer horribly from the process win or lose, with years of their lives being damaged and unrecoverable, since the litigation process is entirely foreign to their normal lives. This is unbalanced, unfair, and inadequate.

Both areas need redress, starting with dismissal With Prejudice and including compensation to the defendant for harm caused. But really more than that is needed. The RIAA lawyers themselves need to suffer some kind of professional penalty that will stay on their record, or this kind of legal abuse will not stop. Without negative feedback, systems spiral out of control, and that is as true in law as in science.

Mod parent up.. (5, Insightful)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 6 years ago | (#24065277)

Nobody should be allowed to just drop a legal case with no penalty after three years.

Re:Mod parent up.. (3, Insightful)

xouumalperxe (815707) | more than 6 years ago | (#24065299)

Nobody should be allowed to just drop a legal case with no penalty after three years.

Not all cases that last 3 years do so because (at least) one side is purposefully delaying. They might last that long simply because they're complex, both in terms of who's right and how right they are. The whole point of there being courts is to decide which way that sort of thing swings, and you shouldn't be penalized for it.

Now, if you can prove that the case dragged on simply because one party was trying to outlast the other, that's abusing the court, which is a different ball game altogether...

Re:Mod parent up.. (0, Redundant)

Crash Culligan (227354) | more than 6 years ago | (#24065337)

xouumalperxe: Now, if you can prove that the case dragged on simply because one party was trying to outlast the other, that's abusing the court, which is a different ball game altogether...

NewYorkCountryLawyer: "After three years of pursuing a home health aide in Brooklyn [who was accused of illegally downloading and sharing music] who [claims that she] has never even used a computer

I don't know about you, but now I'm intensely curious how they could drag this case on for three years.

Re:Mod parent up.. (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 6 years ago | (#24068727)

Just like how OJ has managed to drag out his investigation into the murder of his wife. OJ is still looking for the "real" killers and the RIAA is still looking for the "real" computer.

Come to think of it, has OJ managed to examine every golf course yet?

Sloth, greed and procrastination (1)

arth1 (260657) | more than 6 years ago | (#24068621)

But there is this pesky little thing in the Constitution that seems to give the accused the right of a fair and speedy trial.

The lawyers (on either side) taking time to do other cases, or sending letters back and forth through antiquated means without actually moving the case forward is not honoring the spirit of "speedy".

I say a vatican approach is called for. Let the lawyers and judge be locked inside a room, with full phone and internet access to send their minions about, but not themselves get out until they have prepared the case for either immediate dismissal or immediate jury trial.

I'm only half joking - the time courts and lawyers (again, on both sides) take to do anything is appalling, and makes a joke out of the constitutional guarantee (and a fat paycheck for the lawyers).

Three years? This should have been finished within three weeks. Including all the witness disposition and technical evidence.

Re:Sloth, greed and procrastination (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 6 years ago | (#24068757)

Speedy is a relative term, requiring all cases to be tried in 6 months would lead to technically complex cases being tried without all the available evidence examined and curb the rights of the parties to appeal decisions.

Speedy mainly means that people can't be left to rot in holding cells while the courts or attorneys stall for more time without cause for doing so. In short it's more a requirement that DAs don't use holding cells as punishment for crimes than it is about getting things done as quickly as possible.

Re:Sloth, greed and procrastination (1)

arth1 (260657) | more than 6 years ago | (#24068885)

Every single hour spent from accusation to conviction, dismissal or acquittal should be accountable. If you need six months to dig up evidence, there are obstructions somewhere, and most likely on both (well-paid) ends, and likely doing things in a linear fashion where parallelism would have worked well. Unless you are waiting for the disposition of someone walking solo across the Antarctic without a phone, it's simply ridiculous.

I can't think of a single profession that works as slowly as the legal one. Not one.

Re:Mod parent up.. (3, Interesting)

Technician (215283) | more than 6 years ago | (#24067209)

Nobody should be allowed to just drop a legal case with no penalty after three years.

