Beta

Slashdot: News for Nerds

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

RIAA Backs Down In Texas Case

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the ain't-room-in-this-town-for-both dept.

The Courts 221

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "After receiving a Rule 11 Sanctions Motion (PDF) in a Houston, Texas, case, UMG Recordings v. Lanzoni, the RIAA lawyers thought better of proceeding with the case, and agreed to voluntarily dismiss the case 'with prejudice', which means it is over and cannot be brought again. The defendant's motion papers detailed some of the RIAA's litigation history against innocent individuals, such as Capitol Records v. Foster and Atlantic Recording v. Andersen, and argued that the awarding of attorneys fees in those cases has not sufficiently deterred repetition of the misconduct, so that a stronger remedy — Rule 11 sanctions — is now called for."

cancel ×

221 comments

Spiffy! (4, Funny)

MHaz (979244) | more than 5 years ago | (#27332643)

Wow... They were stared down, and blinked...

Re:Spiffy! (5, Insightful)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 5 years ago | (#27333013)

Given the fact that the size of the fines rule 11 sanctions are set by the judge (not predetermined) I'd say it's more like they leveled a howitzer on the RIAA and the RIAA blinked. Sure, the howitzer might not be loaded, but is it really worth the risk?

Re:Spiffy! (4, Funny)

jd (1658) | more than 5 years ago | (#27333467)

Somehow I don't think it was the howitzer that was at risk of being leveled. Now, the RIAA, on the other hand...

Re:Spiffy! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27333557)

whooosh

Re:Spiffy! (5, Insightful)

Andy_R (114137) | more than 5 years ago | (#27333609)

The size of the fine is set by the judge, but here's what the plaintiff asked the judge for (taken from the last paragraph of the pdf.)

"In this case, the Court should award Defendant Lanzoni all of her costs and expenses in defending this lawsuit. In addition, this Court should make a finding that the use of an IP address to identify the defendant in a peer-to-peer copyright infringement case is not sufficiently reliable for the Plaintiffs to rely upon..."

Maybe I'm just not that good at reading legalese, but if that means 'I don't want $big$money$ from the RIAA, I want the court to rule that from now on nobody can be sued based on their IP address' then I'm very impressed with the defendant's decision to place the greater good over their own financial gain.

Re:Spiffy! (5, Funny)

netruner (588721) | more than 5 years ago | (#27334531)

"you've got to ask yourself one question. 'Do I feel lucky?', well, do ya punk?"

Dirty Harry, its characters and quotes are copyrights of Warner Brothers(TM). The above quote is only meant as a humorous reference to a pop culture icon and is not meant as a performance of copyrighted material.

Re:Spiffy! (1)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 5 years ago | (#27333663)

Wow... They were stared down, and blinked...

More like they've been staring into space, and just woke up.

They don't need the litigation anymore (5, Insightful)

greenbird (859670) | more than 5 years ago | (#27332667)

They're getting to the point they don't need the litigation anymore. They're setting it up so either everyone is forced to pay into their welfare system for a failed industry through a tax on all internet connectivity or they can, without proof or recourse, have you disconnected from the internet.

Re:They don't need the litigation anymore (3, Informative)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 5 years ago | (#27332845)

Actually, disconnection could be appealed to the FCC. Interfering with communication systems (jamming, disconnecting) is illegal for freedom of speech reasons.

Re:They don't need the litigation anymore (2, Informative)

Yamamato (1513927) | more than 5 years ago | (#27332917)

Except the fact that the ISP would point out the clause in your contract that you agreed to that says that they can terminate your service for TOS violations.

Re:They don't need the litigation anymore (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27333059)

Except the fact that they have no proof of a TOS violation and only shut you off on the say-so of a corporation known to falsely accuse people of said violation.

Re:They don't need the litigation anymore (3, Informative)

tripdizzle (1386273) | more than 5 years ago | (#27333271)

Have you read at TOS? Its hard to even breathe and not break it, at least for me and this one

http://www.comcast.net/terms/use/ [comcast.net]

Re:They don't need the litigation anymore (4, Funny)

jd (1658) | more than 5 years ago | (#27333539)

Your ISP still allows breathing?

Re:They don't need the litigation anymore (1)

Bill_the_Engineer (772575) | more than 5 years ago | (#27334269)

I am not a lawyer, but the TOS you linked says (emphasis mine):

In the section on technical restrictions, it says the you are not allowed to:

use or run programs from the Premises that provide network content or any other services to anyone outside of your Premises LAN, except for personal and non-commercial residential use;

So it appears that using TightVNC for your own personal use is allowed by this clause.

