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RIAA Lied To Congress About New Filesharing Suits

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the honestly-they're-all-at-the-cleaners dept.

The Courts 204

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "On December 23, 2008, the RIAA's Mitch Bainwol sent a letter to the Judiciary and Commerce Committees of both the House and Senate, falsely representing to them that the RIAA 'discontinued initiating new lawsuits in August.' A copy of the letter is online (PDF). In fact, as many of you already know, the RIAA brought hundreds of new lawsuits since August. See, e.g., these 40 or so cases which just represent some of the cases brought in December." Maybe they're just taking a broad view of the world "initiate."

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204 comments

Hmm (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26749507)

I'm riddled with surprise.

Re:Hmm (2, Insightful)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 5 years ago | (#26750233)

As my brother would say, "I find that shocking." "Really?" "No."

RIAA should be prosecuted for perjury and contempt of Congress.

And this is news??? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26749509)

Saying RIAA lied is like saying the is sky blue or windows sucks. It's a well known fact.

-Rj-

Re:And this is news??? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26749665)

But without windows, how would we know if the sky was blue?

Re:And this is news??? (0, Troll)

h4rm0ny (722443) | more than 5 years ago | (#26750007)

Saying RIAA lied is like saying the is sky blue or windows sucks. It's a well known fact.

*Checks out of window - sees nothing but dark grey. Tries to recall last time Windows XP installation went wrong, realises it hasn't since installation a year ago*

Maybe, just maybe, you're talking shit.

Re:And this is news??? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26750251)

Tries to recall last time Windows XP installation went wrong, realises it hasn't since installation a year ago

Maybe, just maybe, you haven't turned on that computer in a year.

Is lying to Congress illegal? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26749515)

Is lying to Congress illegal? Is it considered perjury?

Re:Is lying to Congress illegal? (1)

ushering05401 (1086795) | more than 5 years ago | (#26749693)

Depends. Are you a professional baseball player accused of using steroids?

If so, yes, lying to congress is illegal.

Re:Is lying to Congress illegal? (3, Interesting)

OutSourcingIsTreason (734571) | more than 5 years ago | (#26751059)

And if you're a president lying to Congress about Saddam Hussein trying to buy yellow cake uranium in Niger, and thereby causing thousands of deaths, it's legal?

Re:Is lying to Congress illegal? (5, Funny)

noundi (1044080) | more than 5 years ago | (#26749905)

Is lying to Congress illegal? Is it considered perjury?

No but in RIAA's defence I think it's mandatory.

Re:Is lying to Congress illegal? (1)

Yez70 (924200) | more than 5 years ago | (#26749919)

Isn't that what they impeached Clinton for - lieing to congress? Mitch Bainwol needs to sit in jail for a year or two and think about it.

Re:Is lying to Congress illegal? (2, Informative)

Gyga (873992) | more than 5 years ago | (#26750177)

Clinton was under oath, I don't think the RIAA was.

Re:Is lying to Congress illegal? (1)

Big Hairy Ian (1155547) | more than 5 years ago | (#26750095)

Is lying to Congress illegal? Is it considered perjury?

I hope not I don't think the USA has the prison capacity to cope with that

Re:Is lying to Congress illegal? (1)

ilo.v (1445373) | more than 5 years ago | (#26750253)

Is lying to Congress illegal? Is it considered perjury?

It depends. How much money you have donated to their reelection campaigns recently?

Re:Is lying to Congress illegal? (1)

ta bu shi da yu (687699) | more than 5 years ago | (#26750291)

If it was, the jails would be more full than usual. Perhaps it's time to implement perjury in this context!

Re:Is lying to Congress illegal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26750337)

Depends on the circumstances. Congress, like the court system, has the power to take sworn statements and testimony. However, not all communication with congress is sworn testimony.

For example, the reason some baseball players are in hot water is that they gave sworn testimony in a congressional probe of steroids in baseball.

It's perfectly possible to give testimony or information to congress without being sworn in (I seem to recall whether to require sworn testimony came up when the auto CEO's went to Washington recently).