Actually, it's not in the court records, but in their bottom line, the dammage will run much longer than 3 years.

Nobody likes to sup with the devil. The dammage to their PR is huge and long lasting. In the heyday of Napster, sales were up. In the heyday of the litigation campaign, the major CD retailiers are folding. Tower Records, and many other retailers are gone. Many retailers have shifted to carying a large inventory to shifting to video games and DVD's. (MPAA is not in as much PR goo as RIAA).

I haven't bought a new retail CD in years, and that will continue until this mess is over. (online tracks same thing)

Re:"With Prejudice" needed to send a message (5, Informative)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#24065283)

Well said, Morgaine!

The RIAA lawyers themselves need to suffer some kind of professional penalty that will stay on their record, or this kind of legal abuse will not stop.

Abuse of the legal system is something that an attorney could be censured for by their state's Bar association -- with penalties ranging from fines to and including disbarrment.

Re:"With Prejudice" needed to send a message (3, Insightful)

deblau (68023) | more than 6 years ago | (#24067321)

Lawyers have to be "zealous advocates" for their clients. That's their job. Would you hire a lawyer who won't go to the mat for you? More than that, it's an ethical imperative. Everyone who's crying out for professional penalties doesn't understand the nature of the profession.

I have a great deal of respect for NYCL. He fights like hell for his clients. Of course, that means everything he says is biased for the defense. And everything the plaintiff's lawyers say is biased for the plaintiffs. That doesn't mean either of them are correct about what really happened -- they're just advocating the theory that best suits their client's wishes. And neither of them should be penalized for that, because that's how the system should work.

Zealous advocate only goes so far (2, Insightful)

HornWumpus (783565) | more than 6 years ago | (#24068457)

There are many things they can do that cross that line.

Knowingly filing a case with no evidence purely as an extortion tactic is one of the things that should get a shyster disbarred.

Re:"With Prejudice" needed to send a message (3, Insightful)

sjames (1099) | more than 6 years ago | (#24068591)

There is a line there, and it's pretty clear the RIAA's lawyers have stepped way over it.

A lawyer is first and foremost, an officer of the court. Then, they are to be zealous advocates for their client's case. That advocacy may not, however, cross the line into illegal or unethical practices.

It is fully expected that a lawyer will argue the facts of a case in the light most favorable to the client's position. It's another matter entirely to attempt to deceive the court or to knowingly abuse the court process for the client's benefit.

Re:"With Prejudice" needed to send a message (1)

MadnessASAP (1052274) | more than 6 years ago | (#24068691)

Yes but on the same note the lawyer also has a duty to the legal system. It should be his responsibility to tun to the client and tell them that they have no case and refuse to file it. In fact I think there should be a law similar to the one that grants workers the right to refuse to work in unsafe condition, grants lawyers the right to refuse to file a lawsuit.

Re:"With Prejudice" needed to send a message (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#24068717)

There's a very fine line between 'zealous advocate' and outright barratry. Advising your client to carry on a lawsuit for which you have no evidence and aren't likely to win in court specifically because you have no evidence is, without argument, an unethical and possibly illegal maneuver.

Re:"With Prejudice" needed to send a message (5, Insightful)

NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) | more than 6 years ago | (#24065325)

The RIAA's lawsuits are purely speculative, based on a standard of "evidence" that would be laughed out of court in any other area. When there is no penalty for speculative litigation, litigation becomes a business method instead of an instrument of last resort. This case needs to be dismissed With Prejudice to counteract this misuse of the legal system. In addition, the RIAA as plaintiffs suffer no discomfort from a failed lawsuit, as it's all just paperwork and their daily office job for them. In contrast, their defendants suffer horribly from the process win or lose, with years of their lives being damaged and unrecoverable, since the litigation process is entirely foreign to their normal lives. This is unbalanced, unfair, and inadequate. Both areas need redress, starting with dismissal With Prejudice and including compensation to the defendant for harm caused. But really more than that is needed. The RIAA lawyers themselves need to suffer some kind of professional penalty that will stay on their record, or this kind of legal abuse will not stop. Without negative feedback, systems spiral out of control, and that is as true in law as in science.