Re:They don't need the litigation anymore (0)

Hordeking (1237940) | more than 5 years ago | (#27333915)

Except the fact that they have no proof of a TOS violation and only shut you off on the say-so of a corporation known to falsely accuse people of said violation.

Not that a TOS is a legally binding contract...

Re:They don't need the litigation anymore (2, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 5 years ago | (#27333941)

They don't need "proof." There is no law that says your cable or phone company *has* to provide you with internet service (it's not a property right like public education). They can cut you off at any time for any reason, and the most you could sue them for would be a breach of contract lawsuit which would get you at most a 1 month cash refund. That's why the RIAA/MPAA thugs like this approach so much. They no longer have to deal with messy lawsuits where someone might actually question their evidence and how it was obtained. They just go to your ISP, say "Cut this guy off, we think he's pirating" and BAM, you're off the internet for good!

Re:They don't need the litigation anymore (2, Insightful)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 5 years ago | (#27334195)

They don't need "proof." There is no law that says your cable or phone company *has* to provide you with internet service (it's not a property right like public education).

Yes, there is. Consumer protection laws.

it's not a property right like public education)

Public education is not a property right, it's a civil right, you Libertarian moron.

Re:They don't need the litigation anymore (1)

tripdizzle (1386273) | more than 5 years ago | (#27333235)

Exactly, people need to start reading those agreements. I read mine with Comcast for an assignment last week, and found out I am not allowed to host a website or even remotely connect to my home with the service I am currently subscribed to. If they find that I am doing either of these, they can disconnect me w/o warning and not accept me back as a customer if they choose. Of course, I do both these things regularly (I use TightVNC, so with their broad wording, I am violating both the hosting and remote access restrictions)so I am just waiting for them to take some type of action, I which case I will have to just find a new ISP.

Re:They don't need the litigation anymore (1)

Chosen Reject (842143) | more than 5 years ago | (#27333423)

If at all possible, keep that connection open. According to the PDF, the defendant proved she was at work at the time of the infringement and considers this proof that she is innocent. So use your VNC connection from work to share all your files, then just before you head home, stop your p2p software.

Re:They don't need the litigation anymore (2, Interesting)

Yamamato (1513927) | more than 5 years ago | (#27333241)

If you actually went to the FCC with such a complaint you'd be laughed at for confusing the disconnection of ISP service (which you have no right to have) with the jamming of telephones, radios, etc which is actually illegal.

Re:They don't need the litigation anymore (3, Interesting)

ggraham412 (1492023) | more than 5 years ago | (#27333195)

They're setting it up so either everyone is forced to pay into their welfare system for a failed industry through a tax on all internet connectivity or they can, without proof or recourse, have you disconnected from the internet.

It could actually be a good development. If everyone were forced to pay, everyone would share an interest in stopping RIAA. The way things are now, only people unlucky enough to have been sued have an interest in stopping them.

I consciously don't buy music anymore. I don't pirate it either. I just do without. Why? Because I can't bring myself to give my hard earned money to the thieving cocksuckers that comprise the RIAA and contribute to their program of turning the internet into a police state. Nothing that they can possibly produce is worth giving up on our freedoms.

Re:They don't need the litigation anymore (5, Informative)

Chris Tucker (302549) | more than 5 years ago | (#27333667)

"I consciously don't buy music anymore."

Do as I do. Buy used CDs. Here in the Greater Boston/Cambridge/Somerville Co-Prosperity Sphere, there are several used CD/DVD shops. Sure, you may have to wait a few weeks to get the latest CD, but RIAA never sees a penny of your money.

And many artists sell CDs on their websites. Yeah, they buy them from the record companies, but they, the artists, get to keep the money from the CD sales.

Finally, local bands almost always have CDs they burn themselves. Supporting local artists with purchases is the best thing you can do to keep independent artists making music.

Re:They don't need the litigation anymore (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27334399)

Technically the RIAA never sees a penny of your money, but you are removing copies of the record from the market, making it marginally more likely (with each purchase) that someone needing the record will have to purchase it new.

Just sayin'.

I couldn't possibly do without music (3, Insightful)

Mateo_LeFou (859634) | more than 5 years ago | (#27333923)

Thank god there are thousands of artists making music every single day and sharing it under acceptable terms. Cf. jamendo, magnatune, etc.

Ah snap! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27332673)

Got all 'Rule 11' on yo' ass!

And this means what? (4, Interesting)

Dusty00 (1106595) | more than 5 years ago | (#27332689)

First to NewYorkCountryLawyer, thanks from all of us for fighting the good fight!

