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RIAA Victim Wins Attorney's Fees

samzenpus posted more than 7 years ago | from the fight-the-power dept.

The Courts 171

VE3OGG writes "Debbie Foster, one of the many caught-up in the RIAA's drift-net attacks who was sued back in 2004 has recently seen yet another victory. After having the suit dropped against her "with prejudice" several months back, Foster filed a counter-claim, and has just been awarded "reasonable" attorney's fees. Could this, in conjunction with cases such as Santangelo, show a turning of the tide against the RIAA?"

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Open up your networks! (5, Interesting)

Space cowboy (13680) | more than 7 years ago | (#17928726)

Sadly, from the article, it looks as though this will not set a precedent that will discourage the RIAA from doing this sort of thing - the judge indicated that the fact the RIAA kept her on as a co-defendent (after they went after her daughter instead) was important in the decision to award costs to Debbie. The strong-arm tactics backfired badly for this particular case - good for her, but not something to discourage the RIAA in general, they'll just have to be a bit less aggressive to defendants.

However...

The bit that caught my eye, though, was the quote

 

Judge Lee could find no case "holding the mere owner of an Internet account contributorily or vicariously liable for the infringing activities of third persons."


Me like. If that can be said to be a precedent, it means anyone with an unsecured WiFi network has a strong argument for not being held liable for anything done on that network - it's open, after all. Anyone could drive by, park, download [insert bad stuff here], and drive off. Unless the prosecution has video surveillance of your house/apartment, it'll be very hard to *prove* who did what.

It seems the best protection may be none at all. How very Zen.

Simon

Re:Open up your networks! (2, Insightful)

HvitRavn (813950) | more than 7 years ago | (#17928770)

That is a very intruiging thought, and counters what many of the people I know fear the most - getting dragged to court for something they haven't done. One problem is though, such a precedent can also be used to protect criminals such as spammers, frauds, and so on.

Re:Open up your networks! (4, Funny)

David Gould (4938) | more than 7 years ago | (#17929188)

One problem is though, such a precedent can also be used to protect criminals such as spammers, frauds, and so on.
Don't forget child molesters.

Oh gods, not "think of the children" again! (2, Insightful)

arth1 (260657) | more than 7 years ago | (#17929478)

An entity known as David Gould (4938) wrote:

Don't forget child molesters.
What if you leave your keys in your car? If a child molester uses it to go see a child, should you be held responsible?

Stop thinking about the children. Think of the actual facts. If you apply more feelings than logic, you know you're on the way to do someone wrong.

Re:Oh gods, not "think of the children" again! (2)

infaustus (936456) | more than 7 years ago | (#17929878)

I think you missed some sarcasm there...

Re:Oh gods, not "think of the children" again! (2, Insightful)

David Gould (4938) | more than 7 years ago | (#17930308)

I think you missed some sarcasm there...
Thank you. Guess it was a bit too subtle for some of us, huh?

Re:Oh gods, not "think of the children" again! (4, Funny)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 7 years ago | (#17929942)

It sounds like *you* need to learn to think from the gut!

Re:Open up your networks! (1)

Mr. Freeman (933986) | more than 7 years ago | (#17931312)

Oh snap, you've found a problem. I guess we should make all of this "sue and drop the case against anyone who doesn't settle on our terms" stuff legal. I mean, I might have to deal with some spam emails in my inbox. I guess you're right though, clicking "delete" 5 times a day outweighs the benefits of actually being able to listen to my music without fear of getting sued at any moment.

(And for those of you who can't tell, that was all sarcastic)

Re:Open up your networks! (1)

EvanED (569694) | more than 7 years ago | (#17929246)

I know. Isn't not having strict liability crimes inconvenient?

Re:Open up your networks! (1)

GodInHell (258915) | more than 7 years ago | (#17930032)

I know it made for easy points on my crim law class. "Oh possesion.. he's guilty."

Now, imagine I was evaluated on my conviction rate - man I'd LOVE strict liability.

-GiH

Re:Open up your networks! (2, Insightful)

Machtyn (759119) | more than 7 years ago | (#17929704)

While it may be true that the computer illiterate probably won't be held liable for their unsecured network, if the **AA can prove you DO know what you are doing, you won't be able to get away with it. Particularly, if you found out how to secure your system and didn't act on it within a reasonable amount of time.

unsecured WiFi (4, Interesting)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 7 years ago | (#17928778)

Even if its secure, its not that hard to break into it anyway.. or just directly compromise your pc with a trojan.. So really in ANY situation you can claim it wasnt you, quite reasonably.

Now, that said, if they get a search warrant and strip your house bare and find that 'backup' cd hidden away with one of the files in question, your quite logical defense melts away like an ice cube in hell.

Re:unsecured WiFi (2, Insightful)

Atlantis-Rising (857278) | more than 7 years ago | (#17928832)

That, and a conviction of perjury.

Re:unsecured WiFi (3, Interesting)

Sj0 (472011) | more than 7 years ago | (#17929014)

If Bill Gates and Steve Balmer can lie in court without getting charged, why not the rest of us?

