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Why the RIAA Doesn't Want Defendants Exonerated

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the so-many-reasons-just-pick-one dept.

Music 199

RageAgainsttheBears writes "The RIAA is beginning to find itself in an awkward position. A few of its many, many lawsuits don't manage to end in success for the organization. Typically, when they decide a case isn't worth pursuing (due to targeting the wrong person or not having sufficient evidence), they simply move to drop the case. Counterclaims are usually dropped in turn, and everyone goes separate ways. But recently, judges have been deciding to allow the RIAA to drop the case, but still allowing the defendant's counterclaim through. According to the Ars Technica article: 'If Judge Miles-LaGrange issues a ruling exonerating Tallie Stubbs of infringement, it would be a worrisome trend for the RIAA. The music industry has become accustomed to having its way with those it accuses of file-sharing, quietly dropping cases it believes it can't win. It looks as though the courts may be ready to stop the record labels from just walking away from litigation when it doesn't like the direction it is taking and give defendants justice by fully exonerating them of any wrongdoing.'"

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199 comments

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RIAA SUCKS MY FUCKING COCK (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18536007)

fucking extortionists

Re:RIAA SUCKS MY FUCKING COCK (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18536241)

The RIAA isn't fucking extortionists, they're extortionists who deserved to be FUCKED in the ASS, preferably with SHARDS OF BROKEN CDS and ERIC RAYMOND'S HANDGUN.

Re:RIAA SUCKS MY FUCKING COCK (0, Troll)

DuroSoft (1009945) | more than 7 years ago | (#18537051)

mod parent up

Re:RIAA SUCKS MY FUCKING COCK (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18538895)

WTF??

Re:RIAA SUCKS MY FUCKING COCK (0, Offtopic)

y00tz (952744) | more than 7 years ago | (#18537101)

If not for the F-word, this post would have gotten 5, Insightful...

Re:RIAA SUCKS MY FUCKING COCK (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18537451)

you're witnessing censorship progress. you have freedom of speech as long as you word it carefully... beautiful, huh?

note sarcasm

MOD PARENT UP (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18537693)

Don't be a fucking pussy.

About time (5, Insightful)

GiovanniZero (1006365) | more than 7 years ago | (#18536013)

Our court system should punish frivolous lawsuits for how much it is costing the government.

Re:About time (5, Insightful)

AusIV (950840) | more than 7 years ago | (#18536117)

Our court system should punish frivolous lawsuits for how much it is costing the government.
Not just for how much it's costing the government, but for how much it's costing innocent defendants. I think any time the RIAA loses a case or drops a case they should have to pay legal fees for the defendants. I think you'd see a sharp drop in frivolous suits. They may still take a few cases to court, but they'll spend more time making sure the accused are actually guilty.

Re:About time (5, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | more than 7 years ago | (#18536411)

"... making sure the accused are actually guilty."

I hope you mean:
making sure the accused can't defend their innocence against the charges."

Nobody is actually guilt of anything until the courts say so. A fine, yet critical line.

Re:About time (4, Insightful)

honkycat (249849) | more than 7 years ago | (#18536837)

Ideally, the accuser would make sure the accused was actually guilty before accusing. Nobody is legally guilty until the courts say so, but actual guilt has nothing to do with legal guilt (except, perhaps, that it's easier to find someone legally guilty if they're actually guilty).

Re:About time (5, Insightful)

monkey_dongle (1002300) | more than 7 years ago | (#18537073)

Actually, this has nothing to do with guilt or innocence. These are civil lawsuits, not criminal, and as such the only thing to be determined is liability.

Re:About time (4, Informative)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 7 years ago | (#18537641)

You do not understand the words. If I kill someone, I am guilty of homicide. If I am linked to the act, I am charged or indicted. The outcome of the trial is that I am found guilty or not guilty. Being found guilty does not mean I killed someone. It means that I have been found guilty of the crime by a jury of my peers. If I am found not guilty, that does not mean I did not commit the crime. I could be guilty and be found not guilty because of the inability to produce credible evidence. And "innocent" has no legal meaning, though it is often used in place of "not guilty." Innocent means one did not do what they are accused of. That is a state of being that is irrelevant to the finding of the court.

There are common usages of the words and legal definitions of the words. If you are going to complain about someone's usage, you should at least differentiate between them.

Re:About time (5, Insightful)

jovetoo (629494) | more than 7 years ago | (#18536509)

Exactly. I believe one of the other cases mentioned a number on the attorney fees, something around US$6800. That would require two out of three accused to settle (at US$3750) just to cover the cost of loosing one. This does not cover their own costs.
I wonder how many of the accused would still choose to settle... even if they are guilty.

Re:About time (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18536123)

It's not costing the government anything. The government gets all of its funding from the taxpayers. They're (we're) the ones paying.

So they (we) should obviously boycott industry associations that resort to this sort of legal chicanery. I hear there are some great bands playing live down at the local pub...

Re:About time (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18536755)

It's not costing us anything. We get all of our funding from our employers. They're (they're) the ones paying.

Some of us (us) work for the RIAA and affiliated companies. We (them)(us) are being paid (our funding) by those (the RIAA) who are costing us money (our funding). It follows that the RIAA is the ultimate victim of the RIAA. Thus, we (they)(the RIAA) should boycott the real criminals (us)(the RIAA).

Re:About time (5, Funny)

nugneant (553683) | more than 7 years ago | (#18537359)

Your logic leads me to believe you are either Chico Marx or John Dvorak. I don't know whether to therefore mod you up or down.

How to stop frivolous law suits (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18536173)

If a frivolous lawsuit is filed, the filing attorney and any other attorneys who willfully worked on the case, get disbarred. Some permanently others for a few weeks (as a 6 month suspension is functionally equivalent to disbarment as it make s you unemployable and kills your practice).
There needs to be a sliding scale, as I don't want the 1st year associate who's boss told him "do this work" to have his career ruined. The 1st year (and mostly no one below partner) has no power in the firm, and has the only option of doing the work or quiting.