Re:Is lying to Congress illegal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26750377)

Is lying to Congress illegal? Is it considered perjury?

yes some one has said that to me.. i have read it somewhere.. from
pinoy2

Re:Is lying to Congress illegal? (5, Funny)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 5 years ago | (#26750553)

Is lying to Congress illegal? Is it considered perjury?

I do not recall.

Re:Is lying to Congress illegal? (5, Insightful)

NicknamesAreStupid (1040118) | more than 5 years ago | (#26751005)

It is illegal for people who testify before Congress under oath to lie (perjury). However, there is no law against organizations misrepresenting themselves in such a way. Corporations do not take an oath, people do. Therefore, if you can construct an organization that can misrepresent itself through its people without those individuals who testify under oath actually testifying a known (to themselves) falsehood, then you have a legal loophole. You might think that in order to construct such an organization there must be a conscious and concerted effort among the leaders to create such a deception, but that is not necessarily true. If the charter of the company is in line with its need for self-preservation and sustained growth, you might envision how its "misguided" practices might ignore the rights of others and the laws that govern people. There are other remedies for corporations, but they are treated quite differently (and more differentially) than people. This may not seem right because it shouldn't be. However, half of all murders go unsolved, and that is not right but it is true.

Re:Is lying to Congress illegal? (1, Flamebait)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 5 years ago | (#26751169)

iANAL but IINM they can be charged with "Contempt of Congress". Except they can't, because the fix is in, the RIAA has bribed "your" and "my" representatives with campaign cash. There isn't a snowball in hell's chance of these scumbags ever being charged with anything.

You have no representation in the US government. Only corporations and the very rich are represented.

OT but on the same note, Madoff will never be put in a cell despite his stealing fifty billion dollars.

Re:Is lying to Congress illegal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26751263)

YES: Barry Bonds indicted on perjury,

Congress will pass whatever the RIAA wants (1, Redundant)

viking80 (697716) | more than 5 years ago | (#26749517)

Congress will pass whatever the RIAA wants

Slashbots will post whatever populisms they want. (2, Funny)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 5 years ago | (#26749811)

Slashbots will post whatever populisms they want.

Re:Slashbots will post whatever populisms they wan (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26750861)

Slashbots will post whatever populisms they want.

In Soviet Russia.....

But congress has the power to make you change (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26751125)

A slashbot posts that copyright should be removed.

Nothing changes.

Congress posts that copyright should be extended.

Copyright is extended.

Congress has thugs (police) to enforce their decisions.

slashbots don't.

Re:Congress will pass whatever the RIAA wants (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26749973)

Congress will pass whatever the RIAA wants

Especially now that it's controlled by DEMOCRATS.

Remember, you can't spell DMCA without a D.

And if you think this is nothing more than a troll, go dig through OpenSecrets.org and figure out which party is owned lock, stock, and barrel by the MAFIAA.

Somehow I doubt (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26749547)

that this will result in any form of purgery charges for said lawyer, or any form of legal consequence.

The RIAA seems to enjoy making a mockery of the legal system and legal process.

Re:Somehow I doubt (4, Insightful)

johanw (1001493) | more than 5 years ago | (#26749589)

They have learned a lot from their teachers in the scientology cult, and are now perfecting it. It's about time that China (I can see noone else with sufficient power) drops IP laws altogether and forces the rest of the world to just cope with it. At least they have a threat the US fears: if they dump all their US dollars the yearly US inflation will reach 4-digit numbers.

Re:Somehow I doubt (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26749643)

if they dump all their US dollars the yearly US inflation will reach 4-digit numbers.

They can't start dumping anything because they have a shitload of dollars: If the dollar goes down, so does the Chinese economy. The same goes for most economies of course but China is by far more reliant on the dollar than others...

Re:Somehow I doubt (1)

dafdaf (319484) | more than 5 years ago | (#26750615)

Yeah. That's what makes the whole system interesting. If the USD is subject to massive inflation, nearly all countries will loose but the US would win - because of it's massive dept. :-)

Re:Somehow I doubt (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26750809)

If the dollar goes down, so does the Chinese economy. The same goes for most economies of course but China is by far more reliant on the dollar than others...