Re:unsecured WiFi (4, Insightful)

Drooling Iguana (61479) | more than 7 years ago | (#17929094)

Because the rest of us are commoners. Different set of rules.

Re:unsecured WiFi (3, Insightful)

tmossman (901205) | more than 7 years ago | (#17929108)

Money. Almost pretend amounts of money.

Re:unsecured WiFi (0, Troll)

jlarocco (851450) | more than 7 years ago | (#17929222)

If Bill Gates and Steve Balmer can lie in court without getting charged, why not the rest of us?

There's no difference at all. They're just offering the judge more money.

Re:unsecured WiFi (1)

commodoresloat (172735) | more than 7 years ago | (#17929688)

because the rest of us don't have the power to declare, "those aren't lies; those are simply improvements on the current standards of truth."

Re:unsecured WiFi (0, Offtopic)

pnewhook (788591) | more than 7 years ago | (#17929882)

If Bill Gates and Steve Balmer can lie in court without getting charged, why not the rest of us?

If George Bush can lie and have hundreds of thousands of innocent people killed as aa result, why not the rest of us?

As an aside, why isn't that asshead being impeached? They tried to get Clinton impeached and all he did as pork his intern. I guess the moral standards have been lowered somewhat.

Re:unsecured WiFi (2, Informative)

letxa2000 (215841) | more than 7 years ago | (#17930352)

They tried to get Clinton impeached and all he did as pork his intern. I guess the moral standards have been lowered somewhat.

Completely off-topic and this has been covered time and time again, but Clinton wasn't impeached for porking his intern. He was impeached for committing perjury which is essentially the most heinous thing anyone can do if we are to have any hopes of having a justice system that works.

Re:unsecured WiFi (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17930424)

Then it stands to reason all we need to do is put Bush in front of a judicial inquiry and wait for his mouth to open.

Re:unsecured WiFi (0, Offtopic)

pnewhook (788591) | more than 7 years ago | (#17930432)

Clinton was not impeached - he was cleared.

I would say killing innocent people is the most heinous thing anyone can do.

Re:unsecured WiFi (0, Offtopic)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 7 years ago | (#17930510)

[Clinton] was impeached for committing perjury which is essentially the most heinous thing anyone can do...

So, lying is bad? Okay then, to reiterate the original post: why hasn't Bush been impeached yet? Clinton lied about his sex life, which ought to have been a private matter anyway. Bush lied about Iraq having WMDs, resulting in thousands of people dying!

And don't try to tell me some bullshit about how "lying in court is heinous but lying to the American people (and Congress) is A-OK!"

Re:unsecured WiFi (0, Offtopic)

Wordsmith (183749) | more than 7 years ago | (#17930968)

It's absurd that we're getting this off-topic in a conversation about an RIAA-related legal battle, but ...

Neither form of lieing is OK. Didn't your mother teach you that?

Clinton's lieing, though about a matter many consider trivial in the grand scheme of things, was before a grand jury. That makes it perjury. That makes it illegal. That also makes it significantly morally wrong, particularly for someone whose job involves representing the country and its system of government. Perjury is very, very bad if your goal is to have a functioning judiciary, a key part of that system of government.

Bush's lieing is also very, very bad, albeit not necessarily illegal. It would have been a perfectly good reason to vote him and all of his associates out of office, but the American people unfortunately stopped just short of that in 2004. If any of it does amount to criminal activity, then he should be prosecuted. But the fact that is lieing inspires great moral outrage (as well it should) has nothing to do with whether it violates written law. So far, no one's brought a cohesive and compelling argument forth that Bush broke any law.

Re:Open up your networks! (5, Insightful)

nebaz (453974) | more than 7 years ago | (#17928940)

Judge Lee could find no case "holding the mere owner of an Internet account contributorily or vicariously liable for the infringing activities of third persons."

I can see next year, really early

HR 2008 - 0002 "Secure Communication Relating to Existing Wireless Environment Detection" Act.

(i) Owners of a wireless network will be held accountable for all civil and criminal liabilities associated with any unauthorized copyrighted materials on the network....

Re:Open up your networks! (5, Funny)

Elminst (53259) | more than 7 years ago | (#17929016)

Alas, my mod points disappeared today... Or I would have given you an "Insightful" for most accurate acronym for a US law, ever.

Re:Open up your networks! (1)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 7 years ago | (#17929900)

HR?

Re:Open up your networks! (1)

Miseph (979059) | more than 7 years ago | (#17930606)

It stands for "House of Representatives", I believe, and is placed at the beginning of each proposed bill's title so that it can be correctly identified as having originated there.

Or maybe "House Resolution", I'm not quite sure... I haven't taken a civics class since some time in high school.

Re:Open up your networks! (3, Funny)

wizzahd (995765) | more than 7 years ago | (#17930924)

HR 2008 - 0002 "Secure Communication Relating to Existing Wireless Environment Detection" Act.
whoosh!

Re:Open up your networks! (2, Interesting)

Harin_Teb (1005123) | more than 7 years ago | (#17929084)

I'm not sure if the author intended parent to be funny or not, but its definately more of a serious concern than a joke. We all know congress has a propensity for knee-jerk legislation with poorly thought out long term consequences... I'd say more scary than funny.

