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Court Appoints Pro Bono Counsel For RIAA Defendant

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 3 years ago | from the level-the-playing-field dept.

The Courts 123

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "In what could be a turning point in the RIAA's litigation campaign, a Michigan judge has decided to appoint pro bono counsel to represent college student Brittany Kruger, who is being sued by the RIAA in SONY BMG Music Entertainment v. Kruger. As this article points out, 'if other judges follow suit, things will change dramatically.' That is because the RIAA's entire litigation campaign is based upon economic inequality of the litigants: almost none of those sued by the RIAA can afford legal representation, and the RIAA has a huge economic incentive to fight cases to the death, while the defendants have no economic incentive greater than the 'settlement' amount, which they often pay even when entirely innocent. If the courts follow the lead of District Judge Timothy P. Greeley [PDF], and appoint pro bono legal counsel, the RIAA will no longer be able to achieve the easy pickings default judgments and 'settlements' it's routinely obtained in the past."

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123 comments

Faulty assumption? (4, Insightful)

Lead Butthead (321013) | more than 3 years ago | (#28735143)

This assumes the appointed pro-bono counsel is competent and interested in the welfare of his/her client, which may or may not be the case.

Re:Faulty assumption? (2, Insightful)

scubamage (727538) | more than 3 years ago | (#28735173)

They're required to be interested in the welfare of their client. The issue is more that a public defender will likely have 40-50 cases to worry about, where a private defender may have 2-3. That means more time to spend on each one.

Re:Faulty assumption? (5, Insightful)

MarkvW (1037596) | more than 3 years ago | (#28735463)

Pro bono is not the same thing as public defender.
Public defenders are for criminal cases--this is civil.

There are lawyers in big firms who take on cases for the public good. These lawyers have an enhanced sense of social responsibility. Pro bono is short for "pro bono publico" (for the benefit of the public).

The pro bono lawyer will probably be skilled and ethical and not simply out to make a name for himself/herself. The defendant won't get absurd theatricals and stupid gamesmanship, but will get decent fair representation.

That alone should be a pain for the RIAA.

 

Re:Faulty assumption? (0)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 3 years ago | (#28735845)

Pro Bono is short for Pro Bono Meo.

Lawyers take pro bono cases to gain recognition.
You want to be a PARTNER of this firm? Hmm, well, you don't have much pro bono experience...

It's like high school kids doing community service.
They don't give a shit about the community, they give a shit about their college applications.

Re:Faulty assumption? (3, Insightful)

MarkvW (1037596) | more than 3 years ago | (#28735855)

Your statement is not correct. I know of many lawyers who take pro bono cases because they think that it is the right thing to do.

Re:Faulty assumption? (5, Interesting)

ari_j (90255) | more than 3 years ago | (#28735903)

Actually, as an attorney, I can say that it's not always that cynicism-worthy. Many young, bright attorneys choose to work for firms that give them leeway to take on pro bono cases, specifically because they know that they can do some good for the world by taking them. I personally hate the numerous times every week that my phone rings and I think to myself, "I wish I could afford to help this guy for free, because what was done to him is just plain wrong.," and then explain that it's not the type of case I can handle on a contingency fee basis and that it will cost him X dollars per hour. I give every person who calls me the advice not to chase bad money with good, and all too often they take it, much to my chagrin, because I really wanted to help them out.

That said, by most attorneys' third year at the mega-firms that have very pro-bono-friendly policies, they fit the pattern you described to a tee. Youthful idealism gives way to wanting more status symbols fairly rapidly when you work at those places.

Re:"As an attorney" (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 4 years ago | (#28737687)

Offtopic, but Dottians should make a list of those who AAL so that famous acronym can DIAF.

Really, is that so tough?
1. Review poster handle
2. Review Resident Counsel List
3. Profit!

Re:Faulty assumption? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28736667)

Even if that is true, they would still really want to win the case for it to look good on their resume, right?

Re:Faulty assumption? (1)

Chabo (880571) | more than 3 years ago | (#28735947)

and not simply out to make a name for himself/herself.

Lionel Hutz: "Murder one!?! Wow, even if I lose I'll be famous!"

Re:Faulty assumption? (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#28737051)

What? Lawyers with a heart *and* a conscience? Unpossible!