Whether or not this is a frivolous lawsuit is a question of fact; therefore the jury decides. Not the judge (unless they are acting as the trier of fact in that instance.)

You start threatening attorneys livelihood, especially when that livelihood is such a huge investment, you will see these cases go away.

Re:How to stop frivolous law suits (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18536559)

First of all, a great number of politicians are lawyers. It's doubtful that they will willingly compromise their own profession's ability to make easy money. Keep in mind that after their term in office is up, or if they fail to get reelected, many get back into practicing law.

Second of all, such a system may make it quite difficult for smaller parties to participate in lawsuits. In the case of lawsuits that may not necessarily be frivolous, but that are near enough to that border line, lawyers may demand that the client cover any expenses if those lawyers are suspended or disbarred. This is something that a client without vast financial resources would likely not be able to afford. So soon enough the only people who will have the resources to sue are corporations or industry associations. We end up with the problem we have now, but without normal people having the ability to fight back.

Re:How to stop frivolous law suits (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18536735)

That is why you have the jury decide. And you don't ask for $1 Trillion dollars in damages.
If the jury feels you are asking for what you deserve and not looking for a payday, the chances of them finding your suit to be frivolous decreases.

Also, IIRC you can't ask clients to pay for your ethics (as in "Regulation of Lawyers" not "morales") violations.

Re:How to stop frivolous law suits (1)

professionalfurryele (877225) | more than 7 years ago | (#18537221)

You can circumvent your second problem by preventing those kinds of contractual agreements using a 'no profiting from illegal activity' style law.

You can then up the hurt on the lawyers clients by incorporating a sliding scale of fines, so a fine which would banrupt an individual also banrupts a company. In the end no one is able to sue frivilously, or nearly frivilously, which is preferable to what we have now. At present we have a legal system which is little better than an arm of our corporate government. If buying the best lawyers doesn't work, then companies just buy laws and lawmakers. The only time that doesn't work is when another company stands up to them. At least if no one can sue, then the corrupt laws are harder to use.

As for politicians often being lawyers, well not much I can see that can be done about that. Both professions are essentially professional liars. Campaign reform (banning political donations and political parties) may help though, if politics could be entered by someone other than the well connected and the wealthy that might cut down the single professions (lawyers, union leaders, sons of rich industrialists (modern aristocrats)).

Re:How to stop frivolous law suits (2, Interesting)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 7 years ago | (#18536571)

Not merely disbarred. I want to see perjury charges filed. If we're going to imprison spammers, then these guys should get the chair, and their assets donated to the victims of their crimes.

Re:How to stop frivolous law suits (4, Informative)

psxndc (105904) | more than 7 years ago | (#18537085)

Wow. So you should die for filing a lawsuit. That sounds fair. Or you should be charged with perjury. riiiiiight.

OK, /.'ers, since 99% of you AREN'T lawyers and don't know the first thing about law suits - while you have to do some due diligence before filing a lawsuit, you usually don't know the real facts until you are already partway into the case in a phase called "discovery," which is usually the most expensive part of the suit.

Under your torch-weilding system, I would have to root through your firewall logs BEFORE I filed a lawsuit, even though I may actually have a legitimate claim against you.

Yeah, that makes sense. /sarcasm. -p-

Re:How to stop frivolous law suits (2, Interesting)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 7 years ago | (#18537403)

I believe you know what I'm getting at :-) And these people are worse than spammers by a long shot They know exactly what they're doing. It's purely a roll of the dice to them with very little cost when they lose. And there is no part of "discovery" that should involve me unless charges are filed. That would be my right to live free from harassment. Even though it's now a sad joke, there is a law [findlaw.com] to protect me from that. And failure by those in authority to enforce it should also be an imprisonable* offense. I don't care if it's a civil suit. If it's handled and authorized by a judge in a public courtroom then the government is involved and the law of the land should apply. This a "separation of powers" that shouldn't exist. This whole "civil suit" thing is designed to give more power to business than it does to the government by creating the lower standards of innocence and creating an end run around written law. It's how the IRS conducts its harassment campaigns. It uses civil law to seize property.

*note that this is directed at those types who believe more jail time will solve all of society's problems or who are expecting big dividends from the law enforcement sector. I personally don't believe in subjecting anybody to that kind of horror.

Re:How to stop frivolous law suits (3, Interesting)

zCyl (14362) | more than 7 years ago | (#18537837)

Even though it's now a sad joke, there is a law to protect me from that. And failure by those in authority to enforce it should also be an imprisonable* offense. I don't care if it's a civil suit. If it's handled and authorized by a judge in a public courtroom then the government is involved and the law of the land should apply.

The fourth amendment has clearly not been applied in this way, historically speaking, but as of five minutes ago I think I'm a fan of this proposal. I am not a lawyer, but you seem quite right to me that a literal reading of this amendment should apply to civil cases. This would profoundly change the level of evidence required for lawsuits to be filed, which is sensible since the financial burden for legal expenses is similar, and the huge financial penalties can often exceed the fines from criminal cases.

I wonder what it would take to actually get this applied to civil cases. Could a single Supreme Court ruling do it?

Re:How to stop frivolous law suits (1)

psxndc (105904) | more than 7 years ago | (#18538677)

Hate to break it to you, but the 4th Amendment only applies to the government itself trying to search/seize you. Of course that usually happens only in the criminal sense, which is why you don't see it used for civil suits, but i digress.

Double problem: the 4th amendment doesn't really protect you like you think it does. It only prevents evidence impermissibly found on you from being used against you in court. It's not like if the cop is checking out your prostate you can say "this is a violation of the 4th amendment" and he has to stop. It's only if he finds the coke up your ******* and he had no probable cause to pull your pants down that you get the protection, in court, against the coke being used at your coke possession trial. And, if I didn't make this clear, there is no action against the officer for the 4th amendment violation. You have to bring a separate suit against the cop/police force/town, etc for that, but the statute escapes me (1983??).