Re:Open up your networks! (1, Interesting)

interstellar_donkey (200782) | more than 7 years ago | (#17929436)

Neat. I just have to drive by the headquarters of some large company, poke around for an unsecured or poorly secured WAP, send massive amounts of spam with, oh, say pictures of kiddy porn with the subject "I know you'll like this!", and the company will be held liable for the criminal activities.

Let's see them modify the law to state "...will be held accountable unless you're a big company".

I guess that's ultimately what will happen, only with wording that will make it less obvious. Sadly, the United States always seems to legislate in ways that screw the citizen while protecting the corporate entity. But who knows; we all might get a free-be here.

Re:Open up your networks! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17929532)

Ohpleaseohpleaseohplease I really hope they pass that law. I will totally find an open RIAA/MPAA network, bounce some torrent traffic off an anonymizer, and send a bunch of those rotten bastards to jail. Mmmmmm, tasty. SCREWED is right.

Re:Open up your networks! (3, Informative)

AlHunt (982887) | more than 7 years ago | (#17928942)

Sadly, from the article, it looks as though this will not set a precedent that will discourage the RIAA from doing this sort of thing
Nope. From Yesterdays Portsmouth Herald [seacoastonline.com] , an Augusta, Maine man has been sued by the RIAA for distributing 5 allegedly pirated songs. The article says 18,000 lawsuits have been filed since 9/03, 6 of them in Maine.

Re:Open up your networks! (4, Informative)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | more than 7 years ago | (#17928988)

However, this has no bearing on direct infringement.

Leaving a WAP open for anyone to use is not a viable way to defend yourself from infringement suits concerning your direct infringement (as opposed to indirect infringement, which is what the court was talking about). This is because in civil copyright suits there is no such thing as 'beyond a reasonable doubt.' The standard of proof is 'on the balance of probabilities,' i.e. whatever is most likely (even if only 51% likely as compared to 49% likely), is what happened.

In fact, in order to use the open WAP to help yourself, you'd have to prove that someone else probably is the infringer, and not you. The plaintiff can get a lot of help from the fact that you, as the owner of the WAP, a person who is very often in its range, and probably a frequent Internet user, probably do use it the most and probably are the infringer. It's tough for you to argue that someone else did the deed, especially if you don't have anything to point to other than that it's open. In fact, just because it's open doesn't even mean anyone else ever uses it.

Re:Open up your networks! (2, Interesting)

networkBoy (774728) | more than 7 years ago | (#17929126)

I live in an apartment.
My open WAP could (and has) been used like a cheap whore by many people.
Alas, the transparent proxy has thwarted many attempts at pure stupidity (using my WAP to do your banking is asking for it), thus https is blocked by default (as is port 21, and 25, and bittorrent).

-nB

Re:Open up your networks! (1)

EvanED (569694) | more than 7 years ago | (#17929260)

Alas, the transparent proxy has thwarted many attempts at pure stupidity (using my WAP to do your banking is asking for it), thus https is blocked by default

Is it? At least if you pay attention to the source of a certificate and use SSL 2.0, SSL isn't vulnerable to man-in-the-middle or snooping attacks, is it? I don't see what the issue is, unless it's that few actually check the ssl certificate to see if it's signed by someone trusted...

Re:Open up your networks! (1)

networkBoy (774728) | more than 7 years ago | (#17929340)

unless it's that few actually check the ssl certificate to see if it's signed by someone trusted...
I could have my proxy request the page, accept the bank's cert, then issue a cert with the bank's name in the cert. the average user wouldn't notice, they're conditioned to just check the YES box.
-nB

Re:Open up your networks! (1)

EvanED (569694) | more than 7 years ago | (#17929380)

Thanks for the answer. That's the only vulnerability I could think of; just wanted to make sure that there wasn't a technical issue that I was overlooking or didn't know about.

Re:Open up your networks! (2, Informative)

networkBoy (774728) | more than 7 years ago | (#17929774)

no, just braindead users.
Human stupidity knows no bounds. We all know that, and frankly I just don't want to worry about it.

My setup is as follows:
2Wire ADSL modem/router WPA enabled, wireless on.
The linksys is configured to use a static IP outside of my local subnet (linksys WAN 192.168.0.1, local 192.168.49.x both mask 255.255.255.0, thus invisible to each other).
Linksys WAN connects to the proxy server eth2, which then connects to the 2wire router in the DMZ zone rather than the normal LAN zone. This assigns the proxy an external IP on eth0. eth1 is on my lan, though normally physically disconnected (more due to a physical port constraint than paranoia, but hey it's secure by default!).

All in all this allows me to share my connection to the world, with no worries that the world can see my local network of machines. plus I can unplug the cable from the linksys to the proxy if I need all my bandwith for a time. It's hilarious to see people connecting to the linksys when there are no connections to the outside world :-)
-nB

Funny you should mention that... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17929992)

The firewall at work will do that if I haven't authenticated to the network yet and I try to visit some protected site (usually Gmail).

I examined the cert the first time and have clicked no ever after.