I agree. But I am expecting the RIAA's lawyers, who on a daily basis have been making many false statements of fact to the courts, working with unlicensed investigators, misstating the law, and using illegal procedures, to be called to task eventually. It will no doubt be too little, too late, but I'm expecting repercussions for what they've done.

Re:"With Prejudice" needed to send a message (4, Insightful)

grizdog (1224414) | more than 6 years ago | (#24065507)

Great, but isn't justice delayed justice denied? If the RIAA lawyers are permitted to make a career out of this before they are sanctioned, and get disbarred in an early, comfortable retirement, what is accomplished? And more to the point, what is "officer of the court" worth, if this is the case?

Re:"With Prejudice" needed to send a message (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24068997)

Umm, that only applies when you're talking about applying the death penalty in questionable cases. Where somebody might get let off the hook for daring to not be guilty when the jury wants to hang somebody.

Re:"With Prejudice" needed to send a message (3, Interesting)

dmatos (232892) | more than 6 years ago | (#24065593)

At what point would it be reasonable to start proceedings against those lawyers? You make some fairly strong statements of their misdeeds here. With firm proof would those offenses not be more than enough to get them disbarred, if not jailed and/or fined for perjury?

Who is responsible for calling those lawyers to task? And who is capable of officially raising the matter for consideration?

Re:"With Prejudice" needed to send a message (4, Interesting)

RWarrior(fobw) (448405) | more than 6 years ago | (#24066823)

I agree. But I am expecting the RIAA's lawyers, who on a daily basis have been making many false statements of fact to the courts, working with unlicensed investigators, misstating the law, and using illegal procedures, to be called to task eventually. It will no doubt be too little, too late, but I'm expecting repercussions for what they've done.

Why have you (and other attorneys fighting them) not already filed complaints with their state bars?

Re:"With Prejudice" needed to send a message (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24065381)

The RIAA's lawsuits are purely speculative, based on a standard of "evidence" that would be laughed out of court in any other area.

Except for one other area: terrorism. If the defendants are accused of terrorism, then the courts accept even weaker standards of "evidence", including any old nonsense shouted under torture.

Sadly, this has to be said.

War and Habeas Corpus (1)

CustomDesigned (250089) | more than 6 years ago | (#24067415)

Don't forget the "War" on drugs and child pornography. Police can confiscate the property [fear.org] of anyone they suspect of a drug crime. No substantial evidence (habeas corpus) required. It is called the "war" on drugs to justify this lowered standard of evidence, since a similar lowering of the standard has taken place in wartime since Abraham Lincoln.

Anyone accused of child pornography is automatically a pariah, and remains on sex offender lists (not necessarily government endorsed ones), even when the accusation is proved to be baseless. "It is the serious charge. A serious charge indeed." Since real child pornography today often involves downloads via the internet, it is very easy for a sexual predator to use your home internet connection while you are out of the country, and clueless officials blame you for it. You lose your job, marriage prospects, and social life for the rest of your life. [truthinjustice.org]

Now the RIAA is using the same suspension of habeas corpus, without even the pretension of "war". Or maybe that is why they insist on calling copyright violators (real or imagined) "pirates".

Re:"With Prejudice" needed to send a message (3, Insightful)

Stiletto (12066) | more than 6 years ago | (#24065421)

When there is no penalty for speculative litigation, litigation becomes a business method instead of an instrument of last resort.

Um, I hate to tell you, but even with the possibility of dismissal with prejudice, litigation is still a HUGE business. You just need to go for higher awards to offset the risk associated with the penalties.

The litigation-for-profit industry is alive and well and not going anywhere.

Re:"With Prejudice" needed to send a message (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24065537)

Do you have 'vexatious litigant' status on that side of the Atlantic? If UMG (is it UMG Vs Lindor? I have difficulty keeping track of which one it is) were to be declared a vexatious litigant, they'd have to convince a judge that they had a damned solid case before they were allowed to sue anyone again.

