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RIAA Loses Bid To Keep Revenues Secret

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the but-your-honor-that's-our-secret-recipe-for-money-soup dept.

The Courts 229

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "The RIAA's motion to keep secret the record companies' 1999-to-date revenues for the copyrighted song files at the heart of the case has been denied, in the Boston case scheduled for trial July 27th, SONY BMG Music Entertainment v. Tenenbaum. The Judge had previously ordered the plaintiff record companies to produce a summary of the 1999-to-date revenues for the recordings, broken down into physical and digital sales. On the day the summary was due to be produced, instead of producing it, they produced a 'protective order motion' asking the Judge to rule that the information would have to be kept secret. The Judge rejected that motion: 'the Court does not comprehend how disclosure would impair the Plaintiffs' competitive business prospects when three of the four biggest record labels in the world — Warner Bros. Records, Sony BMG Music Entertainment, and UMG Recording, Inc. — are participating jointly in this lawsuit and, presumably, would have joint access to this information.'"

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Come on Ray! (1, Interesting)

GoNINzo (32266) | more than 5 years ago | (#28720665)

Spill the beans already, how much are we talking?

Anyone down for taking bets?

Re:Come on Ray! (3, Interesting)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | more than 5 years ago | (#28720725)

It sounds like they haven't produced the numbers, only a motion saying they shouldn't have to produce the numbers.

Re:Come on Ray! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28721263)

Thanks for the clue, captain obvious. That was in TFS.

Re:Come on Ray! (0, Offtopic)

Em Emalb (452530) | more than 5 years ago | (#28721113)

Looks like we have some rejects with mod points running loose.

Can someone please correct these retarded moderations they've done.

kthxbai.

Re:Come on Ray! (-1, Redundant)

Em Emalb (452530) | more than 5 years ago | (#28721271)

LOL. I got karma like the day is long. bring it, little boy.

Re:Come on Ray! (-1, Flamebait)

Em Emalb (452530) | more than 5 years ago | (#28721477)

*spits* *tastes blood*

Not too bad, not too bad.... For a girl.

Re:Come on Ray! (-1, Troll)

Em Emalb (452530) | more than 5 years ago | (#28721785)

ROFLMCWAFFLE.

Re:Come on Ray! (5, Funny)

hosecoat (877680) | more than 5 years ago | (#28721349)

Spill the beans already, how much are we talking? Anyone down for taking bets?

It's obviously $23,148,855,308,184,500.00

Re:Come on Ray! (5, Funny)

RabidMoose (746680) | more than 5 years ago | (#28721541)

Your post, it smells like new meme.

Re:Come on Ray! (1)

tekproxy2 (1386447) | more than 5 years ago | (#28722477)

Oh snap. I think you called it. I will remember this forever.

Re:Come on Ray! (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28722473)

What an odd number! If you multiply it by 100 and convert it to hex, you get 2020202020201250 Weird.

Re:Come on Ray! (3, Interesting)

v1 (525388) | more than 5 years ago | (#28721465)

What I'm wondering at this point is do they have to release this information publicly, or only to those participating in the case, or ? Betting next thing we see is for them to try to limit as much as possible who has access to this evidence.

Re:Come on Ray! (5, Interesting)

Kabuthunk (972557) | more than 5 years ago | (#28721685)

I'm putting my money on "case is dropped, RIAA gets to keep things secret"

Re:Come on Ray! (4, Interesting)

NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) | more than 5 years ago | (#28721817)

I'm putting my money on "case is dropped, RIAA gets to keep things secret"

That's an interesting thought. Hard for me to imagine them doing that, though.

Re:Come on Ray! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28722075)

RIAA Client Lawyer 1: Umm guys.... if the IRS sees our information we are going to get nailed for Tax Evasion
RIAA Client Lawyer 2: So what do we do?
RIAA Client Lawyer 3: Umm..... sue the judge?
RIAA Lawyer: We could drop the lawsuit...

All 3 RIAA Client Lawyers: Ha! Good one Stan!

Re:Come on Ray! (1)

necrodeep (96704) | more than 5 years ago | (#28722125)

Nice! Except suddenly the defense lawyer for every lawsuit that RIAA brings up will be requesting that information.

Show me... (-1, Troll)

MaskedSlacker (911878) | more than 5 years ago | (#28720721)

Show me the money!
Show me the money!
Show me the money!
Show me the money!
Show me the money!
Show me the money!

Note: Stupid postercomment compression filter can bite my shiny metal ass.