Re:Open up your networks! (1)

TempeTerra (83076) | more than 7 years ago | (#17930728)

This may be a noob question:

How does one block bittorrent? Do you block the default port, or look for some kind of TCP header? Couldn't a motivated user disguise their traffic?

Re:Open up your networks! (1)

SaDan (81097) | more than 7 years ago | (#17929518)

What if I have an open access point, and no wireless devices of my own to use it?

Re:Open up your networks! (1)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | more than 7 years ago | (#17929854)

So? They determine that someone was infringing from a particular IP address. They can't tell that someone was using a WAP or not. The WAP thing is merely suggested as a way to have many people on the same IP address to have some kind of plausible deniability. The problem is that plausible deniability isn't really all that helpful.

Re:Open up your networks! (3, Insightful)

cfulmer (3166) | more than 7 years ago | (#17929648)

Well, that's part of the calculus. If you're a 75-year-old grandmother with an open network, chances are that no jury is going to think that it's more likely than not that you were the one downloading gangster rap.

In any case, I don't think "We noticed somebody from this IP address sharing this song at XX time, and the ISP's logs said that was the defendant" is enough. That's why, after all, the RIAA subpoenas the disk drives.

Re:Open up your networks! (2, Insightful)

jstomel (985001) | more than 7 years ago | (#17929684)

Wait a minute, wouldn't you only have to prove that you are not likely the offender, not that some particular person else is? For instance, wouldn't being a 72 year old grandmother who regularly had numerious neighborhood kids over be a defense, even if you couldn't say "this particular kid probably did it"? I think any reasonable jury would agree to that. Perhaps leaving your WEP open isn't enough, but making sure that people more likely than you use it is.

Re:Open up your networks! (1)

ozphx (1061292) | more than 7 years ago | (#17930194)

The standard of proof is 'on the balance of probabilities,' i.e. whatever is most likely (even if only 51% likely as compared to 49% likely), is what happened.

And when they come after you for a $10000 for each of the 5000 songs you downloaded and you are ruled 5% responsible, you are still screwed. (After all you are a slashdot geek so you must've known you should secure that WiFi. Its like not maintaining the brakes on your car!.... yer honour.

Re:Open up your networks! (2, Funny)

Evilest Doer (969227) | more than 7 years ago | (#17929000)

Unless the prosecution has video surveillance of your house/apartment, it'll be very hard to *prove* who did what.
Ssshhh!!!! Don't give Alberto Gonzales any ideas!

"Precedent" (5, Informative)

spiritraveller (641174) | more than 7 years ago | (#17929054)

Me like. If that can be said to be a precedent, it means ...

Some explaining is in order.

I know y'all aren't lawyers, so I shouldn't expect you to get the lawyer-speak right, but I have noticed lots and lots of misuse of this term.

"Precedent" in the context of a court's decision doesn't mean much at the trial court level.

That's because a court is only bound by the decisions of the courts ABOVE it. Since a trial court is basically the lowest court, you don't have trial courts setting "precedents" that anyone has to follow.

Appeals courts set precedent that the trial courts (aka district courts) must follow within their circuits. The Supreme Court also sets precedent that the Courts of Appeal and district courts must follow. But district courts do not set precedent that anyone else must follow.

I suppose any time someone decides something it can be called a "precedent". But usually, when we say that about courts, we are talking about something that has to be followed.

A court does not have to follow its own precedents, though they tend to do so, absent a good reason to change course. This tendency is called stare decisis [wikipedia.org] , and it is not a requirement. The Supreme Court reverses itself fairly regularly, and that's why some people worry that Roe v. Wade (or another decision) might get overturned.

While a district court sets precedent in the sense that decisions in that same court will probably follow it, they do not set precedent that anyone outside of that court's jurisdiction needs to follow. Someone else may or may not find that judge's reasoning persuasive.

Re:"Precedent" (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17929332)

Sure you are a lawyer? You are looking up the wrong tree and missing what the RIAA *really* fears. "Non Mutual Collateral Estoppel" means the judge's decision is binding in any case in the future the RIAA brings. Once a party loses a legal argument, it is stuck with that outcome, and can't keep relitigating the same question. To avoid this, they will have to appeal, and while the case is under appeal, get the plaintiff to settle the appeal with a "vacatur" to vacate or "erase" the trial court's opinion.

Re:"Precedent" (2, Informative)

spiritraveller (641174) | more than 7 years ago | (#17930366)

Sure you are a lawyer?

I didn't say I was a lawyer. I might be.

Regardless, it's quite obvious that YOU are not a lawyer.

"Non Mutual Collateral Estoppel" means the judge's decision is binding in any case in the future the RIAA brings.

Collateral estoppel refers to the principle that a party may not relitigate an issue that has already been determined in another case.

So, the RIAA will not be allowed to relitigate the question of whether Debbie Foster is entitled to attorney's fees.

Whoop-de-frickin-doo!

Re:"Precedent" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17930820)

No, the RIAA is now stuck with a fully litigated ruling that merely owning the ISP account to which an IP was assigned that was engaged in primary infringement, is as a matter of law, not sufficient to state a claim for contributory infringement. Non-Mutual collateral estoppel or "offensive estoppel" applies to legal theories of liability, not just to facts. It is issue preclusion tying the hands of the party regardless of who they litigate that issue against in the future.