And a question, what is the impact of these sanctions? Could this cost the RIAA enough to really act as a deterrent? Also, if at all how is this relevant in future cases?

Re:And this means what? (2, Informative)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 5 years ago | (#27332811)

Could this cost the RIAA enough to really act as a deterrent? Also, if at all how is this relevant in future cases?

If you read the motion (especially the conclusion), it will help answer these questions. It's a pretty quick read and isn't very difficult to understand (just a few terms that may cause someone to stumble if they don't have a legal background).

Re:And this means what? (1)

jonnythan (79727) | more than 5 years ago | (#27333105)

Keep in mind that said document is a motion filed by the defense - it is not a court ruling or decision. You can say virtually anything you want in a motion.

The RIAA felt the thread of the motion being granted was sufficient to back out of the case entirely, though.

Re:And this means what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27333627)

Rule 11 sanctions are worse than fines, its like having a bad reference on your resume. Its a (not so) little black mark that says 'You are a bad lawyer who likes to get cute.

Judges don't like people who get cute. Especially prosecutors.

Re:And this means what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27332957)

Rules 11 sanction punishes the plaintiff (in this case RIAA) - and usually would have forced RIAA to pay the defendent's legal fees. But in this case, the defendents have asked for more : "Even though
attorneys' fees have been awarded against the Plaintiffs in the past, the objective of
deterrence has not been achieved. It is apparent that stronger sanctions are needed in
order to achieve deterrence.
In this case, the Court should award Defendant Lanzoni all of her costs and
expenses in defending this lawsuit. In addition, this Court should make a finding that the
use of an IP address to identify the defendant in a peer-to-peer copyright infringement
case is not sufficiently reliable for the Plaintiffs to rely upon that alone as their Rule 11
basis for suing an individual.
The principles of collateral estoppel will apply to these
Plaintiffs, and they can be prevented from doing this again in future cases."

In other words - it would force RIAA to stop using IP address as the primary reason to sue an individual.

Re:And this means what? (5, Informative)

NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) | more than 5 years ago | (#27332979)

First to NewYorkCountryLawyer, thanks from all of us for fighting the good fight!

Thanks. And thank you for your support.

And a question, what is the impact of these sanctions?

Sanctions weren't awarded; the motion was withdrawn because the RIAA, rather than risk sanctions, withdrew the case within the "safe harbor" period.

Could this cost the RIAA enough to really act as a deterrent?

Absolutely. There is nothing a lawyer should fear more than a sanctions ruling.

Also, if at all how is this relevant in future cases?

Highly relevant. This incident will encourage other defendant's lawyers to make early Rule 11 motions. And the attorney, veteran IP litigator Sid Leach, prepared excellent discovery documents and motion papers, which the rest of us will be able to consult and borrow from in the future.

Re:And this means what? (4, Informative)

644bd346996 (1012333) | more than 5 years ago | (#27333199)

So, in other words, this won't dissuade the RIAA one whit, but it might make it hard for them to find lawyers willing to work for them.

Re:And this means what? (5, Interesting)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#27333229)

Ray,

I'd be curious to know if you have any wisdom to share regarding the new direction that RIAA seems to be taking. Namely that of signing agreements [slashdot.org] with ISPs to get them to do the dirty work instead.

This seems like something that the end user will have very little recourse over. Virtually every ISP agreement I've ever read gives them the right to deny you service for whatever reason they wish -- but how is that remotely just if it's based on the same lack of evidence that RIAA failed to use in the court system?

How (if at all) can the people who inevitably wind up being wrongfully accused fight this?

Re:And this means what? (5, Insightful)

NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) | more than 5 years ago | (#27333327)

I'd be curious to know if you have any wisdom to share regarding the new direction that RIAA seems to be taking.

The only wisdom I have to share at this point is : if you find out your ISP is in league with the RIAA, change ISP's, and let them know why you left.

Re:And this means what? (3, Interesting)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#27333613)

I have that option -- at least until Verizon joins the bandwagon -- but how many people don't?

Re:And this means what? (2, Insightful)

Splab (574204) | more than 5 years ago | (#27334113)

This is when small companies start to thrive again.

Suddenly the monoliths are too big and greedy to carry their own weight and the small agile less corrupt will be ready on the sidelines picking up the spill.

Re:And this means what? (4, Interesting)

greenbird (859670) | more than 5 years ago | (#27333661)

The only wisdom I have to share at this point is : if you find out your ISP is in league with the RIAA, change ISP's, and let them know why you left.