Show us the money! (4, Interesting)

pilgrim23 (716938) | more than 5 years ago | (#28720723)

I will believe it when the smoke and mirrors are actually changed to some hard data. This seems more an Emperor's new clothes thing to me though. The RIAA does not wish to reveal that the hand they are playing is a busted flush

Re:Show us the money! (1)

GarretSidzaka (1417217) | more than 5 years ago | (#28720903)

i am always appalled at the RIAA and their shenanigans! they sink to a new low all the time. at least there is a trace of justice in this trial, that they would get blocked

Re:Show us the money! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28721237)

If it does, it might show that the data truly is competitively relevant - and that their main business is being in competition with their own customers.

It would all make sense then.

I wonder if ... (5, Insightful)

TomTraynor (82129) | more than 5 years ago | (#28720745)

I wonder if they told the artists one set of numbers and need more time to make sure what they give to the court matches that set.

Re:I wonder if ... (2, Informative)

atraintocry (1183485) | more than 5 years ago | (#28721029)

That part is standard practice, and I doubt they're worried about the artists finding out since they're the ones who draw up the contracts.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hollywood_accounting [wikipedia.org]

Re:I wonder if ... (1)

atraintocry (1183485) | more than 5 years ago | (#28721061)

Whoops, by "they" I mean the record companies.

Re:I wonder if ... (4, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 5 years ago | (#28721663)

That would be pretty typical in show business. A major motion picture can have a HUGE box office and still mysteriously show no profit when it comes time to give out the money to the people with "points" in the movie. Peter Jackson had to sue New Line [nytimes.com] to get his fair share of the The Lord of the Rings movies, after they tried this with him (and he won).

Re:I wonder if ... (4, Interesting)

ewilts (121990) | more than 5 years ago | (#28721703)

I wonder if they told the artists one set of numbers and need more time to make sure what they give to the court matches that set.

Herein lies the issue. If they go with the artist numbers, then revenues might be small. Punitive and compensatory damages will likely be small as a result. However, if they want to claim higher numbers, then the artists will turn around and sue them for the stolen revenue. They're caught between a rock and a hard place, and that's good...

Re:I wonder if ... (1)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 5 years ago | (#28721939)

One would think that they would have the numbers they told the artists easily accessible and widely known by anybody in the organization that deals with those numbers. You don't want someone to slip up at the wrong time, after all.

My guess is that they want more time to figure out the best way to present the numbers and how much info they can hold back without being held in contempt. If they can get away with just disclosing the profit they have in the balance books, that's completely different from producing the balance books themselves or even the gross revenue.

There is no reason to be quiet about that, ... (2)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 5 years ago | (#28722821)

...when you publicly state that you want the 3.5% that the artists get, to get down to 2.8%, while still expecting them to pay the studio from that.

Because that is exactly what they tried to do.

Those that they told another set of numbers are us. To justify the "piracy" inquisition. (Occam's razor!)

obligatory (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28720747)

Let me be the first to say.

Haha, motherfuckers the wheels really fell off their gravy train.

Re:obligatory (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28721631)

Haha, motherfuckers the mashed potatoes and turkey drummies really fell off their gravy boat.

Wooo, lunch time, baby!

Not only that ... (4, Insightful)

taniwha (70410) | more than 5 years ago | (#28720755)

because music copyright usually results in a monopoly situation there is not competition - no one else is publishing the same track in competition to them, so the information is not commercially sensitive

Re:Not only that ... (4, Insightful)

sqlrob (173498) | more than 5 years ago | (#28720865)

It is commercially sensitive, but not in a direct manner.

"They only made how much? I'm not going to sign with you for that"

Re:Not only that ... (4, Insightful)

TomTraynor (82129) | more than 5 years ago | (#28720995)

It would allow the artists to see what someone else got and then go...

They only had xxx unit of sales and got $$$, but, we sold more units and got less... Lets talk and please explain to us why!

Re:Not only that ... (1)

tacarat (696339) | more than 5 years ago | (#28721463)

Not to mention the money the RIAA "collected" on behalf of these artists might actually need to go to them.

Re:Not only that ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28721921)

But But you WOULD have got more except for those darn medling customers ... errr PIRATES!!!

I object! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28720765)

Reede: Your honor, I object!

Judge: Why?

Reede: Because it's devastating to my case!

Judge: Overruled.

Reede: Good call!

Re:I object! (5, Funny)

Em Emalb (452530) | more than 5 years ago | (#28721153)

Cop: You know why I pulled you over?
Fletcher: Depends on how long you were following me!
Cop: Why don't we just take it from the top?
Fletcher: Here goes: I sped. I followed too closely. I ran a stop sign. I almost hit a Chevy. I sped some more. I failed to yield at a crosswalk. I changed lanes at the intersection. I changed lanes without signaling while running a red light and *speeding*!
Cop: Is that all?
Fletcher: No... I have unpaid parking tickets.
[groans]
Fletcher: ... be gentle.