Re:"Precedent" (1)

spiritraveller (641174) | more than 7 years ago | (#17931110)

Non-Mutual collateral estoppel or "offensive estoppel" applies to legal theories of liability, not just to facts.

There has been no litigation of the RIAA's theory of liability in this case.

They voluntarily dismissed their case.

And besides that, this story is not about the voluntary dismissal, which is old news. This story is about the award of attorney's fees. You're the one barking up the wrong tree.

Re:"Precedent" (3, Insightful)

nomadic (141991) | more than 7 years ago | (#17929384)

While I agree with most of what you said, federal district court decisions, while not binding precedent, are useful. So I would classify them as being significantly more valuable than "don't mean much", though obviously they're still just persuasive.

I see them cited frequently, especially in support of issues of law that haven't been determined at an appellate law. Judges tend not to like to go out on limbs, if you can show them where another judge did something similar, it can make them feel more comfortable about ruling.

Re:Open up your networks! (4, Interesting)

Rodyland (947093) | more than 7 years ago | (#17929056)

It seems the best protection may be none at all. How very Zen.

War is peace

Freedom is slavery

Ignorance is strength

And now

Insecurity is protection

A few years late, but not unexpected..

Watch your children... (1)

skoaldipper (752281) | more than 7 years ago | (#17929120)

The strong-arm tactics backfired badly for this particular case - good for her, but not something to discourage the RIAA in general, they'll just have to be a bit less aggressive to defendants.
I think this case was an exception, and the RIAA lawyers probably handled the case poorly in this instance (as you cite). However, their is a tremendous amount of legal precedent (not to mention varying state laws) which do hold parents accountable for their children's actions on the internet. Two honor students in California setup an eBay shop and defrauded many. Parents paid $25000. Twelve year old girl in New York downloaded music off P2P. Parent paid $2000. There are many more. This is no time for sighs of relief; maybe just a quick gasp for air.

Re:Open up your networks! (1)

penguinbrat (711309) | more than 7 years ago | (#17929168)

Sadly, from the article, it looks as though this will not set a precedent that will discourage the RIAA from doing this sort of thing...

Sad but true - although Duke (the trainer) in Rocky IV lays it out pretty well..

"You cut him! You hurt him! You see? You see? He's not a machine, he's a man!" - Rocky IV

The same thing can now be said about the RIAA - they're not infallible and their BS can be given back to them, even with prejudice.

ummm... no. (3, Insightful)

mungtor (306258) | more than 7 years ago | (#17929272)

And if you're planning on killing somebody, just leave a loaded gun on your front porch. Then anybody could have done it! An airtight defense if I ever saw one.

If it was even suspected that you were hosting an open WiFi point to engage in, or encourage others to engage in an illegal activity I think they could find many ways to make your life miserable. I'm fairly certain that giving others the tools to commit a crime and then standing idly by while they commit it is, in itself, illegal. Maybe harder to prove, seeing as how they would have to prove intent, but still enough to get you in trouble. Especially if they could show that you were knowledgable enough to know what an unsecured network could be used for.

Re:Open up your networks! (1)

GodInHell (258915) | more than 7 years ago | (#17929946)

Me like. If that can be said to be a precedent, it means anyone with an unsecured WiFi network has a strong argument for not being held liable for anything done on that network - it's open, after all. Anyone could drive by, park, download [insert bad stuff here], and drive off. Unless the prosecution has video surveillance of your house/apartment, it'll be very hard to *prove* who did what.
It's just a holding.. if it's cited by a judge in the process of constructing a future ruling, it becomes a "precendent" in the meaning I think you're suggesting.

It's not really a binding precendent until a court above the court you're arguing in front of rules the same way. It is persuasive though.. to judges that respect that court.

-GiH

Re:Open up your networks! (1)

1310nm (687270) | more than 7 years ago | (#17930848)

So, you think people war drive for digital media? This has everything to do with sharing over the Internets, and nothing to do with people sharing files over private LANs.

How very zen? How very Christian! (1)

the_REAL_sam (670858) | more than 7 years ago | (#17931012)

How very Christian:

"If your enemy strikes your cheek, turn the other, that he may strike it, as well." .. "Make no effort to resist evil." .. "If they ask you to walk with them a mile, walk with them two miles." .. "If they sue you at the law and ask for your shirt, give them your cloak, as well, and don't ask for it back."

It could well be argued that not securing your networks is the Christian thing to do. (applying the "turn the other cheek" to "hackers" and "network piggybackers") It could also be argued that "turn the other cheek" would have the RIAA not suing, but it would also have their victims giving twice the amount asked for, if they were sued.

No. (1)

Derek Loev (1050412) | more than 7 years ago | (#17928768)

Could this, in conjunction with cases such as Santangelo, show a turning of the tide against the RIAA?"

Was there really that much of a tide to be turned?

Re:No. (1)

skoaldipper (752281) | more than 7 years ago | (#17929162)

I think he meant legal not public opinion. Either way, this case is just low tide. Wait for high.