-p-

Re:How to stop frivolous law suits (1)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 7 years ago | (#18538801)

Hate to break it to you, but the 4th Amendment only applies to the government itself trying to search/seize you.

I understand this is ongoing policy, but I think it's wrong to use government facilities to get around(violate) the law just because it's a "civil" case. It's truly amazing that the IRS can hide behind civil law when taking your property because the constitution doesn't permit it. And now we let private organizations do the same thing in the name of "discovery". Man! the Mexican government has more respect for private property. We must apply the constitution equally to all matters before the court. That's what equal protection is supposed to mean.

Re:How to stop frivolous law suits (1)

psxndc (105904) | more than 7 years ago | (#18539195)

Sorry, that's not at all what equal protection is about.

I understand your ideal, but it doesn't work. If you sold your house and got a bad deal, you could then run to the court for deprivation of property without just compensation. If you signed an NDA with your company, you could sue the company for violations of freedom of speech. All contracts and business would come to a screeching halt because we commit "constitutional violations" every day. It's our given right to contract away our freedoms and rights in exchange for something we want. If we could then turn around and rescind the deal citing Constitutional violations, it would cripple the economy.

-p-

Re:How to stop frivolous law suits (1)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 7 years ago | (#18539497)

Signed contracts are a completely different matter altogether. What the these groups are doing does not involved signed contracts. They are arbitrarily issuing statements that can result in a person, who is completely uninvolved, losing his personal property because it is a "civil" matter. And failure to comply can result in jail time. The 4th amendment has just as much place here as any. And the 5th, for what that's worth.

Re:How to stop frivolous law suits (1)

arodland (127775) | more than 7 years ago | (#18539401)

Actually the wording on this one is a bit fuzzy, I could see some interesting interpretations. It's not a "Congress shall make no law", or any specific "X may not do Y"; it says "The right of the people do be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated". Sure, the identity of who "shall not" is good and implicit in the document, but I find it odd anyway.

Re:How to stop frivolous law suits (5, Funny)

Foochee (896249) | more than 7 years ago | (#18539051)

OK, /.'ers, since 99% of you AREN'T lawyers and don't know the first thing about law suits
Wow, 99%? Obviously you AREN'T a pollster or statistician and don't know first thing about statistics. I suggest to stick to the lucrative field of phrenology.

Re:How to stop frivolous law suits (1)

psxndc (105904) | more than 7 years ago | (#18539239)

ok smarty, suggest a percentage. 99% wasn't literal, but I'll bet you $5 at least 75% of the people that read slashdot and post here are not lawyers. The comments on /. showing the common slashdotter's understanding of the legal system (and intellectual property in particular) made me cringe to the point I had to walk away from slashdot for three years (check my posting history).

It hasn't gotten much better.

-p-

Re:How to stop frivolous law suits (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18536965)

This policy would have the unfortunate effect of inhibiting high risk but valid cases against resourceful parties such as the first cases holding tobacco companies liable for their deception. You're trying to protect the innocent, but your policy just protects potential defendants. Not the same thing.

If the government isn't going to require accountability of prosecutors of wrongfully prosecuted and imprisoned people (or the families of those wrongfully executed), they're not going to do it for something as trivial as filesharing suits.

Re:How to stop frivolous law suits (1)

2short (466733) | more than 7 years ago | (#18537163)


What you describe is largely the case. Lawyers are liable if they bring cases they know (or should know) will be unsuccessful, and can be disbarred and/or be required to pay monetary damages. Go read the letter from the defense attorney in the recent RIAA-related story; amongst other things, he states his intention to sue the lawyers, not just the plantiffs, if they don't settle.

"Whether or not this is a frivolous lawsuit is a question of fact; therefore the jury decides. Not the judge (unless they are acting as the trier of fact in that instance.)"

Whether the lawyer is liable for bringing a malicious case is generally a matter of law, and hence decided by the judge. It is possibly unreasonable to expect lawyers be correct about the facts in a case (their clients may lie to them, amongst other things). They are legally expected to understand the laws in the case. You can still sue the plantiff for misrepresenting the facts, and could sue the lawyer if you could prove he knew about and endorsed it, but that's less likely.

Re:How to stop frivolous law suits (2, Insightful)

HostAdmin (1073042) | more than 7 years ago | (#18537353)


How about this - you file suit and lose, you pay the other parties cost to defend plus compensate them for their aggravation. Automatically.

Re:How to stop frivolous law suits (1)

soloha (545393) | more than 7 years ago | (#18538553)

It's called a counter suit.

Re:How to stop frivolous law suits (5, Insightful)

NIckGorton (974753) | more than 7 years ago | (#18537657)

While I have a natural aversion to lawyers as a physician... this kind of suggestion is about as useful as the idea of revoking the license of physicians who lose a malpractice lawsuit. It might seem like a way to prevent errors, but its not going to work out the way you think.

Doing so in either case will have a lot of consequences that we would all not like:

1) Other clients/patients of the guy who loses his licensure will suffer the loss of the relationship and professional services they get. You might think that no one would want to see a lawyer or doctor who had lost a malpractice case, but if that was the case the majority of physicians in the US would not be practicing today.

2) Every professional by virtue of being a human being will make honest mistakes. Punishing single mistakes by completely destroying that professional's ability to practice will lead to a shortage of people willing to enter that field as well as a shortage of people willing to take the difficult cases in that field. (I can tell you I would never have entered Emergency Medicine where I cannot choose who I will and won't see had this been the case.)

3) If you are defending your own ability to practice (and perhaps your children's livelihood) you are going to go to extremes in order to protect it. If I was under this kind of pressure the amount of defensive medicine I (and every other physician) practice would go through the roof meaning increased costs, unnecessary tests, unnecessary antibiotics, etc. I suspect the same would be the case for lawyers if you pressed them to that extreme.

So while it may seem like it would help to levy draconian punishments for medical or legal malpractice, if you have that sort of system, you won't be happy with the results.