Bum: Got any spare change?
Fletcher: Absolutely!
Bum: Could ya spare some?
Fletcher: Yes I could!
Bum: Will ya?
Fletcher: HMM-MMM!
Bum: How come?
Fletcher: Because I believe you will buy booze with it! I just want to get from my car to the office without being confronted by the decay of western society!... Plus I'm cheap! AHHH!

Ain't that obvious? (4, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 5 years ago | (#28720787)

They'd have to show what they actually gain from "honest" business and have that compared to their extortion schemes. It could even show that the "claimed losses" exceed what one person could possibly cause in damages.

And that in turn could mean that their insane claims (and the verdicts that ensued) could be up for review, they could end up with far more sane sentences and that in turn would make the whole "shock and awe" deterrent a joke.

Re:Ain't that obvious? (1)

Nethemas the Great (909900) | more than 5 years ago | (#28722723)

... and that in turn would make the whole "shock and awe" deterrent a joke.

Mission accomplished!

hollywood accounting (4, Insightful)

croddy (659025) | more than 5 years ago | (#28720793)

haha! well, maybe now their hollywood accounting [wikipedia.org] will come back to bite them in the ass as they struggle to show that the songs are now worth massive damages, when they were worth nothing or less as they computed royalties for the artists they were screwing.

Re:hollywood accounting (1)

major_skidmark (1046176) | more than 5 years ago | (#28721235)

What? People actually pay for music? Just hold the cassette recorder up to the 8 track. Bingo, free music.

Re:hollywood accounting (1)

pfleming (683342) | more than 5 years ago | (#28722113)

Bah! Who needs 8 track when you have reel to reel?

Re:hollywood accounting (1)

TheTurtlesMoves (1442727) | more than 5 years ago | (#28722591)

yea but wax cylinders just sound better!

In other words... (2, Interesting)

Kayden (1406747) | more than 5 years ago | (#28720839)

The decline in physical sales correlates perfectly to the increase in digital sales? So they'll have a hard time whining about pirates because they're still making a ton of money, but still want to play the victim.

Re:In other words... (2, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#28720985)

Exactly, I wonder what their advertising says for new artists compared to what they say when they pull the "ZOMG OUR KIDS ARE GOING TO STARVE IF WE DON"T SUE YOU FOR $3.6 million per song!!!111!1!1".

Re:In other words... (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28721223)

While decreasing CD sales are being caused by increasing digital sales, overall cash is going down. But that's not anybody's fault. People don't want to buy the CD because it's overpriced and they only want the one or two good songs that are hyped on the radio. Why buy the rest of the trash?

Then add in Wal Mart is running independent music stores out of business and then turning around and only offering a fraction of the selection - the majority of it being the latest hype crap that everyone wants to buy single downloads for. :)

In the end, they have to understand that this is the way of the world and they will have to get use to living on a smaller budget. Something they desperately want to avoid.

cracks in the dam (4, Informative)

Dan667 (564390) | more than 5 years ago | (#28720869)

Sony, EMI, Warner Bros, and Universal are in real trouble. Make sure you check http://riaaradar.com/ [riaaradar.com] to make sure when you purchase music you don't buy anything from these companies that fund the RIAA.

Re:cracks in the dam (3, Informative)

NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) | more than 5 years ago | (#28720919)

Sony, EMI, Warner Bros, and Universal are in real trouble. Make sure you check http://riaaradar.com/ [riaaradar.com] [riaaradar.com] to make sure when you purchase music you don't buy anything from these companies that fund the RIAA.

Well most of their recordings are sold under their affiliate labels, with different names. But so long as you check it out at http://riaaradar.com/ [riaaradar.com] if they say it's cool, it's cool. If they say it's RIAA-tainted, stay away.

Re:cracks in the dam (5, Funny)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 5 years ago | (#28721487)

But so long as you check it out at http://riaaradar.com/ [riaaradar.com] if they say it's cool, it's cool. If they say it's RIAA-tainted, stay away.

Yeah, not falling for that one again after I was hanging out with an riaaradar.com maintainer and they kept trying to tell me that my pants were RIAA-tainted.

Re:cracks in the dam (1)

dogeatery (1305399) | more than 5 years ago | (#28722657)

No, your friend was right. You shat yourself, tainting the pants with RIAA

Re:cracks in the dam (2, Interesting)

lfp.turk (830154) | more than 5 years ago | (#28721693)

Is there a similar site for movies as well?

Re:cracks in the dam (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28721855)

It's easier than that. Just buy used.

Re:cracks in the dam (1)

Beardo the Bearded (321478) | more than 5 years ago | (#28721919)

make sure when you purchase music you don't buy anything from these companies that fund the RIAA.