They sued a 3 year old? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24065285)

No wonder they needed a towel.

Staying power (4, Interesting)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 6 years ago | (#24065323)

They never dreamed that she could/would stick with it this long so they are getting worried. They are used to just bulling people into submission.

I agree they need to compensate her for their unacceptable tactics.

This needs to be plastered across every news station in the country ( but we know it wont, as the *AA is the TV industries buddy )

Prejudice This (4, Funny)

hyades1 (1149581) | more than 6 years ago | (#24065375)

If that dismissal can be called "without prejudice", then so is a Klan cross burning. They should pay "I'm a Dick Tax" as well as attorney's fees.

Worse = better? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24065409)

You could try the Italian method: make the judicial system so immensely slow, complex, and thoroughly fucked up that not even the SIAE (Italian RIAA) usually bothers to try using it as a weapon.

Care to elaborate, Mr. Beckerman? (4, Interesting)

Broofa (541944) | more than 6 years ago | (#24065427)

Mr. Beckerman (or other attorneys familiar with this case and the relevent law), can you comment on the merit of this request?

I've read the plaintiff's letter [beckermanlegal.com] and to the lay-person it reads pretty reasonably. In effect, "We can't prove our case because the plaintiffs lied, hid evidence, and generally didn't cooperate to the extent required by law".

I'm sure the plaintiffs are putting the facts of the case in the most favorable possible light to avoid a "with prejudice" dismissal. But without seeing/hearing the actual testimony it's difficult to judge just how overt the defendents actions were, and to what extent the plaintiffs persual of this case had actual merit - i.e. how justified it was and, therefore, to what extent a prejudicial decision might or might not be warranted.

Re:Care to elaborate, Mr. Beckerman? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24066057)

And if you read Beckerman's response at http://recordingindustryvspeople.blogspot.com/2008/07/ms-lindor-opposes-riaa-attempt-to.html then you'd have your response. He clearly lays out how any prejudice is solely plaintiff's fault. Further, he points out the defendant is an individual not accountable for anyone else's actions, and that discovery was completed 2 years ago but that the palintiff waited until the end to complain about discovery. Further, the complaint is to the wrong judge and filed in the wrong fashion, with additional defects. All of those flaws in the plaintiff's argument make it unlikely sanctions are either warranted or will be granted.

Re:Care to elaborate, Mr. Beckerman? (5, Informative)

nomadic (141991) | more than 6 years ago | (#24066113)

I've read the plaintiff's letter and to the lay-person it reads pretty reasonably. In effect, "We can't prove our case because the plaintiffs lied, hid evidence, and generally didn't cooperate to the extent required by law".

Well IAAL and the letter is not especially convincing. For one thing the plaintiffs' lawyers seem to be blaming the defendant for acts by several third parties. Another thing is that a lot of the criticism uses generic weasel words, like "inconsistencies" and "deceptive and/or incomplete information," which lawyers tend to use when they don't have anything concrete to attack. The alleged inconsistencies aren't especially damning when you're talking about witnesses and parties describing events that took place a while ago. The case ID number makes me think it was filed in early '05, so I'd think that would be the earliest the discovery requests came, so it doesn't seem unreasonable to be uncertain as to who was at your house on certain exact dates several months ago.

Re:Care to elaborate, Mr. Beckerman? (1)

517714 (762276) | more than 6 years ago | (#24067329)

IANAL, but the letter is B.S., hopefully the court will recognize that statements about people other than the defendant are irrelevant.

How are the actions of the defendant's family who are not party to the suit relevant? To summarize the letter ..

We filed suit against the wrong person, other people who are not party to this suit did things we don't like, there is absolutely no evidence against the defendant or others, so the defendant should pay, and we want to retain the right to file suit against her again.

The judge should challenge the use of the word irreparable. If the damage to the case is irreparable, then the case can only be dismissed with prejudice.