Can someone check if Satan plays Duke Nukem Forever because it's too cold to go outside in hell?

Re:Faulty assumption? (5, Insightful)

The Grim Reefer2 (1195989) | more than 3 years ago | (#28735181)

This assumes the appointed pro-bono counsel is competent and interested in the welfare of his/her client, which may or may not be the case.

Assuming they are competent, all I can say is that It's about time.

Re:Faulty assumption? (1)

fishbowl (7759) | more than 3 years ago | (#28735455)

"This assumes the appointed pro-bono counsel is competent and interested in the welfare of his/her client, which may or may not be the case."

It's a hard thing to prove, but if you can prove it, the attorney can be disbarred and/or fined (and even jailed) for contempt.

Re:Faulty assumption? (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 3 years ago | (#28735535)

The interesting thing is that there is no requirement for a lawyer to do anything pro-bono. They pretty much have to volunteer for it. So I'm not sure why we would be worried about someone not representing their clients when pro bono operations are more or less either some sort of ego stroking "look at me, I helped those who needed it" or are looking for exposure of some sort to further their career (again, look at me, I did a great job helping this person).

I think that some people have this pro bono just as confused with a public defendant as they do RIAA's civil cases with a criminal prosecution.

Re:Faulty assumption? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28739145)

Around here there are requirements for a lawyer to do pro-bono work. It may be required by the bar association, or by the court jurisdiction they serve in... It is not that rare to be "asked" to take on a pro-bono client.

Re:Faulty assumption? (2, Insightful)

azakem (924479) | more than 3 years ago | (#28735505)

They are required by the rules of ethics to provide zealous representation to their client, even if the client is a pro bono client.

Reality bites (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28737335)

They are required by the rules of ethics to provide zealous representation to their client, even if the client is a pro bono client.

Reality bites. We're all required to obey the law. Most religions requires that their practitioners lead a moral life in accordance to respective teachings. But guess what, people still commit crimes, breach the teachings of respective religious belief and commit "sinful" acts. Thus expecting all lawyers to obey rules of ethics is at best a flight of fancy. We would not be enduring this much bullock from MP/RIAA if their lawyers "lead a moral life."

Re:Faulty assumption? (1)

darkmeridian (119044) | more than 4 years ago | (#28737545)

Outstanding lawyers may choose to take on these cases pro bono, especially at the beginning, for the publicity. But even if you get a retarded lawyer, it's probably better than the average college student strolling into court without a clue. I mean, most lawyers will go on Westlaw or Lexis and crib off of the successful RIAA cases. Soon, they'll probably all trot out the same arguments regarding making available =/= distributing and the Media Sentry stuff. I can imagine RIAA just lowering their settlement demands once a student gets a pro bono lawyers because let's face it: RIAA's lawyers aren't THAT stupid, and they're not really after money away. They want the stat that says, "99% of the people we sue settle or lose, so our campaign is just." They can make that claim no matter how small the settlement is.

sigh... (5, Insightful)

macbeth66 (204889) | more than 3 years ago | (#28735165)

I know I shouldn't feel this way, but I just don't care any more. The RIAA has worn me out. I hate all music now. I never want to buy any of their crap again.

I'll just eat the magical fruit and toot myself to death.

Re:sigh... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#28735339)

ironically, my music consumption has gone way down as well. i used to listen to mp3s in the car but cbc talk radio has taken over my commute.
result ? no music.

Re:sigh... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#28735379)

So RIAA should be suing talk radio hosts for luring people away from music! Genius.

Re:sigh... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#28735881)

Dude I listen to CBC in my car exclusively now too rather than my built-in mp3 player.

Although I do get to hear some good music on CBC from time to time as well, and its always different and a change of pace.

Re:sigh... (1)

garcia (6573) | more than 3 years ago | (#28735491)

The RIAA has worn me out. I hate all music now. I never want to buy any of their crap again.

I have been saying for *YEARS* (long before the RIAA was pulling the bullshit they are now) that you should be listening to free music. There are plenty of bands that allow the release of their live stuff on the web and no, we're not talking about crappy Indy artists that you've never heard about before. We're talking real bands that care more about their fans and who actually tour rather than live off the royalties of overprocessed studio shit.

I suggest supporting those bands by buying their records and/or going to their shows instead of paying for music that sucks and that has no chance of expanding what is freely available out there.