Okay.

What is worse (2, Insightful)

sbeckstead (555647) | more than 5 years ago | (#28721035)

Now the artists will find out exactly how much the record companies are skimming off of them and force the record companies to pay up!

Re:What is worse (2)

TIWolfman (1483455) | more than 5 years ago | (#28721279)

Sadly, that'll never happen - this case will be dropped and swept under the rug with all the vigor others have been prosecuted with.

I wonder what they are hiding (3, Insightful)

gurps_npc (621217) | more than 5 years ago | (#28721095)

If their sales/profits are low, then they can claim the illegal copying is to blame. If their sales/profits are high, then they claim it would be even higher without the copying.

The only issue could be that they are not consistent with regards to their demands.

Re:I wonder what they are hiding (1)

TIWolfman (1483455) | more than 5 years ago | (#28721697)

No, the issue is that to justify their claims they're going to expose numbers that are going to infuriate their product(artists and writers). They can't burn that bridge and it's worth more than a single copyright/sharing case and possibly all of them. Of course this assumes there's a disconnect in what they'd have to show as evidence to support their loss claims and what they've cited when paying their talent...would like to set up the over-under on that difference or shall I?

But Sir (5, Funny)

kenp2002 (545495) | more than 5 years ago | (#28721107)

MAFIAA: But sir we sold 4 million digital downloads and made 2 million in revenue from those downloads.

JUDGE: So your are saying you made about 50 cents each download right?

MAFIAA: Yes sir.

JUDGE: So we can roughly say the value of each download is 50 cents right?

MAFIAA: Yes sir.

JUDGE: So even if we get "Biblical" in damages of 40 fold we are looking at about $20 a track right?

MAFIAA: Errr well....

JUDGE: So for 24 tracks at $20 bucks each Jammie owes you about $480 bucks right?

MAFIAA: You have to take into account everyone that downloaded them.

JUDGE: Ok so lets say 10 people downloaded each one, that's about so that's about $4800 right?

MAFIAA: Sir that isn't enough!

JUDGE: How much is enough?

MAFIAA: IT'S NEVER ENOUGH!!! (Rips off the mask to reveal he's infact a tenticle demon!!)

Re:But Sir (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28721131)

Wow! For the first time ever what the bible has to say is acceptable by the slashtards. good work.

Re:But Sir (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28721239)

Actually I believe the use of 'Biblical' here was close to a meaning 'Excessive.'

Re:But Sir (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28721607)

Not exactly accurate. More like "epic in scale."

Re:But Sir (3, Funny)

Altus (1034) | more than 5 years ago | (#28721749)

wait, is that what people mean by knowing someone "in the biblical sense?"

Re:But Sir (1)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 5 years ago | (#28721613)

Aye. Slightly incorrect, but disasters can be Biblical in proportion, so I'd guess he was invoking that kind of symbology

Re:But Sir (5, Insightful)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | more than 5 years ago | (#28721375)

MAFIAA: You have to take into account everyone that downloaded them.

JUDGE: Ok so lets say 10 people downloaded each one, that's about so that's about $4800 right?

By definition, the average participant in a peer sharing network uploads one copy. There's no way around that. If the actual number of uploads is unknown, the only remotely reasonable assumption for damage calculations is 1.0000000000000000000000000.

Re:But Sir (2, Insightful)

Basilius (184226) | more than 5 years ago | (#28721531)

MAFIAA: You have to take into account everyone that downloaded them.

JUDGE: Ok so lets say 10 people downloaded each one, that's about so that's about $4800 right?

By definition, the average participant in a peer sharing network uploads one copy. There's no way around that. If the actual number of uploads is unknown, the only remotely reasonable assumption for damage calculations is 1.0000000000000000000000000.

I know the defendant in this case wasn't using bittorrent, but is there actually any way to prove a person has uploaded one entire, complete, copy to anyone? I expect it's more like 30% to that person, 40% to another, 30% to a third, but since people are connected to multiple uploaders, how can you tell?

Re:But Sir (1)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | more than 5 years ago | (#28721633)

MAFIAA: You have to take into account everyone that downloaded them.

JUDGE: Ok so lets say 10 people downloaded each one, that's about so that's about $4800 right?

By definition, the average participant in a peer sharing network uploads one copy. There's no way around that. If the actual number of uploads is unknown, the only remotely reasonable assumption for damage calculations is 1.0000000000000000000000000.

I know the defendant in this case wasn't using bittorrent, but is there actually any way to prove a person has uploaded one entire, complete, copy to anyone? I expect it's more like 30% to that person, 40% to another, 30% to a third, but since people are connected to multiple uploaders, how can you tell?