The only problem being that for most people the options are very limited and the way it's set up now it's nigh on impossible to start an ISP outside of the incumbent cable and phone companies. So if both members in your area (most people are lucky if they have 2 options: cable and phone company) of the current oligarchy opt into the RIAA system your options are much slower broadband at best or dialip.

.

Alas (1, Offtopic)

Mateo_LeFou (859634) | more than 5 years ago | (#27333973)

The RIAA, as per that other article, isn't disclosing which ISPs it has in its pocket.

Oh, and furthermore it'll be all of 'em any day now anyway, won't it? Little ISPs that don't play ball will be broken like champagne flutes.

Re:And this means what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27334319)

The problem with that is that the RIAA isn't disclosing which ISPs it is partnering with. So until people start getting disconnected, we're basically taking a shot in the dark.

Re:And this means what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27333391)

He made a typo on page 13, second paragraph:

A district court judge generally has broad discretion is determining the amount of sanctions to be imposed.

Other than that, great. I hope those who file these in similar cases follow through with it.

Re:And this means what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27333721)

This might be just my bad taste, but I find it rather amusing that the defense attorney in a copyright infringement case would be named Leach.

waste of money (4, Insightful)

FadedTimes (581715) | more than 5 years ago | (#27332709)

When will the RIAA stop wasting money on these cases? There is no way they are ever going to win settlements or recover damages that offset their cost it takes to litigate. I guess the RIAA lawyers are making money though, not like they are going to recommend to stop the pursuit.

Re:waste of money (4, Insightful)

torkus (1133985) | more than 5 years ago | (#27332837)

They don't need to make money on the cases. In fact, they can spend $1m on legal fees for a $100k judgment and still come out ahead.

Why?

Because it motivates the other 99,999 people that got 'settlement offers' of $5-10k to pay up. Sad, but true.

Re:waste of money (4, Insightful)

whoever57 (658626) | more than 5 years ago | (#27332857)

When will the RIAA stop wasting money on these cases?

From the RIAA's point of veiw, they are not "wasting money". The organization makes a profit from these lawsuits (and the associated settlements). It's only when either:
1. The lawyers are likely to lose their licenses or:
2. The lawsuit/settlement program stops being profitable.
that they will stop the lawsuits.

Re:waste of money (1)

Gorphrim (11654) | more than 5 years ago | (#27333909)

Well, they might not stop the current lawsuits until then, but as we already learned (http://news.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=08/12/19/131227&tid=123), there will be no more new lawsuits.

Re:waste of money (1)

whoever57 (658626) | more than 5 years ago | (#27334275)

Well, they might not stop the current lawsuits until then, but as we already learned (http://news.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=08/12/19/131227&tid=123), there will be no more new lawsuits.

Please keep up. There are new lawsuits since that announcement.

Re:waste of money (5, Interesting)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 5 years ago | (#27333009)

When will the RIAA stop wasting money on these cases?

They won't. The old business model is dead, and the new business model is brain dead. The old model was that it cost uberbucks to record an album, so the artist couldn't make a record without the labels.

Now, the price of recording has come down to the point that anybody can record an album in a professional studio and have the CDs professionally pressed and packaged for as little as $1 per copy.

This leaves the labels to distribute and market, and marketing means radio. You have to be on a major label to get on the radio.

The independants have the internet and P2P, and THIS is what the labels are trying to kill; it's about stifling the competetion.

The new business model is paid downloads. The trouble with this is the indies are giving FREE downloads for promotion and making their money off CDs and live shows.

The music industry as we knew it is dead, and I for one am glad. The RIAA labels' days are numbered, and they won't be able to steal from their artists and customers for too much longer.

Lawrence Lessig talks about the four reasons for P2P in his book Free Culture. Cory Doctorow talks about it in the preface to his book Little Brother, which has been on the NYT best seller list. You can buy either book at any bookstore, or check it out for free at your local public library, or download them for free from the authors' prospective websites.

Both books are making a handy profit. As I said, Doctorow's is a best seller, which kind of puts the lie to the RIAA's pathetic whining.

Re:waste of money (2, Insightful)

Microlith (54737) | more than 5 years ago | (#27333835)

The independants have the internet and P2P, and THIS is what the labels are trying to kill; it's about stifling the competetion.

Show me one case where this is true and you can prove it. You're making the claim, so back it up.

While I have no doubt about the capability of independent bands to utilize the internet, I sincerely doubt that the sole reason for these lawsuits is to stifle their ability to use the internet to self-promote, and not the mass trading of works that RIAA member companies hold the rights to. No, couldn't possibly be.

The new business model is paid downloads.

And apparently it's doing quite well.