Re:sigh... (1)

flaming error (1041742) | more than 3 years ago | (#28735657)

you should be listening to free music. There are plenty of ... real bands that care more about their fans and who actually tour rather than live off the royalties of overprocessed studio shit.
...
I suggest supporting those bands by buying their records

You're a hard one to please.

Re:sigh... (2, Insightful)

sbeckstead (555647) | more than 3 years ago | (#28735709)

Ya know, I have to believe that people that advocate only patronizing free bands and such, just don't much get why there is a music industry in the first place and in not getting it they have missed a complete cultural experience that the rest of the population share in. I'm sure that these independent free bands are just fine and have great music but the usual reason for a band publishing itself is that they suck too much for the biggies to offer them a contract. The other reason of course is what the recent spate of indy bands have done and that is rebel against the labels. However we have created a culture and while it is changing I admit there is still a large amount of talent being found and publicized by the majors. The culture is also still there and being counter culture while briefly exciting is very lonely in the end. So maybe we should just keep nudging the industry in the right direction, keep fighting these fights and maybe just maybe we can have our culture and the free stuff too?

Re:sigh... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#28735871)

the usual reason for a band publishing itself is that they suck too much for the biggies to offer them a contract.

Completely agreed. If you want music that doesn't suck, you need major labels.
-Edgar Bronfman, Jr. CEO, Warner Music Group

Re:sigh... (1)

garcia (6573) | more than 3 years ago | (#28736011)

These bands do have labels, many are RIAA (The Grateful Dead), but they also allow their shows to trade freely. Apparently I didn't make myself clear, hope that helps.

Re:sigh... (1)

ozbird (127571) | more than 3 years ago | (#28736029)

I have been saying for *YEARS* (long before the RIAA was pulling the bullshit they are now) that you should be listening to free music.

Free as in beer, or free as in speech?

There are plenty of bands that allow the release of their live stuff on the web and no, we're not talking about crappy Indy artists that you've never heard about before.

You should get out more often. ;-) You've probably never heard of them because they are independent - or not American. Nor does that make them "crappy". My favourite band of all time, The Gathering [gathering.nl] is unknown in Australia; if it wasn't for the Internet and a lot of digging, I would never have known they existed. Most of the bands I've bought CDs etc. from recently are from The Netherlands and Finland - whatever they're doing over there, they're doing it right.

We're talking real bands that care more about their fans and who actually tour rather than live off the royalties of overprocessed studio shit.

Real bands care about their music first, and everything else a distant second.

i'm sorry (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 3 years ago | (#28735537)

magical fruit tooting is copyright material under the protection of the recording industry association of america. unless you cease and desist infringing via magical fruit toots we will be forced to bring you to litigation

sincerely,
Magical Fruit and the Toots, Inc.

Re:sigh... (1)

d4nowar (941785) | more than 3 years ago | (#28735717)

We should just listen to some public domain music! [pdinfo.com]
If anyone needs me, I'll be listening to "Are You From Dixie, 'Cause I'm From Dixie Too" and "Be My Little Baby Bumblebee" until the cows come home.

Re:sigh... (1)

mmaniaci (1200061) | more than 4 years ago | (#28736929)

Weird, my consumption of music has gone way up.

$40 a year for Pandora and I get a high quality, on demand, just random enough stream of music 8+ hours a day, 7 days a week. The amount of new music I listen to boggles my mind... I hate the *IAA as much as the next, but you have to admit that our options for purchasing music have opened up recently. Digital downloads from Amazon and iTunes along with streaming services like Pandora and Last.fm are starting to grab hold. People are fed up with the music industry, everybody knows it, and things are starting to change. In 5-10 years we'll look back and think of this as an overnight music medium revolution, so long as *IAA gets whats coming to them.

If you're honestly fed up with shallow, carbon-copy pop music, look for new music and don't let new music be served to you. Local record shops still exist and they are chock full of people that love music, and love spreading that love. And most of all, use the internet! Wikipedia does bands decently well, and can be a great place to start spiderwebbing out into new genres. Don't let the RIAA ruin one of the few truly human things we humans have left.