You can't tell without access to the sharer's computer, but it's reasonable to assume the most likely number. The 1.00000etc number in my GP post is off because I forgot that the initial uploader didn't have to download the file. The real number is slightly under 1.0, at 1-(1/N), where N is the total number of complete downloads across the entire network. I imagine a typical file will have a number like 0.9999. Multiply that by the value of the track and then multiply that product to get actual losses if you make the laughable assumption that every copy equals a lost sale.

Re:But Sir (1)

Basilius (184226) | more than 5 years ago | (#28721865)

You can't tell without access to the sharer's computer, but it's reasonable to assume the most likely number.

The 1.00000etc number in my GP post is off because I forgot that the initial uploader didn't have to download the file. The real number is slightly under 1.0, at 1-(1/N), where N is the total number of complete downloads across the entire network. I imagine a typical file will have a number like 0.9999. Multiply that by the value of the track and then multiply that product to get actual losses if you make the laughable assumption that every copy equals a lost sale.

Yet, even that's going to be off when you look at radically differing upload speeds and things like that.

I still think this is a possible defense avenue. I don't think you can actually prove (in the typical case with multiple up- and down-loaders) that a particular computer ever sends a complete copy of a file to any other single computer. But I don't know the tech deeply enough, hence my questions.

It's been a loophole in the past for shipping weapons around - ship the parts (which is legal) and the recipient assembles them. And since a part of an MP3 file is unusable without the rest, I'd think a similar defense might work here.

Re:But Sir (1)

Abreu (173023) | more than 5 years ago | (#28722047)

It's been a loophole in the past for shipping weapons around - ship the parts (which is legal) and the recipient assembles them. And since a part of an MP3 file is unusable without the rest, I'd think a similar defense might work here.

Wasn't there a "sampling" case where it was ruled that using a certain percentage of a song (a few seconds IIRC) were not considered to be copyright infringement?

Re:But Sir (1)

somanyrobots (1334451) | more than 5 years ago | (#28722627)

Wasn't there a "sampling" case where it was ruled that using a certain percentage of a song (a few seconds IIRC) were not considered to be copyright infringement?

No, but there was a famous sampling case in which the judge ruled explicitly "Get a license or do not sample." [lessig.org] The issue of sampling hasn't seen any Supreme Court action, but at the moment this is the highest ruling on the matter, and it explicitly outlaws any and all digital sampling.

Here's [findlaw.com] the actual opinion, it's actually pretty readable.

Re:But Sir (1)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 5 years ago | (#28721969)

It's certainly not by definition. You're either making a lot of assumptions about the behavior of the file sharing network and the individual's client (e.g., that it's very BitTorrent-like), or you're taking an entirely useless sense of the term "average".

Re:But Sir (1)

afidel (530433) | more than 5 years ago | (#28722509)

Sure it is, on average each person will upload one copy, because only N copies will be downloaded where N is the number of torrent participants. The only thing that isn't accounted for in that average is partial downloads and discarded blocks.

Re:But Sir (1)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 5 years ago | (#28722691)

Common assumption: P2P networks are all like BitTorrent.

Applicability to this case: none? Tenenbaum is in court for sharing files on Kazaa.

Re:But Sir (1)

Inda (580031) | more than 5 years ago | (#28722733)

In your utopian P2P network, the last person to download doesn't upload to anyone. The average will always be less than one.

Re:But Sir (1)

xednieht (1117791) | more than 5 years ago | (#28722099)

Fixed it for you.... "MAFIAA: IT'S NEVER ENOUGH!!! (Rips off the mask to reveal he's infact a **TESTICLE** demon!!)

Re:But Sir (1)

mdenham (747985) | more than 5 years ago | (#28722343)

Oh, balls to that.

But the real story is... (1)

DarksideDaveOR (557444) | more than 5 years ago | (#28721121)

How much time and money (much of it coming out of our taxes) could be saved if the law could somehow be made clear enough that it would be obvious which of these sort of motions would succeed, and which wouldn't?

Or if things like company sales and profits were a truly matter of public record in the first place and so massaging would be obvious long before a case ever got to court?

Re:But the real story is... (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#28721273)

Lets just get some sane copyright reform first. That would take care of this, and many other cases if we went to something less absurd than life + 70 years.

Is this Legit, or Contempt? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28721123)

Ray--if I was ordered by a judge to produce a detailed breakdown of my accounting (say a trial for tax evasion) practices over the past years by 7/31, and on the 31st I came to court with just a "protective order motion" asking that my accounting practices be kept secret...

Wouldn't I be held in contempt?

I mean...I can see producing the motion *with* the information...or...before it...but... tell me why it is these guys appear to have rights in the legal system that everyone else doesn't... More importantly, what piece of paperwork do I have to file so I can ignore court orders like they do and get off scott free?