That doesn't mean that you should not use those kind of extreme punishments against professionals who are habitual douchebags. It also doesn't mean you should not levy punishments for errors. But it does mean that you shouldn't punish people innocent of any wrongdoing (the lawyer's other clients) and you should not extract unreasonable punishments for common mistakes.

Nick

Re:How to stop frivolous law suits (1)

kcbrown (7426) | more than 7 years ago | (#18538321)

2) Every professional by virtue of being a human being will make honest mistakes. Punishing single mistakes by completely destroying that professional's ability to practice will lead to a shortage of people willing to enter that field as well as a shortage of people willing to take the difficult cases in that field. (I can tell you I would never have entered Emergency Medicine where I cannot choose who I will and won't see had this been the case.)

Then use a "three strikes" law. If it's good enough for punishing criminals, it's good enough for punishing lawyers.

3) If you are defending your own ability to practice (and perhaps your children's livelihood) you are going to go to extremes in order to protect it. If I was under this kind of pressure the amount of defensive medicine I (and every other physician) practice would go through the roof meaning increased costs, unnecessary tests, unnecessary antibiotics, etc. I suspect the same would be the case for lawyers if you pressed them to that extreme.

Except we're talking about the specific act of initiating a frivolous lawsuit. If the cost of initiating lawsuits goes up as a result of the lawyer being forced to be extremely careful, then good! It'll mean that the lawsuits that do get initiated will have much more solid footing. Just like they should.

Frivolous litigation helps nobody but the lawyers. It must stop. As it is, it's a huge drain on the economy. That money can be better spent on things that really improve people's lot in life. Like research and development.

Re:How to stop frivolous law suits (4, Insightful)

fucksl4shd0t (630000) | more than 7 years ago | (#18538459)

No, making it harder to start a lawsuit is definitely worse than alternative solutions. You've got your heart in the right place, no doubt, but all you're going to get is less lawsuits, period. Not just less frivolous lawsuits, less lawsuits, which means more people suffering who could have sued but didn't, because of the price just to start.

I'd rather have the plaintiff pay all legal expenses if he loses. NOt the defendant, just the plaintiff. The defendant has to respond or he gets summary judgement against him. Then, people who really want to fight can theoretically find a lawyer willing to take the case (assuming they have a case to begin with).

It's not as good as the goal you want, but if there's anything I've learned programming, it's that incremental change is the path to success, not sweeping change. Make little changes and test them.

Re:How to stop frivolous law suits (4, Informative)

NIckGorton (974753) | more than 7 years ago | (#18538577)

Then use a "three strikes" law. If it's good enough for punishing criminals, it's good enough for punishing lawyers.
Who said three strikes laws are good? Um, putting people in jail for the rest of their lives for passing a bad check is idiotic (not to mention a wast of tax-dollars). Just because we have one fucked up law, that doesn't mean that we should make all of our laws equally fucked up.

And if you used a three strikes law for malpractice claims you can just add the words 'practicing for 10 years' to my previous statement about physicians. The average OB/Gyn has over a dozen suits in their practice lifetime (which starts at age 30 if you go straight through hs to college to med school to residency. Which means that is a suit every few years.) So if you actually want a doctor to deliver your baby, you might want to reconsider that statement.

Except we're talking about the specific act of initiating a frivolous lawsuit. If the cost of initiating lawsuits goes up as a result of the lawyer being forced to be extremely careful, then good! It'll mean that the lawsuits that do get initiated will have much more solid footing. Just like they should.
No, it means that we will have less lawsuits period. If the cost of entering the game is higher then fewer people will play. However, who plays is largely determined by who has enough money to enter rather than who has s legitimate claim.

Nick

Re:How to stop frivolous law suits (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18538403)

Maybe we're so far down the road on this, but personally I don't think malpractice suits should be brought when the case is simply human error. If the doctor operates and something bad happens, that's one thing. If the guy walks into the OR blitzed on cheap genever, well, that's malpractice.

Re:How to stop frivolous law suits (1)

ArsonSmith (13997) | more than 7 years ago | (#18539255)

Except that this is more akin to a physician pushing unneeded surgery because they get more money for it. It happens all the time and should stop as well.

Re:How to stop frivolous law suits (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18537871)

The federal court system beat you to the punch. Under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (which govern any civil cases tried in federal courts, and after which most states model their own rules of procedure), there are sanctions for filing frivolous lawsuits, as well as for making frivolous claims or defenses against claims (there's a right to defend yourself, even frivolously, in a criminal case, but no such luck in civil cases).

Check out Rule 11 (http://www.law.cornell.edu/rules/frcp/Rule11.htm) for details.

The problem isn't that there aren't rules against bringing frivolous suits. It's that they're rarely handed out, because the standard for 'frivolousness' is a pretty low bar to clear. Also, even though the rules say the judge can decide on sanctions without one of the parties raising it, that's not usually how it works -- it would probably need to be a pretty egregious case for the judge to do it on his own initiative. My guess is most of your RIAA defendants aren't poring over the Federal Rules to see whether there's any kind of claim they can bring, and even if they were, it's an open question whether the RIAA lawsuits are *so* far out there that they'd be covered.

Re:How to stop frivolous law suits (1)

TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) | more than 7 years ago | (#18537981)

You start threatening attorneys livelihood, especially when that livelihood is such a huge investment, you will see these cases go away.
To stop these lawsuits, there needs to be proper disincentives for the party filing the suit, right? Now that party is made up of lawyers and their clients. This raises the question: why the hell did you go for the lawyers and not the clients? The lawyers are just doing their jobs, while their clients take pot-shots at people without due dilligence. Who do you think is more deserving of punishment, huh?

Re:How to stop frivolous law suits (1)

RobBebop (947356) | more than 7 years ago | (#18539361)

Stick to your guns... don't go easy on the small fish in the pond just because they are "doing their job". Doing something that you don't believe in because somebody told you to do it is just as bad as doing something that you believe in that is socially reprehensible.