The trouble with this is the indies are giving FREE downloads for promotion and making their money off CDs and live shows.

And I'd wager that the majority of p2p-shared music isn't that of the indies, but that of the majors. You know, popular culture and all that.

I sincerely believe that the reasons are much simpler and don't lead back to this paranoid conspiracy that you propose. The suits are direct, scattershot with lots of collateral damage, and brick stupid. But not nearly as conspiratorial as you seem to believe.

Re:waste of money (5, Informative)

Splab (574204) | more than 5 years ago | (#27334193)

Actually he is somewhat right.

Here in Denmark a chain of shops that deal with items costing between $1 and $2 (guess you guys call them dollar stores?) has started its own label - it is a no bullshit label, you get 50% of profit from sales, default print I think is 1.000 CDs or 10.000 and the shop carries the risk.

CDs are selling like you wouldn't believe it - apparently people are willing to pay $2 for a CD from a group they never heard of (I for one am, heck if it sucks I can use it as a fancy coaster).

The olden ways are dead, just a matter of time.

So what happens with Rule 11? (4, Interesting)

mooingyak (720677) | more than 5 years ago | (#27332745)

A few questions for anyone who might know:

1. Does voluntarily dismissing the case with prejudice prevent them from getting sanctioned?

2. Independent of #1, what happens if you are sanctioned under Rule 11?

3. How often is a party sanctioned this way?

Re:So what happens with Rule 11? (5, Informative)

NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) | more than 5 years ago | (#27333039)

A few questions for anyone who might know: 1. Does voluntarily dismissing the case with prejudice prevent them from getting sanctioned?

Yes so long as they do it within the 21-day "safe harbor" period, which they did.

2. Independent of #1, what happens if you are sanctioned under Rule 11?

There are many possible penalties, from nominal to crushing... but for any attorney it's a huge black mark on his or her record.

3. How often is a party sanctioned this way?

Rarely. Rule 11 motions are rarely made. It is an extreme thing. I've only made a couple in my 30 years as a lawyer. One of them was against the RIAA lawyers.

Re:So what happens with Rule 11? (1)

mooingyak (720677) | more than 5 years ago | (#27333217)

Thank you.

I take it the RIAA attorneys felt it had an actual chance of being granted in this case?

Re:So what happens with Rule 11? (3, Informative)

Valdrax (32670) | more than 5 years ago | (#27333151)

1. Yes, if it's within 21 days after the motion for sanctions is filed.

2. The attorney has to pay fines with a goal of deterrence and not compensation. (If the attorney is poor, they'll be fined less.) The attorney's client can be held joint & severally liable. Your professional reputation as an attorney suffers, and in extreme circumstances, it might serve as pretty bad evidence towards an attorney malpractice suit or a disbarment hearing.

3. Extremely rarely. It's generally reserved for lawyers acting in very bad faith, and the 21 day safe harbor gives attorneys a way to amend the offending action. Courts are generally willing to give attorneys the benefit of the doubt on whether they did something with a good faith belief that it was true or not. Only a truly stubborn fool gets Rule 11 sanctioned most of the time.

Re:So what happens with Rule 11? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27333259)

1. Yes, at least Rule 11 sanctions, the safe harbor allows the party to avoid sanctions by dismissing the case before the motion is filed with the court.

2. The court orders the attorneys and/or the plaintiff to pay money. The attorney is not allowed to pass the cost on to their client if the attorney is sanctioned, and because of that it is a very strong deterrent.

3. Not often at all. Most attorneys will out of courtesy refrain from even making rule 11 motions in anything but the most severe cases of abuse. There are a few attorneys that make the motions often, but they are overwhelmingly denied.

IAAL.

I've always wondered (5, Insightful)

dixonpete (1267776) | more than 5 years ago | (#27332767)

Within a couple of years kids will be able to carry around and exchange thumb drives large enough to hold ALL of the music produced in the last decade. Aside from cavity searches how exactly is the RIAA expecting to stop that kind of sharing activity?

Re:I've always wondered (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27332819)

I think you answered your own question.

Two birds? (4, Funny)

Mateo_LeFou (859634) | more than 5 years ago | (#27334007)

While they're in there, maybe they should check for ibuprofen and save our school administrators some trouble?

Re:I've always wondered (1, Insightful)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 5 years ago | (#27333133)

Within a couple of years kids will be able to carry around and exchange thumb drives large enough to hold ALL of the music produced in the last decade

You can already carry around all the good music produced in the last decade on a mini CD, provided you use a compressed format. Personally I woudn't want all the music produced in the last decade.