Re:Is this Legit, or Contempt? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28721309)

Oh please, who do you think you are? You are an Amerikan Serf and must OBEY the law, you got that Billy Joe Bob? Now move along and mind yer own business.

Re:Is this Legit, or Contempt? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28721327)

what piece of paperwork do I have to file

A couple hundred $100 bills is the correct paperwork needed to be filed good sir.

Re:Is this Legit, or Contempt? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28721335)

I'd think this is kind of up to the judge and how they feel that day?

Re:Is this Legit, or Contempt? (1)

aardwolf64 (160070) | more than 5 years ago | (#28721445)

I was thinking the same thing. They intentionally missed a court ordered deadline. That should be contempt.

Re:Is this Legit, or Contempt? (1)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | more than 5 years ago | (#28721447)

More importantly, what piece of paperwork do I have to file so I can ignore court orders like they do and get off scott free?

You need to fill out and turn in a huge number of these [wikipedia.org] to be immune to the law.

Re:Is this Legit, or Contempt? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28721589)

Ray--if I was ordered by a judge to produce a detailed breakdown of my accounting (say a trial for tax evasion) practices over the past years by 7/31, and on the 31st I came to court with just a "protective order motion" asking that my accounting practices be kept secret...

Wouldn't I be held in contempt?

IANNYCL, but the awnser is no. A protective order does not prevent your opponent from using the information produced as part of the trial, it keeps your opponent from sharing the information outside the context of the trial.

Judge Gertner was not happy here because the plaintiffs' lawyers moved for a protective order, arguing for protection of a subset of the information, but gave her a proposed protective order [uscourts.gov] (login and $0.72 required) with much broader scope. For example, it allowed for documents previously produced to be retroactively protected:

7. Documents previously produced shall be retroactively designated by notice in writing of the designated class of each document by Bates number within ten (10) days of the entry of this order. Documents unintentionally produced without designation as "Confidential" may be retroactively designated in the same manner and shall be treated appropriately from the date written notice of the designation is provided to the receiving party.

The Judge still gave them a protective order, but it was more limited than their proposed protective order. In particular, she didn't provide for protection of their revenue figures. Perhaps if they ad they shown that they had procedures in place to prevent the revenue figures from getting back to their clients, then she might have been willing to protect this information. But they did not, so she did not.

Re:Is this Legit, or Contempt? (4, Interesting)

NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) | more than 5 years ago | (#28721769)

Ray--if I was ordered by a judge to produce a detailed breakdown of my accounting (say a trial for tax evasion) practices over the past years by 7/31, and on the 31st I came to court with just a "protective order motion" asking that my accounting practices be kept secret... Wouldn't I be held in contempt? I mean...I can see producing the motion *with* the information...or...before it...but... tell me why it is these guys appear to have rights in the legal system that everyone else doesn't... More importantly, what piece of paperwork do I have to file so I can ignore court orders like they do and get off scott free?

If I were the Judge I probably wouldn't have held them in contempt, but I probably would have issued a discovery sanction. Since in this case the material is needed to assess the fair use defense, which would be a complete bar to the action, I would have issued an order striking their complaint, dismissing the case.

Re:Is this Legit, or Contempt? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28721949)

If I were the Judge I probably wouldn't have held them in contempt, but I probably would have issued a discovery sanction. Since in this case the material is needed to assess the fair use defense, which would be a complete bar to the action, I would have issued an order striking their complaint, dismissing the case.

How would a more robust protective order have acted as a complete bar to asserting fair use? (Full disclosure: I haven't read the proposed protective order that the judge decided not to adopt) They defendant's attorney, expert witnesses, judge, jury etc. should have still been able to use the information. Some of the hearings might have been closed and some of the documents filed under seal, but those are issues that affect the general public, not the parties in the trial.

Asking the judge to protect a small subset of information by asking her to sign off on a blank cheque to protect anything is unscrupulous, but dismissing the case as punishment very well could be considered an abuse of discretion.

Re:Is this Legit, or Contempt? (3, Interesting)

mr_matticus (928346) | more than 5 years ago | (#28721935)

The way most things work in court is that your response is due based on the order from the judge. If you are ordered to provide tax information by 7/31, you have a number of options. Only one of them is actually providing that information. You can also respond by challenging the order, requesting a limitation on the order, showing cause why you can't comply with the order, and depending on the situation, other options.

The deadline is the due date for the responsive filing. As long as the response isn't completely devoid of rationality or some support, the court will review the response and then either adjust the original order or respond by saying, "nice try, but now do what I said". It's not contempt to push back in civil litigation unless you're doing it solely for the sake of wasting time or money.