On Slashdot... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17928772)

Could this, in conjunction with cases such as Santangelo, show a turning of the tide against the RIAA?

Could /. stop ending summaries with "Could this be the end of <something most /. readers think is bad>?"?

Re:On Slashdot... (4, Funny)

josteos (455905) | more than 7 years ago | (#17928876)

Could this, in conjunction with cases such as Santangelo, show a turning of the tide against the RIAA?

Could /. stop ending summaries with "Could this be the end of <something most /. readers think is bad>?"?
Could /. posters stop asking other /. posters to stop summarizing articles with "Could this be the end of <something evil>?"?

Re:On Slashdot... (4, Insightful)

Rodyland (947093) | more than 7 years ago | (#17929002)

Could /. posters stop asking other /. posters to stop summarizing articles with "Could this be the end of ?"?

Mod parent Funny, by all means, but the previous poster raises, IMO, a valid point.

A quick scan of the front page shows two stories with a "could this mean..." summary endings.

IMO prose like this is redundant at best, and anywhere from condescending (http://it.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/02/07/23 16201 [slashdot.org] ) to outright misleading (this article) at the worst, and reads like tabloid journalism and sensationalism at its finest.

I think it rarely adds anything interesting to the article in question, and can be done without.

Just me $0.02

Re:On Slashdot... (1)

EvanED (569694) | more than 7 years ago | (#17929202)

Thanks for the support. I'm the author of the original post... (occasionally I'll post something I think will be moderated troll or flamebait or something as AC, but each time I think afterwards that I shouldn't bother... I can burn karma and should probably take responsibility for what I say anyway.)

But there's almost third [slashdot.org] such summary from today, though I guess going back and looking this one is closer to the beginning of the summary than the end. But it still takes the obligatory /. anti-MS swipe in an article that has almost nothing to do with MS or Vista, and also mentions shortcomings of Linux/Unix security. Why not say "Could children with a $100 laptop end up with a better security infrastructure than executives using $5000 laptops powered by Vista?"?

Oh, and admittedly rather less egregious, there is even a forth [slashdot.org] article ending with something similar to the question formula.

I agree with the sentiment most of the time, but it really gets old after a while. And they're usually pretty dumb "can you predict the future" questions too. Do you think this thread will make a difference?

Re:On Slashdot... (1)

Rodyland (947093) | more than 7 years ago | (#17929408)

Didn't notice that third one. And take another look at the http://it.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/02/07/213 7233 [slashdot.org] article - my guess is it's been changed because what you wrote above "Could children with a $100 laptop end up with a better security infrastructure than executives using $5000 laptops powered by Vista?" is verbatim from the summary. Maybe I misread what you wrote.

Do I think this thread will make a difference? I very much doubt it. Maybe over time if enough people pester those in charge to drop the dumb comments...

Re:On Slashdot... (1)

EvanED (569694) | more than 7 years ago | (#17930300)

And take another look at the http://it.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/02/07/213 [slashdot.org] 7233 article - my guess is it's been changed because what you wrote above "Could children with a $100 laptop end up with a better security infrastructure than executives using $5000 laptops powered by Vista?" is verbatim from the summary. Maybe I misread what you wrote.

Oh, oops. I miswrote what I wrote. ;-)

I intended to say 'why not say "Could children with a $100 laptop end up with a better security infrastructure than executives using $5000 laptops powered by Linux?"', since the article is also hard on Unix-type security. (Though to be fair Vista makes more sense, but it just seems like another typical /. MS slam to me, which also get old after a while.)

Do I think this thread will make a difference? I very much doubt it. Maybe over time if enough people pester those in charge to drop the dumb comments...

I was more trying to illustrate how obnoxious it is to end comments with an annoying question.

Re:On Slashdot... (1)

Rodyland (947093) | more than 7 years ago | (#17931182)

I thought I heard something.... the sound of the irony flying over my head. Do you think I'll get the joke next time? :)

Re:On Slashdot... (1)

complete loony (663508) | more than 7 years ago | (#17929764)

It seems to me that the taggers often reply to the summary question.

Google Apps to Become Paid Service
"Could this be the end of a monopoly? Or the start of a new one?"
And the tags are (currently) "no, yes". So people think Microsofts monopoly will continue? and that Google will start one?

Re:On Slashdot... (1)

Rodyland (947093) | more than 7 years ago | (#17929932)

Interesting take. And also useless as far as tagging articles goes, I think you'll agree.

Re:On Slashdot... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17929194)

Could this, in conjunction with cases such as Santangelo, show a turning of the tide against the RIAA?
Could /. stop ending summaries with "Could this be the end of ?"?

Could /. posters stop asking other /. posters to stop summarizing articles with "Could this be the end of ?"?
Could this be the end to /. ending summaries with "could this be the end of (something bad)?"

About time. (2, Interesting)

WiiVault (1039946) | more than 7 years ago | (#17928836)

Great news, I just wish she had gone for pain and suffering, harassment, and libel (or something like it). Get those greedy bastards to set her up for life and we'll see how many more suits they file. Fuck you RIAA!