There's a reason all the twenty somethings are playing '70s, '80s, and '90s rock in the bars to the other twentysomething patrons. Young people still have good taste, to the detriment of the RIAA labels.

Re:I've always wondered (3, Insightful)

Volante3192 (953645) | more than 5 years ago | (#27334055)

There's a reason all the twenty somethings are playing the hits of the '70s, '80s, and '90s rock in the bars to the other twentysomething patrons.

Let's not overlook the fact that there's always shovelware music made, we just don't remember it because, simply put, it was forgettable.

Re:I've always wondered (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27333323)

Cavity searches? Pffft. The goatse man can carry all of the music and movies (in HD) ever made.

Re:I've always wondered (1)

Foobar of Borg (690622) | more than 5 years ago | (#27333353)

Within a couple of years kids will be able to carry around and exchange thumb drives large enough to hold ALL of the music produced in the last decade. Aside from cavity searches how exactly is the RIAA expecting to stop that kind of sharing activity?

Well, that certainly makes this case [slashdot.org] a bit more important.

Re:I've always wondered (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27333651)

I think this is (and always has been) the case. Only one kid in every class downloads everything from the net, then they share it with there friends, and in 3 or 4 cycles everyone has the files. The media changed somewhat, from floppies, data tapes, to cd-roms, to flash drives, or even 2TB external harddisks.

If one way doesn't work... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27332775)

Well according to the summery the case was dropped because suing people is not enough of a deterrent and stronger measures need to be taken. Which if you think about it is exactly the RIAA's case against people. RIAA:"We are loosing money to piracy because there isn't enough consequences for pirating." So the motion 11 seemed to say "You can't sue because the consequence isn't enough to stop others from pirating."

Now we just have to watch out of blanket taxing and disconnects from ISP's held for ransom by the RIAA.

Re:If one way doesn't work... (2, Funny)

geekboy642 (799087) | more than 5 years ago | (#27333033)

You've misread the summary. Specifically, it is exactly the opposite of what you've surmised.

More details? In English? (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 5 years ago | (#27332795)

What is Rule 11? Is this a Texas rule or U.S. rule?

As a Texas resident, it would be nice to better understand what is happening in the event I may be falsely accused of any such thing. (Heck, even legitimately accused... I have two teenage boys who like music.)

From wikipedia (4, Informative)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 5 years ago | (#27332985)

For what it's worth, here is what wikipedia has on Rule 11 Sanctions

Rule 11 requires all papers to be signed by the attorney (if party is represented). It also provides for sanctions against the attorney or client for harassment, frivolous arguments, or a lack of factual investigation. The purpose of sanctions is deterrent, not punitive. Courts have broad discretion about the exact nature of the sanction which can include consent to in personam jurisdiction, fines, dismissal of claims, or dismissal of the entire case. The current version of Rule 11 is much more lenient than its 1983 version. Supporters of tort reform in Congress regularly call for legislation to make Rule 11 stricter.

Basically, it's a federal rule meant to deter abuses of the justice system and the fines can be practically whatever the judge wants them to be. That's a pretty scary prospect if you are concerned that you might have pissed off the judge enough that he would impose the sanctions on you, since you don't know how much money you stand to lose.

Re:More details? In English? (2, Informative)

Todd Knarr (15451) | more than 5 years ago | (#27333043)

Federal rule. Federal Rules of Civil Procedure Rule 11 [cornell.edu] about what an attorney filing a pleading, motion or paper is representing to the court. The key part is that it requires the attorney to represent that the filing is not just to harrass or annoy the other party and that it's not frivolous and has some basis in law and/or evidence.

Re:More details? In English? (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 5 years ago | (#27333121)

This begs the question as to why this hasn't been done long ago. Now that I know what it is and what its purpose is, why isn't it used more often?

Re:More details? In English? (0, Troll)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 5 years ago | (#27333529)

No, this poses the question...

Begging the question would mean that it is a non-logical circular argument.

Re:More details? In English? (1)

Zordak (123132) | more than 5 years ago | (#27333575)

It's not that uncommon for lawyers to file for R. 11 sanctions against each other (but don't expect to be friendly afterward). Probably some defense attorneys have asked for R. 11 sanctions against the RIAA lawyers. What's different here is that it looked bad enough that they plaintiffs thought the judge might actually grant them. That's why they dropped this thing and ran.

Re:More details? In English? (1)

Todd Knarr (15451) | more than 5 years ago | (#27334457)

Well, it's a really major thing. It's not saying the attorney being sanctioned made a mistake. It's saying that they didn't make a mistake, that they deliberately and knowingly lied to the court. Even when that's the honest truth, judges are loathe to level that charge at an attorney. So while Rule 11 sanctions are often asked for, they're usually only granted in extreme cases where the judge can't find any way of justifying not imposing them.