If China destroys the American dollar, they have a huge manufacturing base that will be happy to sell goods for Euros.

Re:Somehow I doubt (2, Interesting)

johanw (1001493) | more than 5 years ago | (#26750817)

Dumping their dollars (and losing their value in the process) is still far cheaper for them than to start a conventional war. And what other are those dollard good for otherwise? It's not that they have any realistic chance of ever spending most of them for real products or services.

Re:Somehow I doubt (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#26750843)

It's about time that China (I can see noone else with sufficient power) drops IP laws altogether and forces the rest of the world to just cope with it

You know, there is a happy medium somewhere between "absolutely no IP laws whatsoever" and lifetime + 100 year copyrights. And if China did that they'd instigate a trade world that would drag down the global economy and do them at least as much (if not more) harm as it would to the US or anybody else.

Re:Somehow I doubt (1)

jank1887 (815982) | more than 5 years ago | (#26751145)

Too big to fail. Applies to national economies as well as big banks and automakers. Gotta love it.

RIAA Lied (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26749563)

In other news grass is green, bears defecate in the woods. More at 11.

Re:RIAA Lied (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26749813)

OMFG!!!

um, what does defecate mean?

And in the end. (1)

k-macjapan (1271084) | more than 5 years ago | (#26749581)

While we all know that they are scum will anything really come out of this? Here's hoping...

Re:And in the end. (1)

troll8901 (1397145) | more than 5 years ago | (#26749843)

To fight against the ruthless commercial world ... I say, it's time to go back to the basics, and fight like real men!

Let's all be pirates [wikipedia.org]!

RIAA owns the Dept of Justice (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26749607)

According to this [gizmodo.com] link on Gizmodo.

Hey idiots (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26749623)

Stop stealing music.

Also, goatse [goatse.fr]. I better check if that's still there.

Steal this song (4, Funny)

jessica_alba (1234100) | more than 5 years ago | (#26749771)

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world

Re:Steal this song (4, Funny)

liegeofmelkor (978577) | more than 5 years ago | (#26749797)

Talk like that just gets you shot!

Re:Steal this song (2, Interesting)

troll8901 (1397145) | more than 5 years ago | (#26749879)

One day, far in the future, we'll look back at the past (c. 2050), and shake our heads, and wonder why greed and other sins were so prevalent.

Re:Steal this song (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 5 years ago | (#26750365)

One day, far in the future, we'll look back at the past (c. 2050), and shake our heads, and wonder why people thought a "commonwealth" society could work. All it encourages is parasitism of the slothful upon the industrious.

Re:Steal this song (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26749821)

Start by sharing your girlfriend please.
See the catch?

Re:Steal this song (0, Offtopic)

iNaya (1049686) | more than 5 years ago | (#26749883)

Well, you see, people on Slashdot don't have girlfriends... so if girlfriends were shared, that could very well benefit him (this Jessica Alba is obviously a male).

Re:Steal this song (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26749917)

Your attitude to women as property may be the reason you're looking for sloppy seconds ;)

Re:Steal this song (0, Offtopic)

genner (694963) | more than 5 years ago | (#26750947)

Your attitude to women as property may be the reason you're looking for sloppy seconds ;)

Nah...he's just ugly.

Re:Steal this song (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26750409)

Your an idiot, commie.

Promissory estoppel? (3, Interesting)

Andy_R (114137) | more than 5 years ago | (#26749625)

Does this make promissory estoppel a defence in these new cases? (I didn't know what it was either until it was mentioned on /. a while back, basically it's legalese for 'hey no fair, they said they wouldn't sue if I did it'.)