And doing something for the sake of earning a paycheck? That's just spineless.

It is nothing to do with the judges (2, Informative)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 7 years ago | (#18536387)

RIAA makes claim. Defendent makes counter claim. Out of court settlement results in both dropping their claims.

However, there is no reason why this should be the outcome of an out of court settlement. The RIAA can choose to withdraw a claim without any obligation on the defendent, in which case the counter claim stands.

Re:About time (3, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | more than 7 years ago | (#18536551)

Assuming you can tell the difference between 'frivolous' and just 'wrong'.

Lets say I believe you have done me harm, and sue you.
It turns out that, in fact, it wasn't you.
Then I wouldn't call that frivolous.

Re:About time (4, Insightful)

svvampy (576225) | more than 7 years ago | (#18537271)

I would call it frivolous if the reasons I had for believing you have done me harm are obviously flimsy and constitute a gross lack of due diligence.

Re:About time (1)

renegadesx (977007) | more than 7 years ago | (#18537257)

Its called Karma, thats right Mr RIAA, take it all, you like that dont ya bitch

Cross your fingers. (5, Interesting)

AlphaLop (930759) | more than 7 years ago | (#18536071)

Lets hope that the trend continues. I think the RIAA publicized their lawsuits so much (in an effort to scare "Pirates") that even the judges are aware of their shady tactics, and resent the RIAA for attempting to turn the court system into their own private extortionists.

Re:Cross your fingers. (4, Insightful)

solevita (967690) | more than 7 years ago | (#18536315)

even the judges
Even the judges? Are you suggesting that the good people of Slashdot know the inner workings of court better than the judges that preside over them? Seems unlikely to me.

I'd be more inclined to believe that judges have long known that the RIAA are a bunch of bastards and are now acting in a manner that respects the general population's regard of the RIAA as a bunch of bastards.

Re:Cross your fingers. (1)

Wes Janson (606363) | more than 7 years ago | (#18539413)

All judges do not share knowledge from a common pool. They are not the Borg. Grandparent was trying to say that this might be a sign that the negative publicity is such that even judges who might not have otherwise known about the tactics of the RIAA, are aware of them now and are responding accordingly in their courtrooms.

Class Action (5, Insightful)

jmkaza (173878) | more than 7 years ago | (#18536089)

IANAL, but it seems that if the court rules in favor of any one of the defendants, it would set a precedent that would pave the route for all previous defendants to come together and file a class action lawsuit for wrongful accusations.

Re:Class Action (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18536355)

In this case, the defendant is innocent. There's no "precedent" here that's going to help 99.99% of the rest of the defendants, which is why they're mostly pursuing novel legal strategies like "You can't sue me, I'm a single mother!"

Re:Class Action (1)

Dhalka226 (559740) | more than 7 years ago | (#18537121)

I am not a lawyer either, but I do not think you are correct.

if the court rules in favor of any one of the defendants, it would set a precedent

It really wouldn't set much of anything. Technically speaking it would set a precedent for that exact federal district that it was decided in, but the precedent is only binding where circumstances are essentially identical, as determined by the judge. Since circumstances in these cases are quite likely to change, the precedent wouldn't really matter.

all previous defendants to come together and file a class action lawsuit

One required feature of a class-action lawsuit is similarly of circumstances. If a product is defective, anybody who bought the product would be in the same class. The mere act of purchasing the product gives them the same circumstances, and it can be a class action in that sense.

Here, "I got sued by the RIAA" is almost certainly not enough to constitute a class. Circumstances are going to vary. The assumption that people are innocent and accused falsely is something that would need to be decided individually; the judge would almost certainly not paint every case with the same brush. Accordingly, a judge would almost certainly not permit the cases as a class.

a class action lawsuit for wrongful accusations.

I don't believe "wrongful accusations" is an actionable offense, except maybe in an attempt to recover attorneys fees (which would once again vary by respondent). Libel, perhaps, but that case would probably get tossed. They could claim the lawsuit is frivolous, but 1) I don't believe that entitles the person the suit was brought against to money (rather, it would result in a sanction against the attorney who brought it) and 2) it is seldom used.

All in all I hope the RIAA gets slapped around by judges at every turn, but I don't think it means a lot in the legal scheme of things.

Re:Class Action (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 7 years ago | (#18537763)

Here, "I got sued by the RIAA" is almost certainly not enough to constitute a class. Circumstances are going to vary.
The RIAA & MPAA are both using cookie cutter legal letters & 'research' to propogate their claims.

Circumstances are almost exactly the same for everyone they've sued.

Re:Class Action (2, Insightful)

kastababy (940709) | more than 7 years ago | (#18537509)

I think a class action lawsuit is exactly the remedy that needs to happen. Being in law school currently, I see case after case after case of Big Business trampling over the rights of someone who, whether through unintentional ignorance or deliberate flaunting of the laws, either download music or share files or whatever. Think of what would have happened if the RIAA had sued everyone and forced everyone to pay fines for copying cassette tapes and recording songs off the radio (a practice I still do from time to time just to create my own personal mixes). They would still be in the same boat, but they would be paying more money to settle all the lawsuits that would have been filed in the 1980's for the same thing. There are some bigger questions that still remain that the law has yet to answer: If I rip all my CDs to my laptop so I don't have to carry a huge case around, am I still guilty of copyright infringement if I decide to transfer those files to a new computer? What if I took the same computer and gave it as a gift (hereby invoking contract law) to my mother who happens to be less computer-literate than I am? If she then sends a song via email to her mother, who can't even comprehend the term file-sharing, much less particpate in it, is she then guilty of the same thing? In all these cases, the RIAA seems to think so. At the end of the day, the RIAA is just mad because they didn't plan far enough ahead to see the coming storm and make their money off it to begin with. Had the RIAA jumped on the Napster, iTunes, Grokster, Morpheus, et al. bandwagon from jump, we would not be seeing any of this in the news. A major class action lawsuit for slander, libel, and defamation of character against the RIAA by every person that has been sued by them would go a long way toward making the RIAA think twice before pursuing another lawsuit against someone's grandmother or someone's 6th grader and holding the parents responsible. Maybe a mass exoneration (aka amnesty) would be just what we need to get the RIAA off our backs. Go deal with all the folks in China pirating the music and REALLY ripping you off instead of someone playing with a computer -- that would have bigger economic impact for all the recording artists here and anyone else associated with the industry!!