I can elaborate... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24068025)

This is the RIAA talking. When they talk about 'hiding evidence' that's their only explanation for why they could not find any. Their ONLY "evidence" is that an ISP gave them Ms. Lindor's name, never mind her not having used a computer. After that, they ran around trying to sue the rest of the family.

Anyhow, isn't this the case where they're trying to sucker-punch? I believe they've already filed another Doe case involving the same acts and "neglected" to mention that it was related to this case.

In other words, the RIAA is not (nor have they ever) played fair. They should definitely be on the hook for this.

Re:Care to elaborate, Mr. Beckerman? (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 6 years ago | (#24068941)

The response makes the matter fairly clear. None of the evidence the plaintiffs claim to have been denied in discovery is relevant to their suit. That is, even if that other computer was there and actively used by it's owner (the witness) to download music (an assertion that is not proven), it would serve to support the defendant's position rather than the plaintiffs. Further, the only reason they didn't know about it two years earlier is that they chose to wait that long to depose the witness.

In other words, as a plaintiff, you cannot stick your fingers in your ears and put off looking at discovery for years, then complain that you only saw it at the last minute. You especially can't do that and then claim that it's the defendant's fault.

Remember kids... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24065493)

Remember kids, Ms. Lindor didn't infringe upon others' copyrights, and neither should you.

Easy..... (3, Interesting)

IHC Navistar (967161) | more than 6 years ago | (#24065701)

All the defendant needs to do is show that the RIAA has *systematically* dragged out lawsuits, and then dropped them when the defendant "calls their bluff", knowing full well it's chances of winning at trial are unfavorable, and the defendant has no intention of settling. The RIAA knows it will be liable for attorney's fees if they lose at trial, so they drag everything out to the very last moment, hoping to save money by dropping the claim when the defendant doesn't settle.

However, asking for dismissal at this point in procedure doesn't show the intent to save money from dismissal. The fact that the RIAA had done it *many* times over shows a clear, premeditated plan to shift wasteful costs for reckless prosecution to the defendent in the event that no settlement occurs and a legal victory is improbable.

The RIAA drops it suits when:

1) The defendant calls their bluff by refusing to settle and forces them to support a baseless claim at trial, which the RIAA knows it will lose.

To save money, the RIAA then asks for a dismissal without prejudice.

It might be a stretch, but a good legal beagle could probably argue that this constitutes Conspiracy To Defraud.

Re:Easy..... (3, Insightful)

Junta (36770) | more than 6 years ago | (#24065799)

To save money, the RIAA then asks for a dismissal without prejudice.

Given the scale of RIAA legal costs incurred during that prolonged phase, I would say they aren't trying to save money at all. The defendant's legal fees are trivial next to the cost of trying to drag it out to avoid paying them.

It's quite obvious they want everyone to feel that regardless of the findings of a court, the defendant will have lost, and it's best to do as they say in the first place, regardless of guilt or innocence. RIAA doesn't care much about appearing to be in the right or anything anymore, they just want to induce fear, safe in the knowledge people will still fund the music industry as they way RIAA leads it.

Given the obvious systematic tactics of making a business of milking the Justice system, the courts really need to thoroughly strike down RIAA's efforts.

Re:Easy..... (3, Insightful)

dshadowwolf (1132457) | more than 6 years ago | (#24067865)

You've hit the nail on the head here. The RIAA isn't going for the "dismissal without prejudice" to save money. They are doing it for the financial hurting it puts on the defendant and so they can point and say "we aren't done with it, but that's okay, we'll get that one next time".

Basically they are getting a victory without having proved their case and have the option of re-filing the case to get a second-chance at winning. Nobody should be able to do this - but until the RIAA is made to really hurt it will keep going on. Let's hope that Tanya Anderson's counter-suit ends with a victory for her.