Re:Promissory estoppel? (5, Informative)

adamchou (993073) | more than 5 years ago | (#26749833)

IANAL.... but my gf is =)

If my understanding is correct

1) Promissory estoppel is used for contract law and there was no contract initiated by the RIAA and the people so it wouldn't be valid here

2) The document linked to on Mr. Beckerman's site says they discontinued the lawsuits. They didn't specify a length of time that it would remain discontinued for so it'd seem to me they're free to start again when they wanted.

I'm not trying to take the RIAA's side... just making a point. I still hate them with a passion.

Re:Promissory estoppel? (4, Informative)

Kjella (173770) | more than 5 years ago | (#26749995)

1) Promissory estoppel is used for contract law and there was no contract initiated by the RIAA and the people so it wouldn't be valid here

Actually, it can apply if you make public statements or behavior that leads the general public to perform acts that'd otherwise be copyright infringement. It has happened with fictional works that have been presented as fact, when the author later tried to claim copyright infringement it was barred by estoppel (Arica Institute, Inc. v. Palmer, 970 F.2d 1067 (2d Cir. 1992).

However, there is a considerable gap between the RIAA publicly admitting to changing legal strategy and the RIAA giving implicit permission to non-commercial copying of their works. As long as tjey don't give the impression that this is legal, whether infringements can be effectively prosecuted or not, I don't see that estoppel applies.

Re:Promissory estoppel? (5, Funny)

YourExperiment (1081089) | more than 5 years ago | (#26750109)

IANAL.... but my gf is =)

Yeah, my gf loves that too. Oh wait, sorry...

Re:Promissory estoppel? (-1, Redundant)

troll8901 (1397145) | more than 5 years ago | (#26750275)

Yeah, my gf loves that too.

LIAR !!!

Somebody else already declared that "people on Slashdot don't have girlfriends...", so your premise can't be true!

Oh wait, you mean Google Fembot? Sorry, my bad.

As the famous saying goes.. (1)

Erez.Hadad (1131843) | more than 5 years ago | (#26749691)

First kill all the lawyers!

Re:As the famous saying goes.. (2, Informative)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 5 years ago | (#26751237)

Attribution: William Shakespeare. Note that the character who mouthed that phrase was a criminal.

If you ever face a divorce or bankrupcy or DUI or are in the wrong place at the wrong time, you're going to need a lawyer. When you need a lawyer you NEED a lawyer. The problem isn't the lawyers, it's the laws and the lawmakers.

It's a trap (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26749765)

They were probably trying to encourage more downloading = more people to sue for profit.

I say we take up arms... (3, Interesting)

macraig (621737) | more than 5 years ago | (#26749861)

... and use good old-fashioned violence. The effectiveness of physical violence in achieving goals is much underrated these days. I seem to recall the American Revolution involved a bit of violence, didn't it, and we trumpet the success and worthiness of that violence in every classroom in the country, right? A second revolution in these not-so-entirely-United States seems a bit overdue. We have more than a few barons and overlords and Captains of Industry just begging to be introduced to a guillotine. I think the folks in Texas would readily understand this notion that some people just need killin' (http://bennettandbennett.com/blog/2007/11/texas-murder-sentences-probation-to.html).

What sort of revolutionary vigilante violence might we visit upon the RIAA's clients and its sympathizers in Congress?

Re:I say we take up arms... (1)

CaptainOfSpray (1229754) | more than 5 years ago | (#26750009)

>What sort of revolutionary vigilante violence might we visit upon the RIAA's clients and its sympathizers in Congress?

Windfall tax, 100%. Take the lawyers for every cent of their fees, and the RIAA for every cent of the settlements. And then throw them into Boston Harbour.

Re:I say we take up arms... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26750691)

Windfall tax, 100%. Take the lawyers for every cent of their fees, and the RIAA for every cent of the settlements. And then throw them into Boston Harbour.

Lite Brite images cause panics in Boston and you want to fill the harbour with sharks?