In this case, because a protective order was issued, it obviously wasn't devoid of a real issue.

Now, sometimes, an order is an order and the only permitted responses are (a) compliance or (b) a request for more time to comply (which may or may not be granted, especially if dropped on the court at the last minute). This is rarely the case.

Moreover, the summary is again biased and sensationalized, part of a pattern that shows increasingly unprofessional conduct on the part of the submitter. The RIAA offered a proposed order that was greater in scope than what they had argued for. Had the judge and her clerks read only the moving papers and then just signed the order, the RIAA would have had that order amended upon discovery of the inconsistency. The RIAA actually got the protective order it had argued for--it just didn't get the overbroad proposal they submitted.

You could automatically bounce back to "the RIAA is evil and incompetent", which no one would disagree with, but there's almost no chance that this would have ever worked--it's not like the judge is powerless upon discovery of the problem, which is almost inevitable unless opposing counsel is beyond incompetent, and attempting to slip an expanded order in intentionally opens them up to all kinds of sanctions. The thing is, you rarely get more than what you ask in a proposed order attached to a motion--so it's not uncommon to "shoot for the moon" and then the court writes a narrower order based on how much it's willing to give you. In most cases, it's not a plot. It's just the way the game is played.

Re:Is this Legit, or Contempt? (5, Informative)

RIAAShill (1599481) | more than 5 years ago | (#28722191)

Moreover, the summary is again biased and sensationalized, part of a pattern that shows increasingly unprofessional conduct on the part of the submitter. The RIAA offered a proposed order that was greater in scope than what they had argued for. Had the judge and her clerks read only the moving papers and then just signed the order, the RIAA would have had that order amended upon discovery of the inconsistency. The RIAA actually got the protective order it had argued for--it just didn't get the overbroad proposal they submitted.

Be nice. NYCL has a viewpoint and he likes to express it loud and clear, but accusations regarding professionality are uncalled for. He's not representing anyone in the case or publishing information that one couldn't get through PACER.

It isn't any use arguing what the RIAA would have done had the judge signed off on their prosed protective order. They should have vetted it before submitting it to avoid any appearance of deceptive behavior. Since they didn't, then they deserve a little nose tweaking.

And no, they did not get everything they wanted. The judge refused to protect the revenue information of the plaintiffs. They did seem to get what they wanted with regards to the non-revenue information.

What are these other documents? (5, Interesting)

yuna49 (905461) | more than 5 years ago | (#28721167)

Gertner's ruling states that "[the Court] will, however, order the second set of documents, which implicate the business interests of third-party artist-owned companies, shielded from disclosure."

What are these documents, and who are these "third-party artist-owned companies?"

Re:What are these other documents? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28721535)

What artists do is form their own companies that own all the rights to songs, lyrics, etc... They then will exclusively license the material out to particular parties. Like Apple (not the computer compnay, the beatles production company) the lyrics go to one party (jackson, columbia, and the members of the band), the performances by the beatles go to 2-3 other companies (the members of the band, columbia, and a couple of others), and so on.

It is amazing how sliced and diced music is...

The music is owned by one group, the lyrics by another, the performance by yet another, the recording by yet another, and even particular performances may be owned by another group, derivative playings (such as elevator music versions) by another group.

So artists will form their own recording studio that tracks all of this junk. They usually do it after getting jammed hard by the main company they were dealing with.

The documents in question are the agreements between the artists company and the main RIAA member companies (such as SONY, BMI, etc).

Re:What are these other documents? (2, Informative)

NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) | more than 5 years ago | (#28721721)

Gertner's ruling states that "[the Court] will, however, order the second set of documents, which implicate the business interests of third-party artist-owned companies, shielded from disclosure." What are these documents, and who are these "third-party artist-owned companies?"

That's non-controversial. It refers to the agreements with recording artists, other record companies, etc.

There, RIAA shit. (4, Interesting)

unity100 (970058) | more than 5 years ago | (#28721191)

the judge has corrected a MAJOR malfunction in your logic circuits. next time when you accuse someone of damaging your profits, you will remember to actually prove EVIDENCE to back up your case. that is, unless your leashholders are afraid of being proven wrong about all the shit you have been perpetrating. enjoy.

Forcing them to show their hands (5, Interesting)

erroneus (253617) | more than 5 years ago | (#28721193)

This could be the beginnings of an interesting new strategy against the RIAA. Forcing the RIAA to produce the verifiable truth about various things and to pull their skeletons from their closets and put them on display can likely act as quite a deterrent against RIAA actions.

Still. How is the judge taking their failure to produce the data? Does making a motion instead of producing the data result in an automatic extension somehow? Is this an unwritten part of due process now?