Re:sigh... (1)

segfault7375 (135849) | more than 4 years ago | (#28736997)

I agree it's frustrating, and that's a very good thing. The more and more people like you that decide you are done with the RIAA's shit, the less revenue they will have to pay their lawyers. And with judges (hopefully) beginning to see what the RIAA is up to and giving the defendant a better means to defend himself (the pro bono help), it's only going to speed up the downward spiral. I haven't bought (or downloaded) any music in years and I'm enjoying watching them flail a bit :)

check http://riaaradar.com too (5, Informative)

Dan667 (564390) | more than 3 years ago | (#28735187)

When you buy music, make sure to check http://riaaradar.com/ [riaaradar.com] to see if the album is from a company that funds the RIAA. If they do, don't buy it and stick it to them a couple dollars of lost earnings at a time.

Re:check http://riaaradar.com too (1)

Amazing Quantum Man (458715) | more than 3 years ago | (#28735295)

And, alas, until the beast is slain, they'll attribute those dollars to the Evil Content Pirates(tm).

We're damned if we do and damned if we don't.

Re:check http://riaaradar.com too (3, Insightful)

kheldan (1460303) | more than 3 years ago | (#28735343)

Buy used CDs instead whenever possible, and if you really want to support the bands themselves, send the the difference in cash.

Re:check http://riaaradar.com too (2, Interesting)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 3 years ago | (#28735381)

Any band that has signed with a major label since Napster was shut down is complicit.

Re:check http://riaaradar.com too (1)

ari_j (90255) | more than 3 years ago | (#28735953)

Any band that has signed with a major label since Napster was shut down is complicit.

I agree with the fact of their complicity but not with the degree. Most bands sign with major labels because it gives them greater income, greater exposure, and an overall greater reward for their years of hard work in getting to that point. Don't punish the artists who are actually creating art just because they are part of a system that gives them no choice for ultimate success other than signing with a major label. Punish the source of the problem, not a fellow victim.

Re:check http://riaaradar.com too (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 3 years ago | (#28736067)

Hey, you sign a deal with the devil, that's what you get.

There are a few successful acts that did not sign with the big guys. Bright Eyes comes to mind. In fact, the number 5 album at Amazon right now is Bryan Sutton, which is ranked "Safe" by RIAA Radar. A harder path to be certain, but I'll actually respect those guys.

Re:check http://riaaradar.com too (1)

ari_j (90255) | more than 4 years ago | (#28738093)

If you have real talent, getting signed by a major label isn't exactly an easy path. It's only easy after you get signed, or maybe even after a couple of albums when you've got enough momentum that you can bounce back when the record company stabs you in the back.

Re:check http://riaaradar.com too (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 3 years ago | (#28735649)

Buying used takes a used copy off the market (making other people more likely to seek a new copy) and probably funds whoever bought the copy in the first place (making it easier for them to buy more new music).

You can't buy something and simultaneously not participate in the market for it.

Re:check http://riaaradar.com too (1)

kheldan (1460303) | more than 4 years ago | (#28738033)

WTF are you even talking about? I'm offering an idea that doesn't involve downloading crappy MP3's but doesn't put money in the RIAA's pocket. What's your solution, smartass? PYR8 MOAR? WTF?

Re:check http://riaaradar.com too (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 3 years ago | (#28735687)

Buy used CDs instead whenever possible

While that is certainly better than buy new RIAA CDs, it still doesn't completely eliminate the problem. If enough people buy used, it just increases the price of used discs. The more expensive used discs are, the more incentive there is for someone to buy a new disc and listen to it for a while and eventually resell it. The less they lose by selling it the more likely the are to buy it new. In fact, it might even cause this hypothetical buyer to purchase many more new CDs than the would otherwise because they have more money in hand after reselling than they would before.

Kind of the way the used video game market actually increases the market for new games instead of hurting it.

Pirating is really the only way to make sure your "purchase" does not result in more money going to an RIAA member.

Re:check http://riaaradar.com too (1)

sbeckstead (555647) | more than 3 years ago | (#28735821)

yeah but I have to say, pirating to protest getting sued by the RIAA, sounds a lot like "Fucking for Virginity!"