Re:I say we take up arms... (2, Interesting)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 5 years ago | (#26750331)

Shoot the RIAA CEO in the head. I promise you his replacement will be afraid and discontinue the extortionate letters to citizens.

initiate (1)

kae_verens (523642) | more than 5 years ago | (#26749863)

well yeah, you could say that the alleged downloaders did the actual initiating by taunting the poor little RIAA du.

the old "he started it!" defence

if mr. obama loves US like he says; (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26749935)

he'd curtail that insidious 'cloud' spraying program, which continues to prevent sunlight from warming our near frozen babies. some of our neighbors do not have fuel oil to badtoll the sub-arctic chill. thanks for nothing so far mr. b.

I'm shocked (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26750141)

I say shocked to find RIAA engaging in unethical and dishonest behavior.

I don't get it. (1)

Godji (957148) | more than 5 years ago | (#26750199)

OK, so the power of the RIAA's lawsuits was not so much in the money they were going to extract from victims, but rather the general fear that ensued.

Then the RIAA goes on to say they won't be doing that anymore, thus discontinuing the fear.

But they never actually stopped, only gave up some of their power (fear is power in their case).

Could anyone please find some logic in this?

Re:I don't get it. (1)

rdnetto (955205) | more than 5 years ago | (#26750743)

You were expecting the RIAA to act logically? I suppose you also believe that CD sales are down due to piracy...

Re:I don't get it. (1)

genner (694963) | more than 5 years ago | (#26751073)

Could anyone please find some logic in this?

It's business logic...also known as non-logic.....also known as stupidity.

Like the Judges have been saying (1)

Demonantis (1340557) | more than 5 years ago | (#26750289)

Judges in RIAA cases have been saying this for a long time. The RIAA is acting like a bully and abusing the fact poorly organized law is on their side. Microsoft did it with their antitrust case. These large corporations or associations are just to large to be legally accountable for their actions. The scary part is that they know it.

Re:Like the Judges have been saying (1)

Mikkeles (698461) | more than 5 years ago | (#26750401)

Probably apocryphal, but I heard of one judge declaring "[Companies] have no bodies to kick, nor souls to damn; so you're all responsible [referring to the directors/owners]".

I think this is a good attitude.

Hmm Probably... (0, Redundant)

iammani (1392285) | more than 5 years ago | (#26750307)

Discontinued in August and restarted the lawsuits in September. Technically that not a lie.

PS: Looks like I should been a lawyer.

Th Information Prohibition 1996-2010 (3, Insightful)

kulakovich (580584) | more than 5 years ago | (#26750381)

Never has there been such a parallel in our history. The Prohibition in the United States, from 1920 to 1933, and the Information Prohibition, 1996-2010.

A close second is the novel Dune and the parallel to the Clinton/Bush/Obama triumvirate.

Enjoy your history humans, you're living it.

~kulakovich

Re:Th Information Prohibition 1996-2010 (1)

ShipIt (674797) | more than 5 years ago | (#26750643)

I just recently read Dune for the first time. Did I miss something? Triumvirate? Space Guild / Bene Gesserit / Emperor? Still don't see the parallel with the federal executive branch (though it's early and caffeine levels are low)

Re:Th Information Prohibition 1996-2010 (1)

kulakovich (580584) | more than 5 years ago | (#26750941)

ohai - I was thinking more Atreides/Beast Rabban/Paul especially given the past 20 years, the Fremen, etc.

/tongue-in-cheek-sorta-odd-though

I'm shocked (0, Redundant)

infalliable (1239578) | more than 5 years ago | (#26750423)

No way! The RIAA would never lie, exaggerate the truth, or have selected memories in regards to the truth.

The RIAA needs Letters of Transit .. (0, Redundant)

ubrgeek (679399) | more than 5 years ago | (#26750547)

Captain Renault: I'm shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!

Nothing will be done to the RIAA (1)

das3cr (780388) | more than 5 years ago | (#26750855)

Who would you take a case to? The DOJ?

Oh wait, the DOJ and the RIAA are basically clones now. I'm sure this DOJ will be labeled the most corrupted political appointment in history.

Perjury Charges NOW (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26750967)

Lets go after the RIAA for lying to Congress with the same vigor that they have been hounding Roger Clemmens.

Eww Rahh!!

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