Re:About time. (1)

Derek Loev (1050412) | more than 7 years ago | (#17928858)

Sounds like a John Grisham novel.

Re:About time. (3, Insightful)

WiiVault (1039946) | more than 7 years ago | (#17928996)

Well I guess you haven't dealt with the RIAA. It more Godfather than Grisham though.

Re:About time. (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 7 years ago | (#17929810)

Great news, I just wish she had gone for pain and suffering, harassment, and libel (or something like it). Get those greedy bastards to set her up for life and we'll see how many more suits they file. Fuck you RIAA!

going into court with revenge or greed as your objective (to be "set up for life") is why judges instinctively resist awards for pain and suffering, etc. too nebulous, too easily abused.

the courts are a very conservative institution.

issues are progressively narrowed, not enlarged as cases proceed to judgment.

Re:About time. (1)

WiiVault (1039946) | more than 7 years ago | (#17930114)

Lawyers fees to a group like the RIAA isn't even pocket change. To make them respect consumers they must get a harsh slap. Big companies are often expected to pony up far more than an individual would in similar circumstances.

Re:About time. (2, Insightful)

NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) | more than 7 years ago | (#17930274)

You are so wrong. This is huge. It will encourage other people to fight back, rather than settle.... will encourage lawyers all across the country to jump into the fight... will encourage lawyers who are already handling one of these cases to take on more cases.

If Ms. Foster gets an award of $55,000, that's an expense on top of the $100,000 or so the RIAA has spent on the case. That's a net loss on this one case of, let's say, $155,000, which would wipe out all the profit from probably a hundred settlements.

Plus the decision will have a ripple effect in other cases. It makes 3 or 4 important legal points about the RIAA's typical legal attack. Judges all across the country are going to be reading it during the next 6 months. I cited it to a judge today, one day after it came down.

Re:About time. (1)

NormalVisual (565491) | more than 7 years ago | (#17930534)

I don't know if anyone here has ever thanked you personally for your efforts against the RIAA's extortionate tactics, but I appreciate the hell out of what you and your peers have done to put the brakes on it.

Re:About time. (1)

WiiVault (1039946) | more than 7 years ago | (#17930594)

Sorry I by no means meant to reduce the importance of the victory Ms. Foster got against those thugs. She is a hero in my eyes. I was simply putting forth the wish that she had been able to extract more out of them.

As the other poster pointed out your efforts against these monopolists is fantastic and a real credit to you're character. Keep up the good fight!

Hopefully... (1)

Hsensei (1055922) | more than 7 years ago | (#17929024)

This is the first stone to let loose the dam on the RIAA, now can she get some pain and suffering monies?

No fines or jail (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17929192)

FTA:
"Instead of immediately dropping the case against Debbie Foster and suing those they believed were responsible for the alleged infringement, the plaintiffs amended the complaint to add her daughter Amanda Foster, while keeping Debbie as a codefendant. The RIAA told Debbie Foster that she was liable for any infringement regardless of whether she had shared or downloaded files herself because she was the registered owner of the account. Foster responded by filing a counterclaim for a "declaratory judgement of noninfringement.""

So with that logic; I can shoot someone with a gun that belongs to someone who works for RIAA; and they would be responsibe for the murder. Wow... Love their logic.

Re:No fines or jail (3, Insightful)

EvanED (569694) | more than 7 years ago | (#17929352)

A couple points of note. First, we're talking civil cases, so everything I say will be in that venue.

Second, parents are often responsible for their children's actions; if you're the kid of the RIAA gun owner, then yes, the family of the person you killed could sue your parents. This is not an absolute; parents are not always held liable for their kids' actions, but they often are.

Third, even with no relation, it's quite possible and reasonable that if the person you took the gun from didn't secure it properly (for instance, say you found it outside on their lawn), they could be held partially liable.

The RIAA is mostly full of crap on this issue, but your analogy is at least equally flawed.

We all know what "reasonable" means to the RIAA (2, Interesting)

erroneus (253617) | more than 7 years ago | (#17929216)

They love big and overly-inflated numbers when they cite losses. They might as well hand over a big and overly-inflated number to this lady in damages.

Don't need open wifi. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17929232)

So the good news here is that almost all the broad band users out there are safe. The evidence the RIAA has against you is that the have the files coming from an IP, and while that ip is associated with you, it is associated with a device not capable of doing what they are accusing you of. All they have evidence of is that you acted as an ISP for a violator and as such The DMCA actually protects you.

I am not a lawyer but I imagine that the logs that show that your account had a given IP at a given time also associate a mac addr to that ip, and it should be quite easy to demonstrate that the device with that ip at the time in question just can't do what they accuse that it did.

RIAA already won (4, Insightful)

meme lies (1050572) | more than 7 years ago | (#17929270)

Do you honestly think the RIAA gives a damn? They would rather win, yes, but this isn't about the relatively trivial (to them) judgements and legal costs. This was a P.R. campaign. They wanted parents to stop their kids from downloading gig upon gig from Kazaa. They wanted colleges to monitor what their students were up to on the networks. They wanted the average user to always have a nagging fear every time they went to Limewire.