And yes, I do think they should be imposed more often. They shouldn't be routinely granted, but at least the second time an attorney does the same thing he should be smacked for it.

Re:More details? In English? (2, Informative)

Zordak (123132) | more than 5 years ago | (#27333525)

Rule 11 is federal. Texas Rule 13 is similar. But this is federal court, so federal rules apply.

What sanctions..? (3, Informative)

Captain Centropyge (1245886) | more than 5 years ago | (#27332803)

If you actually read TFA, it says...

In UMG Recordings v. Lanzoni, a Houston, Texas, case, the RIAA has voluntarily dismissed its case with prejudice, after being served with a Rule 11 motion.

Defendant never filed the Rule 11 motion with the Court, because the RIAA withdrew its case prior to the expiration of the 21-day "safe harbor" period.

So, no sanctions will actually be enforced. The defendant's threat of Rule 11 sanctions just scared them out of pursuing this particular case.

Re:What sanctions..? (2, Insightful)

shentino (1139071) | more than 5 years ago | (#27333225)

Since the RIAA is clearly going to lose, i wouldn't mind if NYCL didn't let them off the hook so easy. If possible.

Is the court obligated to accept their dismissal?

Haven't the defendants suffered harm thus far?

I wish there was a way for the defendants to countersue the RIAA for malicious prosecution or something. A few million dollars in punitive damages against the RIAA would send a signal, methinks.

Also, I would rather some legal precedent be established in the defendant's favor so that the RIAA would get leashed and stopped from further harassing other defendants.

The RIAA needs (3, Insightful)

stonewallred (1465497) | more than 5 years ago | (#27332847)

to be driven into bankruptcy. The BS of dropping the suit because they see they can not win is just that, BS. The judge should prevent them from filing anymore cases in his district, since logically they can't win this one(their POV) so they could not win any others.

Re:The RIAA needs (1)

Captain Centropyge (1245886) | more than 5 years ago | (#27333109)

The RIAA needs to be driven into bankruptcy.

And then they just get some of our bailout money...

Re:The RIAA needs (3, Interesting)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 5 years ago | (#27333231)

In England, there is the possibility of being declared a "vexatious litigant", which severely restricts your ability to bring lawsuits.

Is there an equivalent in the US, and if so, how close are the RIAA to being placed on the list?

Re:The RIAA needs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27334515)

We have the same thing. In fact, NYCL was accused of being a vexatious litigant, IIRC.

What about the financial harm caused? (3, Insightful)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 5 years ago | (#27332849)

I just love how RIAA walks-away from a case, with no punishment. How am I... I mean the defendant supposed to recover the 20,000 dollars and 4 years wasted on this case? (At this point a shot to the head of CEO seems like good compensation.)

Re:What about the financial harm caused? (4, Insightful)

Drakkenmensch (1255800) | more than 5 years ago | (#27333167)

This is the legal equivalent of threatening to mug someone at knifepoint, but saying "ha ha ha it was just a joke!" when the person calls the cops, and being let off free.

Re:What about the financial harm caused? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27333203)

No, they dismissed with prejudice. So, defendant was prevailing party, and thus, under the provisions of copyright law, is presumtively entitled to her fees and costs, if I understand the rules correctly...

I sure hope her attourney files, and the judge uses a significant multiplier on the fees...

Re:What about the financial harm caused? (3, Interesting)

CorporateSuit (1319461) | more than 5 years ago | (#27333265)

I sure hope her attourney files, and the judge uses a significant multiplier on the fees...

Perhaps the same multiplier the RIAA uses to calculate damages per mp3?

Re:What about the financial harm caused? (1)

Kippesoep (712796) | more than 5 years ago | (#27333889)

As in: the kind that causes overflows on 32bit CPUs?

Re:What about the financial harm caused? (1)

kenp2002 (545495) | more than 5 years ago | (#27333269)

A counter suit for malicious or frivolous prosecution is the next step. More then likely they would settle out of court on that since the evidence was strong enough for their case to fall part\get dismissed\etc. Hell you could small claims court them and probably get a no-show for a quick8 grand. The airline ticket\hotel for their attourney would probably be at least $1200.

Could have been a lot worse (4, Funny)

serutan (259622) | more than 5 years ago | (#27332947)

They could have received a Rule 34 sanction.

Re:Could have been a lot worse (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27333653)

They could have received a Rule 34 sanction.