Re:check http://riaaradar.com too (1)

kheldan (1460303) | more than 4 years ago | (#28738061)

Seriously, yes it does. For ONCE I put up an idea that doesn't involve piracy and all I hear is "PYR8 MOAR!" from the peanut gallery. I don't buy it when they say that it'll just make the used CD market dry up and people will be incentivized to buy new instead. Not everyone saves every CD they buy just like not everyone keeps every book they buy, either. If it makes the PYR8 guys feel any better, people who sell their used CDs probably burned copies of them first!

Re:check http://riaaradar.com too (1)

blind biker (1066130) | more than 3 years ago | (#28736365)

Buy used CDs instead whenever possible

Buying used CDs will most likely result in a net benefit for the labels, because the person who sold you his/her used CD will promptly go to the store and buy some other (RIAA) CD.

Re:check http://riaaradar.com too (1)

kheldan (1460303) | more than 4 years ago | (#28738091)

I'll say the same to you as I've said to the others: What's YOUR bright idea then? Don't say "PYR8 MOAR!" because it doesn't count, come up with a 100% legit idea.

Re:check http://riaaradar.com too (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28738563)

I'll say the same to you as I've said to the others: What's YOUR bright idea then? Don't say "PYR8 MOAR!" because it doesn't count, come up with a 100% legit idea.

Lol. You are far too emotional to ever be rational. A prefect example of a useful idiot for the MAFIAA's cause. You'll probably need to google that since leet-speak seems to be the highest level of criticism to which you can aspire.

Re:check http://riaaradar.com too (1)

Merlin843 (1151603) | more than 4 years ago | (#28738905)

I would say that 90% of my extensive music collection is from thrift stores or our library book sale. The most that I pay for cds is around four US dollars. I borrow some from our local library and rip them to my computer and then burn to a cd. I am working on burning my vinyl records to cds also. My wife and I have over 6000 records.

Re:check http://riaaradar.com too (1)

Dan667 (564390) | more than 3 years ago | (#28735413)

You are thinking to narrowly. As there revenue shrinks no matter what the cause, it will weaken their ability to operate. Not buying music from companies that fund the RIAA is a direct way to help.

Re:check http://riaaradar.com too (1)

jonnat (1168035) | more than 3 years ago | (#28735495)

<quote>When you buy music, make sure to check <a href="http://riaaradar.com/">http://riaaradar.com/</a> to see if the album is from a company that funds the RIAA.  If they do, don't buy it and stick it to them a couple dollars of lost earnings at a time.</quote>

That was depressing... Most of the albums I own were released by members of the RIAA.

Re:check http://riaaradar.com too (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#28735865)

I was actually pleasantly surprised to find how many of my recent purchases were NOT from the RIAA.

Guess I've gone more indie than I thought....

Re:check http://riaaradar.com too (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 3 years ago | (#28735775)

Trouble is, you need a critical mass of people for a boycott to work and you simply don't have it. People either don't care enough about this, or think that the boycott will just be put down to piracy.

Re:check http://riaaradar.com too (1)

ThatsNotPudding (1045640) | more than 3 years ago | (#28736543)

And if possible, contact the band / musician via Twitter, Facebook, official website, etc., point to their entry on the RIAARadar website and state: "This is why I will never buy any music you create".

Excellent news (4, Insightful)

JustNiz (692889) | more than 3 years ago | (#28735189)

its great news, but doesn't fix the problem.
I guess now all the RIAA will do is shift their efforts to people that earn too much to get Pro Bono, but still dont earn enough to be able to defend themselves against being hounded with litigation. In fact this is probably most of us.

Re:Excellent news (1)

Dragonslicer (991472) | more than 3 years ago | (#28736015)

Is there some specific income limit to receive pro bono counsel? If there isn't, how could someone have enough money to hire a lawyer to defend them (and not qualify for pro bono counsel) and at the same time not have enough money to hire a lawyer to defend them?

Re:Excellent news (1)

Hyppy (74366) | more than 3 years ago | (#28736203)

Someone who makes a decent middle-class salary may not have the means to add legal counsel to the list of bills.
Just because someone makes a decent amount of money does not mean that they have discretionary income to throw around.

Re:Excellent news (1)

Dragonslicer (991472) | more than 3 years ago | (#28736311)

Right, but either you can realistically afford a lawyer or you can't. If paying a lawyer means you won't have enough money for food, I'd say that qualifies as "can't". If there's no specific income requirement, I would assume that it's up to the judge on whether or not you qualify for court-appointed pro bono counsel (I also assume that if you yourself can convince a lawyer to defend you for free, the court has no say in the matter).