I think it's pretty despicable*, but it was (unfortunately) very effective, much more so (and probably cheaper than) a typical ad campaign. Yes, there are other ways they could have done it, I am not saying it was right; but to think any legal setback (other than something extremely catastrophic, such as ordering them to pay ALL legal fees for all past cases plus emotional distress or something like that) will make them consider the campaign a failure is just foolish. If they lose a case there is nothing to stop them from filing more; it's the front-page news alerts that another thousand have been served that they are after, not the judgements themselves.

  And anyway, even if they were to stop tomorrow, they could do so comfortably knowing that they already won-- "piracy" has been stygmatized, and casual users are afraid.

* I would go so far as to say no corporation should be able to sue an individual under any circumstances, but that is a different discussion.

Re:RIAA already won (5, Insightful)

Todd Knarr (15451) | more than 7 years ago | (#17929592)

Actually I think they do care. One of their tactics has been to drag things out to where people settle simply because it's cheaper. This decision hurts that tactic two ways. First, it calls into question the RIAA's assertion that merely being the registered owner of the IP address they claim was involved is sufficient. And second, it provides precedent a defendant can cite in future cases for making the RIAA pay defendant's attorney's fees if the RIAA can't prevail. Those two things make it more likely a defendant will take the "Prove it was me at the computer." defense further and go for a win instead of settling. And now it's on the record in an actual ruling by the court. It's a published ruling future defendants can cite as settled case law and which the RIAA will have to overcome. That's one of the things they really really didn't want to have happen, which is why they squirmed so hard to try and avoid a dismissal with prejudice.

Re:RIAA already won (4, Interesting)

NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) | more than 7 years ago | (#17929680)

You are exactly right, Todd. This is a major precedent. In fact, I cited it in court papers today -- the day after the ruling came down.

I wonder... (1)

Xenographic (557057) | more than 7 years ago | (#17930254)

Maybe it's too early to say, but have you seen any change in their legal tactics since this ruling came down? Do you think they're likely to start doing things much differently now?

Re:I wonder... (2, Interesting)

NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) | more than 7 years ago | (#17930316)

The decision just came down yesterday afternoon, so definitely it's too early to say. But I guarantee you it will chasten them a bit. Every morning they have a telephone conference call about the nationwide cases. I have a hunch this morning's call wasn't too cheery.

I had an email exchange today with their head lawyer, and he seemed a bit confused.

Yes they're going to do things differently. For one thing, they are never going to try that stupid secondary liability argument again. For another thing, in most cases they're going to drop the case sooner. Thirdly, they're going to act real, real polite to Marilyn Barringer-Thomson, the superb Oklahoma City lawyer who made this happen.

Re:RIAA already won (2, Informative)

NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) | more than 7 years ago | (#17929666)

Trust me.

They give a damn.

Re:RIAA already won (1)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 7 years ago | (#17930020)

they could do so comfortably knowing that they already won-- "piracy" has been stygmatized

Sounds like the work of Stygmies.

I have a dream... (1)

Fuji Kitakyusho (847520) | more than 7 years ago | (#17930282)

That one day, the RIAA will be sued or counter-sued for not only attorney's fees, but for compensation for harassment, and have to pay punitive damages appropriate in comparison to the RIAA bottom line. Furthermore, that the punitive damages in question not be awarded to the plaintiff, but rather be diverted to a charity of their choosing - naturally, a fund existing for the purpose of assisting struggling independent artists. One can dream.

k3b doesn't support .WAV burn by default -- RIAA? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17930498)

This is unrelated but does the latest version of the Cd/Dvd burning program k3b for linux not supporting .WAV files possibly have something to do with RIAA or cronies influencing the authors of that program? I just compiled the most recent stable k3b on slackware 11 and it informs me .wav is not supported.

I wiped the system I can't check now but maybe there was no cddawav and that's why, still the possibility remains. I copied all the k3b libs from /extra, added some sym-links and the program ran fine. Maybe it /was/ me and .WAV support is not included in k3b by default. That action there could also be because of RIAA warmongering.

riaa (0, Troll)

ralph1 (900228) | more than 7 years ago | (#17930676)

I never say riaa i say sony or who ever but not riaa give them no place to hide

mod do3n (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17930914)

I haqve a life tfo

Why isn't the RIAA afraid of hackers? (1)

catmistake (814204) | more than 7 years ago | (#17931372)

Isn't it simply academic for a good social engineer to get a list of names of all the RIAA 'people,'-- all the RIAA policy makers, decision makers, and lawyers, etc.? And wouldn't that pretty much be, for a good hacker, a few hundred hot pockets away from getting all their identity info? And then maybe from that point, just a few candy bars away from transferring all their money into a Belize /. account?

The only reason the RIAA is scary is because of the money they have, and the money they will take from you (destroying your life in the process). Take that away, and they're not so scary.

Short of taking their money, we should at least know who they are, a face to the fascism, you know? Once they are publicly identified, will they really be so bold taking hundreds of thousands of dollars from regular low-middle income folks?

OK... back to reality. In America, money always wins; money before rights; money before justice; godmoney, just tell me what you want me to
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