And Ms. Lindor, I feel for your suffering and hope that Mr. Beckerman can get you the victory you deserve.

welll (1, Offtopic)

JackassJedi (1263412) | more than 6 years ago | (#24065795)

i guess it's better than Ballmer throwing a chair

Civil courts exist to make money for lawyers (3, Insightful)

dloyer (547728) | more than 6 years ago | (#24066059)

This is another example of how the civil court system exists only to make money for lawyers.

The judges will put on a show to make it look fair, but judges exist to help lawyers make money from Marks (Anyone who is not a lawyer).

If you have ever been involved with a lawsuit, you will quickly learn that it is all about how much the lawyers get paid to stumble through their process at $5/min. Facts don't matter. There is no real risk for the plaintiff to sue someone, the burden is on the defendant who must respond or loose by default.

If you are the defendant and you win, you still loose and if you loose, you loose more.

Since the cost of defense is so high, it is almost always cheaper to settle, and the lawyers know this.

If you are a lawyer and hold a grudge, you can really fuck someone over making claims that are not true. And they do. Judges will turn a blind eye.

The process is completely corrupt and serves no one other than the lawyers that infest it.

Am I bitter? Yes.

Re:Civil courts exist to make money for lawyers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24066147)

If you are the defendant and you win, you still loose and if you loose, you loose more.

The word you're looking for is "lose."

Re:are you ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24066263)

but are you loose?

Re:Civil courts exist to make money for lawyers (3, Interesting)

Sique (173459) | more than 6 years ago | (#24066979)

That's why other juristictions have the principle that the cost gets shared between plaintiff and defendant by comparing the sums initially demanded and finally awarded. If you demand 100,000 initially and get awarded 5,000 in the end, then you have lost 95%, thus you have to pay 95% of the legal costs.

She said facetiously... (2, Interesting)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 6 years ago | (#24066187)

"Would somebody please shoot an official of the RIAA, so that they finally get the point?"

Of course I would not suggest such a thing in reality... but DAMN... are these people so far removed from reality that they don't know what people think of them? Or do they just not care what their customers think?

Re:She said facetiously... (1)

MR.Mic (937158) | more than 6 years ago | (#24066625)

Most of their customers don't even know what the RIAA is.

Re:She said facetiously... (2, Funny)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 6 years ago | (#24066769)

"Would somebody please shoot an official of the RIAA, so that they finally get the point?"

I'll do it. What server do they play on?

Someone should make a video game about lawyers (3, Funny)

dloyer (547728) | more than 6 years ago | (#24066197)

It would be a first person shooter.

The goal would be to kill as many villains (lawyers) as possible.

The hero would fight his way to the supreme court, leaving a long, bloody trail of greedy lawyers and corrupt judges.

Re:Someone should make a video game about lawyers (1)

TDyl (862130) | more than 6 years ago | (#24066411)

Great idea - I won't buy it though, just point me to a torrent.

Re:Someone should make a video game about lawyers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24068045)

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney?

wait..

Old joke, but oh so true... (2, Funny)

spike1 (675478) | more than 6 years ago | (#24066359)

What have lawyers and sperm got in common?

1 in 100,000,000 has the chance of becoming human.

Am I the only one... (1)

f_raze13 (982309) | more than 6 years ago | (#24066391)

Am I the only one who thought the story was about the RIAA suing a 3 year old?

Re:Am I the only one... (1)

barry99705 (895337) | more than 6 years ago | (#24067373)

I'm sure they have already.

Barratry (1)

wiredlogic (135348) | more than 6 years ago | (#24066451)

It would be nice if some of the more innocent victims of the RIAA assaults slapped them back with barratry lawsuits. The RIAA lawyers have already established a pattern of abuse with their shotgunning approach that shows that they are not acting in good faith.

Galling, it truly is. (2, Informative)

caladine (1290184) | more than 6 years ago | (#24067819)

Anyone else notice that the motion also seeks to sanction the defendant and her lawyer for "discovery abuse"? The RIAA's lawyers actually have the gall to accuse someone else of "discovery abuse"? If there's worse case of the pot calling the kettle black, please let me know.
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