Trial by television (1)

athloi (1075845) | more than 7 years ago | (#18536095)

And the RIAA was getting such great negative press/FUD for those accused of the evil crime of piracy. From the RIAA's perspective, it's a shame they don't do public floggings anymore. The real reason you don't get caught by the RIAA is the damage they'll do to your professional reputation, Lexis/Nexis file and possible, Google results.

This is not a stable state of affairs (3, Interesting)

91degrees (207121) | more than 7 years ago | (#18536107)

After a while it will become sufficiently clear that the record industry is not willing to take anyone to court, that eventually enough people will end up challenging as to make this a prohibitively costly excercise. If they drop enough cases, there will probabyl be a few lawyers who will take virtually any case on, on the assumption that they will be able to claim their fees. Either the RIAA will stop doing this, or they will actually start to see a case through. At the moment though, getting a lawyer and challenging the evidence (which is pretty weak, consisting of an IP address, and a list of files that may or may not be what they claim) seems to be a pretty safe option.

Missing The Point (4, Insightful)

asphaltjesus (978804) | more than 7 years ago | (#18536109)

The RIAA doesn't care if a few individuals keep them in court for whatever liability they open themselves up to.

Individuals won't have enough money to diminish the environment of fear the RIAA is trying to establish.

The goal is to establish an environment of fear, such that most users are afraid to anything other than what the media conglomerates say is okay. Better still, what's okay today can be wrong tomorrow.

The RIAA end game is good. Stories like this just help it along.

Re:Missing The Point (5, Insightful)

AusIV (950840) | more than 7 years ago | (#18536217)

The RIAA end game is good. Stories like this just help it along.

Not really. The RIAA would certainly like to create an environment of fear, however if they lose cases and have to pay the defendants legal fees, more people will be willing to go to court. They can only maintain their environment of fear if they're winning their cases or getting settlements.

Re:Missing The Point (1)

garcia (6573) | more than 7 years ago | (#18536639)

They can only maintain their environment of fear if they're winning their cases or getting settlements.

That's where you're wrong. They can only maintain the environment of fear if the media conglomerates they pay publish the information they want rather than the "little guy hero" stories that have been showing up here lately.

Re:Missing The Point (1)

AusIV (950840) | more than 7 years ago | (#18537777)

They can only maintain the environment of fear if the media conglomerates they pay publish the information they want rather than the "little guy hero" stories that have been showing up here lately.

Not really. It may generate enough fear to prevent people from file sharing, but I'd hope someone would spend a couple hundred on a lawyer consultation before settling for several thousand. A lawyer (at least a half decent one) is going to research actual case records, rather than listening to the media conglomerates. Media conglomerates may get them somewhere towards preventing file sharing, but it's not going to get them too far when it comes to actual suits.

Re:Missing The Point (4, Interesting)

MathFox (686808) | more than 7 years ago | (#18536759)

Not really. The RIAA would certainly like to create an environment of fear, however if they lose cases and have to pay the defendants legal fees, more people will be willing to go to court. They can only maintain their environment of fear if they're winning their cases or getting settlements.
Don't forget that a lawsuit costs the RIAA money (in lawyers fees). They can only recoup the costs when they win their cases. Every dropped lawsuit is a loss for the RIAA; double the loss if they have to pay the defendent's lawyer too.

Slashdot and Groklaw analyses of RIAA "evidence" showed significant holes. It is unclear how much relevance the MediaSentry logs have, there are issues with time-stamping and dynamic IP addresses, shared (WiFi) networking, decoy mp3 files and last but not least no proof that the subscriber to the IP package was the one operating the sharing computer. The RIAA seems to ignore the possibility of remote control of a system. With so many holes in the evidence even the guilty can get out.

Re:Missing The Point (1)

blind biker (1066130) | more than 7 years ago | (#18537499)

Reminds me of the theme in "A bug's life"; the grasshoppers had power over the ants, as long as each one of them feared the consequences of their insubordination. But once the ants figured out they outnumber the grasshoppers by thousands to one, the game was over.

Sorry that my reference is to a cartoon.

Re:Missing The Point (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18537545)

That is SO fucking deep and poetic, man!!

Seriously, all the movies and books out there with this same theme, and you choose A Bug's fucking Life? Go back to digg with all the other high-schoolers.

Re:Missing The Point (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 7 years ago | (#18536785)

"An individual doesn't, Individuals do."

Re:Missing The Point (1)

abb3w (696381) | more than 7 years ago | (#18536905)

The RIAA doesn't care if a few individuals keep them in court for whatever liability they open themselves up to.

Can you say "precedent," childen? Any first year law student can....

Re:Missing The Point (3, Insightful)

gillbates (106458) | more than 7 years ago | (#18537229)

The goal is to establish an environment of fear, such that most users are afraid to anything other than what the media conglomerates say is okay.

And that, I believe, is the problem. I can no longer buy RIAA-parent-company DVDs and CDs in good conscience, because I know a portion of the proceeds will be used for suing women and children. And I think the impressions being formed are overwhelmingly negative. Where are the college students protesting, "Save the RIAA!"? Teenagers and college students are starting to believe that buying CDs will only fund lawsuits against the defenseless and poor.