Re:Forcing them to show their hands (3, Insightful)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | more than 5 years ago | (#28721825)

If it were you or I, we would likely be held in contempt. After all, we are a single person with no real power of any kind... a huge set of officers grab us and throw us in a cell. Now think about this in the context of 3 out of 4 of the music producing companies in the world... who do you throw in jail? Who was the one that actually made the decision to try and play the courts? You could argue that the lawyer is at fault... if they knew it was questionably legal, they should simply refuse, right? I don't believe it as cut and dry as that. Someone on the plaintiffs side who pays the check of said lawyer could fire him for doing so. We have no idea how this would affect said lawyer. Maybe he is on the hook for $2M in medical bills because his 6 year old daughter is dying of leukemia, therefore he can't afford to lose his job, even when he knows what the right actions would be.

Not that I'm saying that someone shouldn't be tarred, feathered, then gang raped in a max security prison, but who to throw in there isn't so clear.

Re:Forcing them to show their hands (1)

SydShamino (547793) | more than 5 years ago | (#28722581)

The person who made the decision without seeking approval of his/her boss is responsible. If that person cannot be determined, the board of trustees are responsible and should be punished.

With apologies to Futuristic Sex Robots (-1, Offtopic)

AP31R0N (723649) | more than 5 years ago | (#28721437)

Fuck the MPAA

PC Speaker:
fuck the M-P-double-A comin straight out the underground
a young pirate got it bad cause I'm down,
loadin DVDs like a motherfuckin fiend,
bring my camera to the movies and I put em on BT,
back all that stolen content up on DVD-ROMs,
cause my tip's been piracy since I dropped out my Mom's,
and just because I share my MP3s,
they got the government comin after me,
instead of suin kids why don't you step on up,
and release a couple albums that don't completely suck,
stop puttin DRM onto audio CDs,
that don't make it any harder to steal your MP3s,
if I want your shit for free, I ain't gonna have to pay,
and all your bullshit is why the fuck I say,
hack the Gibson, hack the Gibson,
I'm seedin BitTorrents like a digital pimp, son

Chorus:
fuck the M-P-double-A
fuck the R-I-double-A
fuck the suits behind the BSA
and fuck em all for the DMCA

Recycle Bin:
robot pirates, we get our shit for free,
parental advisory you'll never fuckin see,
been a couple years since I seen an FBI warning,
cut it out cause that shit's mad boring,
ya'll fuckin dumber than that bitch from bad boys,
step to the Bin and it's grandma's sex toys,
I'ma just keep fillin up muh drives,
the ones that disapear when the lawsuit arrives,
all you fuckin suits can suck my balls,
when you get done you gonna make some calls,
I better see some changes or it's time to fight,
you ain't gonna manage my digital rights

Subrandom:
remember when anti-trust was the thing,
now you're set up for downloadin Sting,
treatin payin customers like criminals,
pens filled up with music nerd animals,
buyin off senators left and right,
my vote doesnt count in this fuckin fight,
on the 56k had hundreds of songs,
drives partitioned like asses in thongs,
now its gigs of illegal content,
if I get caught im joinin a convent
fuck what you heard, it's all a scam,
if they at your door burn em in a van,

Coaxke:
they got dollar signs in their fuckin eyes,
with heads in-between politicians thighs,
fat checks endorsed by senators that lie,
pullin fake dollar losses straight outta the sky,
and i don't trust trusted computing,
they don't want it around to stop looting,
the internet is the only place you're still free,
if you disagree, just you wait and see,
you wanna lock down the web and throw away the key?
well, you better not touch my fuckin technology,
so back the fuck off or you're fuckin dead,
yellin 1337 on a motherfuckin fed

good lord (0, Redundant)

amohat (88362) | more than 5 years ago | (#28721503)

Maybe I'm wrong about the judicial system...apparently there's a lone judge out there who isn't an idiot or a stooge!

Who knew?

Finally we will get the truth... maybe... (1)

pyrothebouncer (1595641) | more than 5 years ago | (#28721639)

Early 2000 I did a bit of research on the topic and found somewhere a document, converted to a jpg, that showed the RIAA's claim of loss of income to be fewer records released, not because people were downloading music for free. I lost the doc in some data transfers from hard drive to hard drive as equipment was upgraded, but the facts were that each year they released more records and their profits increased each year, when 1999 came around they however released fewer records, thus having decreased profit. But they claimed that people using p2p caused their loss, total bullshit.

Re:Finally we will get the truth... maybe... (3, Interesting)

schon (31600) | more than 5 years ago | (#28722815)

Early 2000 I did a bit of research on the topic and found somewhere a document [...] that showed the RIAA's claim of loss of income to be fewer records released, not because people were downloading music for free

Is this [azoz.com] what you're referring to?

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