Re:Excellent news (2, Informative)

NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) | more than 3 years ago | (#28736419)

Right, but either you can realistically afford a lawyer or you can't. If paying a lawyer means you won't have enough money for food, I'd say that qualifies as "can't". If there's no specific income requirement, I would assume that it's up to the judge on whether or not you qualify for court-appointed pro bono counsel (I also assume that if you yourself can convince a lawyer to defend you for free, the court has no say in the matter).

Plus these cases are more expensive than they need to be because of the RIAA tactics. They commence cases without proper evidence; they press cases even against people they know to be innocent; they do not withdraw cases until after the defendant has incurred excessive attorneys fees; they stonewall discovery, forcing unnecessary motion practice; they refuse to compromise on anything; they try to keep everything confidential, so it will not be available to lawyers in other cases.

Re:Excellent news (3, Insightful)

NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) | more than 4 years ago | (#28736757)

Someone who makes a decent middle-class salary may not have the means to add legal counsel to the list of bills. Just because someone makes a decent amount of money does not mean that they have discretionary income to throw around.

Almost nobody can afford to expend hundreds of thousands of dollars in attorneys fees, which is what the RIAA makes sure a contested case will cost.

Idea (4, Interesting)

immakiku (777365) | more than 3 years ago | (#28735207)

What if we created a union of RIAA suit defendants? So we'd all pre-emptively buy in to a reasonable number - say enough money to go to court against RIAA if they sued 5% of everyone in the union. So say there's 1000 members, they'd contribute enough to the pool so that if 50 of the members get sued, they should have enough resources to go to court. Every time a case is lost against the RIAA the defendant will have to reimburse the pool.

I think this would level the playing field too. The idea is that everyone who is sued and is in this union is able to defend, instead of succumbing to debt. And the pool is only losing money proportional to how much the RIAA is losing. And if the RIAA legitimately have a case, the pool doesn't get diminished.

Re:Idea (1)

khellendros1984 (792761) | more than 3 years ago | (#28735411)

But how exactly would you set the limit of how much someone could pull out of the fund to defend themselves? There has to be a limit, since you're basically setting up a collective credit line. Maybe Defendant #1 can pay back $100k in 5 years, but Defendant #2 can only pay back $10k over 5 years, but #2 claims that he can pay more....what are you going to do? Audit all the people that join the pool? After all, if you let the wrong guy in and he loses his case, maybe he won't be able to reimburse the fund.

Re:Idea (1)

immakiku (777365) | more than 3 years ago | (#28735453)

That's a good point. And I don't have a solution to that. I imagine it'd be possible to get a big enough pool going that this shouldn't be a big problem.

In the end, I don't think this is anything sustainable. I believe it is more like a weapon against the RIAA in a war of attrition. The purpose of the war, of course, is to get them to stop shotgunning cases based on the idea that defendants can only afford to settle.

It's rare (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#28736393)

Just speaking of the US now, it is rare, but it *is* possible and has happened for private parties to bring a RICO suit against another entity, a corporation or group say. A large enough pool of people (in this case, legitimate music consumers) could self fund such a suit, perhaps also working with some sympathetic team of lawyers/paralegals/law students to help keep costs down. In other words, this basic idea of a music/movie lovers union is sound, just don't wait to get sued, go on the offensive and sue them.

Why this hasn't happened yet against the music and movie industries is a puzzler to me, price fixing, payola, "hollywood acounting" like what was brought up in the Tolkien article, etc, various other scumbag industry practices like suing people who don't even own computers, fishing expeditions, coercive threats against poor people and students, yadayadayada, but it would be possible. Here is the wiki ref, you can see what I am talking about in the fine print there RICO [wikipedia.org]

Perhaps NYCL or other lawyers here might chime in on this idea. The best defense is a good offense, as they say....

Re:Idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#28735481)

The problem is that will be at least one asshole who is doing everything up to running his own torrent site with five solid terabytes of copyrighted material... and he's going to join. "Me? No, I'm just a normal concerned user."

Then the RIAA fingers him...

Re:Idea (1)

immakiku (777365) | more than 3 years ago | (#28735515)

And if he loses, he will have to reimburse. So his incentive for joining is low to negative if he believes he's going to lose anyway.