I understand their position regarding copyright infringement. But it is infringement, not theft, and certainly not murder on the high seas. Their strong-arm tactics make the entire industry look bad, and call into question the legitimacy of their cause. When such an entity chooses to pursue lawsuits on such frivolous evidence, one can only conclude that the real goal is not justice but merely the acquisition of additional wealth. First, they steal from the artist through oppressive and one-sided contracts, and now they are trying to extort money from those whom they believe will not have the resources to resist. When was the last time the RIAA filed a lawsuit against a millionaire?

It just makes me sick. And the artists, of all people, stand to lose the most. Instead of buying from big labels, I've begun looking at the smaller, independent artists precisely because of the RIAA tactics.

I wonder if they even considered the fact that dropping CD sales might be related to people unhappy with the fact that they are suing their customers. Unhappy customers tend not to be repeat buyers.

Re:Missing The Point (1)

W. Justice Black (11445) | more than 7 years ago | (#18538203)

Ditto. I haven't purchased a non-indy CD or DVD in three years now as a result of the *AA's inane stunts. I suggest that others do the same.

Or if you can't get rid of your addiction entirely, at least send a buck or two per disc purchased to the EFF or similar.

Tell a friend.

Legal Persons (More Equal Than Actual Persons) (5, Insightful)

Steve B (42864) | more than 7 years ago | (#18536133)

This is an example of how corporate legal personhood is selectively interpreted to grant the positive benefits of being a person under the law while evading the negative consequences.

For example, if an actual person filed frivolous lawsuit after frivolous lawsuit, eventually a judge would tell them that they have to quit wasting the court system's time with any more nonsense. If the RIAA were a real person, rather than a legal "person", this would have happened to it long ago.

Re:Legal Persons (More Equal Than Actual Persons) (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18536383)

That is mostly because if they were a real person they would live in a small fixed area and get the same judge (or a judge that has lunch with the previous judge) over and over again.
Here the RIAA is national and therefore can piss off one judge in one state and then move to another state and piss off a 2nd judge and so on. No one judge gets stuck with the RIAA all the time.

Re:Legal Persons (More Equal Than Actual Persons) (1, Interesting)

CoolVC (131998) | more than 7 years ago | (#18536531)

I think your point is wrong because these lawsuits aren't frivolous. Don't get me wrong, I've downloaded thousands of songs, and have never once purchased a CD. But doesn't the RIAA have some significant legal backing for what they are doing?

I understand that they've made some mistakes suing people who were not responsible, but I am betting a majority of the people sued were sharing copyrighted files. Are they making a large number of errors? I've only heard of a few. I'm sure it would be better if they made less mistakes.

Are you saying the lawsuits are frivolous because you believe people should just be able to share whatever they want on the internet? Maybe we should get the copyright laws changed if so many people think that is the case.

Re:Legal Persons (More Equal Than Actual Persons) (5, Informative)

Steve B (42864) | more than 7 years ago | (#18536725)

What makes the lawsuits frivolous isn't that the offense (copyright infringement) does not exist or is not serious, but the lack of basic minimal efforts to determine that the targets of the lawsuit are in fact copyright infringers.

For example, dumping toxic waste in somebody's yard does happen sometimes and is genuinely dangerous when it does. However, that doesn't make somebody who files lawsuit after lawsuit with baseless allegations that his neigbor is dumping toxic waste in his yard any less guilty of wasting the courts' time with frivolous lawsuits.

Re:Legal Persons (More Equal Than Actual Persons) (1)

CoolVC (131998) | more than 7 years ago | (#18537099)

What more should they be doing to verify the identity of the people they are suing? I haven't followed every detail of these cases, but it has been my understanding that they have had trouble identifying the people through legal means.
Do they contact the people in question before suing them? I definitely think that is important, as a lawsuit should be used as a last resort. Many years ago, I used to send Simpsons episodes over IRC to people a few days before they were ever on TV. I got a letter from my University stating that they had received a complaint, and I could be subject to civil action if I didn't stop what I was doing. I was happy to do it. I suppose they could have sued me right off the bat, but sometimes all it takes is a warning.

If I wanted to sue somebody on the internet, then I am sure I would also have trouble finding somebody's identity. For example, somebody starts posting my telephone number and address on the internet saying I was some big racist (a lie), and then because of that people start bombarding my phone with calls and vandalizing my house. I might decide I want to sue that person (I don't know the law as to whether or not I have a case, but you get the idea). How would I go about identifying the person, when all I know is their IP address and when they were online sending stuff about me. I would think after taking reasonable steps to identify the person in question, it would be reasonable for me to initiate a lawsuit. As long as I didn't do anything too ridiculous, I don't believe it would be frivolous.

Of course I don't know what the RIAA is doing to identify the people they sue, so I am not trying to give any opinions here about whether or not they are doing it correctly.

Re:Legal Persons (More Equal Than Actual Persons) (1)

Dun Malg (230075) | more than 7 years ago | (#18538045)

What more should they be doing to verify the identity of the people they are suing? I haven't followed every detail of these cases, but it has been my understanding that they have had trouble identifying the people through legal means.
This falls under the heading of "Not an excuse for filing suit without probable cause". See, the fact that it's hard for them to prove copyright infringement is not society's problem.

Re:Legal Persons (More Equal Than Actual Persons) (1)

monopole (44023) | more than 7 years ago | (#18537917)

Just as well the RIAA isn't a real person, in that if it were, it would probably resemble a combination of Satan, Freddie Kruger, Pinhead, Jason Voorhees and Jack Thompson, and when it wasn't suing dead people, children, and the paralyzed, it would be eating live kittens while mating with it's twin sibling the MPAA, in public.

Re:Legal Persons (More Equal Than Actual Persons) (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 7 years ago | (#18537961)

No it's not. It's an example of how deep pockets can get a better outcome in court. IMHO a rich person with professional lawyers could get similar results. I don't know what the source of the "corporations stole the rights of people" movement is, but it is misguided in that it proposes to throw away a century or more of business law based on some feeble interpretation of that law which is shown to work quite well. I find it absurd.