Or a Godwin's Rule sanction.

Re:Could have been a lot worse (1)

Migraineman (632203) | more than 5 years ago | (#27333769)

I had the same thought. I also have a very vivid imagination.

Rule 34, defined... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27333789)

... by XKCD: http://xkcd.com/305/ [xkcd.com]

That's awesome! (1)

Gizzmonic (412910) | more than 5 years ago | (#27333099)

In celebration of this court victory, I will pirate Jon Wayne CDs [youtube.com] all day long!

Defendant's lawyer wins, defendant loses (5, Informative)

ral (93840) | more than 5 years ago | (#27333185)

From the Joint stipulation for dismissal:

... each party to bear its/her own costs and fees

The defendant has lost time and money on this case and gained nothing. Even if every case is resolved like this, the intimidation strategy will still be effective.

Re:Defendant's lawyer wins, defendant loses (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 5 years ago | (#27334153)

As I said elsewhere: "(At this point a shot to the head of CEO seems like good compensation.)" You waste ~20,000 dollars and four years of my life - SOME kind of punishment needs to be dealt.

Re:Defendant's lawyer wins, defendant loses (2, Insightful)

infalliable (1239578) | more than 5 years ago | (#27334291)

This by far the largest imbalance in the legal system.

If a big company/corporation/MAFIAA starts a lawsuit against an individual, it can easily bankrupt an individual in a short time period while being a drop in the bucket to the company/corporation.

The defendants in most of these cases loose considerably even if they have the lawsuit dropped somewhere in the process. They have almost no means to win, as the MAFIAA does everything it can to avoid paying out a cent while fleecing individuals.

Just goes to show (0)

ShogunTux (1236014) | more than 5 years ago | (#27333419)

You don't mess with Texas.

So they can still walk away from this? (4, Insightful)

cheros (223479) | more than 5 years ago | (#27333583)

So, just to get this straight, the RIAA pursued a questionable case that has already costed the defendant money to prepare for, and as soon as credible resistance emerges they quickly run and do it again to someone else - without sanctions?

Or did I miss something?

Re:So they can still walk away from this? (5, Informative)

NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) | more than 5 years ago | (#27333603)

So, just to get this straight, the RIAA pursued a questionable case that has already cost the defendant money to prepare for, and as soon as credible resistance emerges they quickly run and do it again to someone else - without sanctions? Or did I miss something?

No you didn't miss anything.

Re:So they can still walk away from this? (3, Interesting)

sbeckstead (555647) | more than 5 years ago | (#27333793)

How difficult would it be to get together a class action suit against the RIAA for harassment of the general public (or preferably some more targeted group) Since there seems to be a mass of evidence accumulating indicating that they are not being too careful with the targets of their litigation.

Re:So they can still walk away from this? (1)

sholdowa (242332) | more than 5 years ago | (#27333937)

Given your previous posts, would it now be possible to put together a boilerplate response kit which would vastly reduce the cost and time of putting up said credible resistance?

Also, will the repeated threat of section 11 judgements affect the credibility of the RIAA's lawyers?

Re:So they can still walk away from this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27334433)

Besides new legislation, is there anything that can be done about a systematic abuse of the legal system like this? Walking away from a few cases still fits in with their overall strategy of "economies of scale". Would this fall under the RICO act (which would, of course, require a Justice Department investigation and suit which can/does fall under political pressure to quit/never start)? Or do we as law-abiding citizens do nothing about this beside lobby Congress and get out-spent by the RIAA lobby?

Re:So they can still walk away from this? (1)

Diac (1515711) | more than 5 years ago | (#27334517)

Hi i was wondering can the defendant counter sue now?

As they don't have the threat of this suit been redone against them?

I mean the defendant can show that because of the actions of the RIAA they have cost them money and wasted time.

If so can they use the fact that when faced with rule 11 instead of standing up they backed down straight away, while they wont be facing rule 11 in the counter suit there actions when faced with it by not defending themselves against rule 11 show that they did not or think they did not act appropriate in the case.

BTW To the RIAA as i know they have people monitoring these sites.

"If you have done nothing wrong and acted in the proper and legal manner in your handling of this case why did you back down and dismiss the case? Aren't innocent law abiding people and companies not afraid of the law? What do YOU have to hide?"

-J

Alibi (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27333863)

"In the face of incontrovertible evidence that Defendant Janne Lanzoni was at work at the time the
alleged acts of infringement occurred..."

So if I start up Azureus at home via VNC from work I'm fine?

I hate the RIAA's tactics too, but this doesn't sound like too solid of a defense.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...