Re:Idea (1)

AP31R0N (723649) | more than 3 years ago | (#28735565)

i like the idea. Almost like insurance. Making it work would be tricky. Seems a bit like hiring an army to protect us from the mafia. Paying a shark to protect us from the other sharks.

i'd rather see a class action suit to shut down RIAA or reimburse their victims for abusing our legal system.

Re:Idea (5, Insightful)

DMUTPeregrine (612791) | more than 3 years ago | (#28735653)

You have just invented insurance. Congratulations.

Re:Idea (3, Funny)

michaelhood (667393) | more than 3 years ago | (#28735929)

For some reason this reminded me of the dialogs (and the dialogue) that comes up when you discover something in the old Civilization games. I even heard it in the voice of that narrator.

Re:Idea (1)

bughunter (10093) | more than 4 years ago | (#28738315)

Oh great. You had to do it. You had to mention $nameofgamethatshallnotbementioned. Now I'm not going to be able to think of anything but $nameofgamethatshallnotbementioned, until I go on a sleepless 72-hour $nameofgamethatshallnotbementioned binge and get it out of my system. Thanks for ruining my weekend, you insensitive clod.

Re:Idea (1)

hamburgler007 (1420537) | more than 3 years ago | (#28735727)

It's a nice idea, but it would never work. You would have to find enough people to buy into it to make it sustainable, and I don't think you would find anywhere close to the number of necessary people. In the event of a successful defense, unless their is a counterclaim you are losing money. In the event of an unsuccessful defense, considering what the judgments handed down have been, the defendant ain't going to be able to reimburse anyone in any timely fashion.

Re:Idea (1)

c (8461) | more than 3 years ago | (#28735867)

> What if we created a union of RIAA suit defendants?

Because it would probably be cheaper to just buy music?

c.

Easy pickings default judgments and 'settlements' (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#28735209)

Isn't that happening with pro bono counsel every day?

Original Motion (4, Interesting)

HaeMaker (221642) | more than 3 years ago | (#28735307)

The original motion is quite well written [blogspot.com]. I especially like this part:

"Additionally, because criminal behavior on the part of the Plaintiffs may have occurred, I require assistance for qualified counsel appointed by the Courts."

Defendent cat says (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#28735395)

"I has already filed 'in forma pauperis" documentation with the court."

Well played.

Still trying to figure out the "Bono" part (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#28736047)

Had a parse issue at first glance and suddenly found myself wondering what a "Pro Bono" (like the U2 frontman) and if there were amateurs out there ;)

Bono (1)

Carra (1220410) | more than 3 years ago | (#28736435)

I was wondering if U2 went bankrupt if Bono needs a to have his lawyer appointed by the court.

lawl (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28736955)

She said she'll take the case pro boner.

Pro Bono is good? (1)

zaivala (887815) | more than 4 years ago | (#28736987)

In my area, I have yet to see a pro bono lawyer or public defender put up a good case. I hope Brittany wins this one, but am not encouraged.

Can't she just ask her uncle Freddy...? (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#28737067)

...to, you know, "haunt" the RIAA a bit?

Or is Freddy friends with other demons from "deeeep down under"? ^^

U2 or not U2 that is the question (1)

algoa456 (716417) | more than 4 years ago | (#28738483)

You may be pro Bono and that is your choice. I, however, think he is a meddlesome turd.

I hope this happens (1)

gubers33 (1302099) | more than 4 years ago | (#28738531)

I hate the greedy RIAA, it is about time someone turned the tables on them. They go after people who can barely pay the settlement nevertheless for counsel. If this starts happening around the country, the RIAA will have no easy targets and greater lose the power of fear.

Yes, Ray (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28738699)

Because EVERYONE is innocent, aren't they? I mean, just because their wired internet connection was used to download copyrighted materials, they have these materials on their personal computer, and the same computer was then used to upload said materials to thousands of other people, they couldn't possibly be guilty of anything. It must have been somebody else who broke into their house and used their computer to download music.
I'm curious as to what's going to happen when you keep claiming "it MUST have been SOMEBODY ELSE! (tm)", the RIAA/MPAA keep suing, and soon you run out of "somebody else"'s to blame.

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