Why should the defendant suffer? (4, Informative)

RidiculousPie (774439) | more than 7 years ago | (#18536137)

Surely in these cases the RIAA has admitted that they do not believe that they can secure a verdict against the defendant, so why should they be allowed to cease litigation while leaving the matter unsettled and the defendant out of pocket for legal and other expenses?

I hope this ensures that the RIAA ensures that in future cases they have valid and sufficient evidence to proceed rather than filing such frivolous suits that waste time and money for all concerned.

Re:Why should the defendant suffer? (1)

apathy maybe (922212) | more than 7 years ago | (#18536643)

Same theory should work with the police and arresting and taking people to court. Good luck ever getting money from the filth though.

Even if you do sue (which you can do), and win (which you won't) you can only get back court costs (at least in Australia). Not, travel, or stress or anything like that. (I've paid hundreds of dollars flying around Aus for a court case which all the charges were dropped before the case started. Friends have been taken to court (often having to fly there) and have had their cases thrown out. None of us have ever received a penny for out trouble.)

I do agree with you though otherwise. Where the rich can afford to sue anyone they want, even if they have little evidence, they need to be punished if they fail (or if they don't have evidence).
These sort of suits are similar to SLAPPs [wikipedia.org] . While a number of states in the US have legislation against such things, they obviously don't have legislation against other frivolous lawsuits..

Irony (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18536197)

Isn't it weird how the RIAA is after "pirates", yet the RIAA are ones who prey on others for booty?

On a funny note, the word "pirate" came from a word in greek meaning "trial".

I guess fighting piracy really is "fighting the courts".

Legal Fees (0)

Numbah One (821914) | more than 7 years ago | (#18536277)

It would be good and proper if the judge awarded legal fees to the defendant. While this might prompt the RIAA to pursue the case rather than pay up, it might give them pause before pursing future actions.

Presumption of Guilt (1)

hedgemage (934558) | more than 7 years ago | (#18536525)

I'm glad that our court system is working fine! Guilty until proven innocent, I say!
Wait a minute...

Eternal Justice (4, Interesting)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 7 years ago | (#18536669)

It's probably safe to presume that these new cases finding counterclaims allowed are of the same merit (or lack) as the ones that just totally dropped, and even found the defendants liable.

What has changed? The laws are the same. The actions are the same.

Maybe the judges are a little smarter now. Maybe the lawyers are a little smarter. But if I didn't get the same results as a defendant in the same circumstances a year or more ago, I'd want a new trial. It's not supposed to be my problem if the administrators of justice are too stupid to leave me alone with laws they don't understand.

That's the new development I want to see: a retrial on the basis that maybe the courts aren't as stupid as they were when they decided against me.

Re:Eternal Justice (4, Interesting)

Todd Knarr (15451) | more than 7 years ago | (#18536847)

It isn't a matter of a difference in court rulings. In most of the previous cases the defendants settled with the RIAA to avoid a court fight. The difference with these recent cases is that in them the defendants refused to settle and actually filed counterclaims and presented evidence and basically went forward with the actual court part of things. And as it turns out, the RIAA had as little case as we believed they had, and the defendants started to win. The people who decided to avoid the risk and settle have no legal grounds for complaint when people who were willing to take the risk are now winning. "But we could've won too!" is answered by "Yes, if you'd fought. But you didn't, did you?".

Re:Eternal Justice (2, Interesting)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 7 years ago | (#18537089)

They might not have legal grounds to reopen the case. But how many of these random people, many teenagers or their parents, decided against their lawyers' advice to drop it rather than pursue the counterclaim? Very few, if any. Therefore what has changed is that their lawyers have gotten smarter. That such change isn't legal grounds for getting justice is injustice.

Put Up, or Else (5, Interesting)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 7 years ago | (#18536731)

To be told to Put-Up, or Shut-Up and Pay-Up, should have been said long ago. The idea that a well-funded adversary can bankrupt their opponent for daring to oppose them while the case never even makes it to trial is the worst part of the American system of justice.

And while the defendants are at it, how long until someone calls the RIAA on their illegal joinder of John Doe defendants in the beginnings of these suits. Two years ago a judge told the RIAA to stop that, they they can't simply join unrelated defendants to save on their litigation costs, and the RIAA has blithely ignored that ruling and continued on their merry ways.

And did anyone see The Bay City Rollers (60's/70's band) lawsuit against Sony for not paying royalties today? Sony's excuse: We lost your contract and didn't know how much to pay you, so we've given you nothing! Puts to lie the claim that filesharers are ripping off the artists. The record companies appear to be doing that just fine on their own.

Re:Put Up, or Else (1)

thewils (463314) | more than 7 years ago | (#18536805)

Surely a better argument against the Bay City Rollers would be "What!!! you called that music!!!!"

To those people who are too young to know of the Bay City Rollers I say - you lucky, lucky bastards.

Re:Put Up, or Else (1)

hondo77 (324058) | more than 7 years ago | (#18537029)

Sorry but "Saturday Night" and their version of "I Only Want to Be With You" are great pop songs.

Re:Put Up, or Else (0)

raehl (609729) | more than 7 years ago | (#18537517)

great pop songs

Also known as 'shit 12-year-old girls listen to'.

Re:Put Up, or Else (1)

hondo77 (324058) | more than 7 years ago | (#18537625)

Also known as 'shit 12-year-old girls listen to'.

No. The Beatles made great pop songs that they knew were commercial ("A Hard Day's Night" comes to mind). That doesn't stop them from being great pop songs. Heck, if a song isn't commercial it probably can't be considered a pop song. Sorry, hardcore dude, but I can't listen to my Motorhead collection all the time.

Re:Put Up, or Else (1)

Gazzonyx (982402) | more than 7 years ago | (#18538935)

...are great pop songs.

Precisely.

Although, I have 'guilty pleasure' pop songs that I break out when no one is around, so I have no room to talk. I just couldn't resist the urge...Sorry.

Re:Put Up, or Else (2, Insightful)

kcbrown (7426) | more than 7 years ago | (#18538389)

The idea that a well-funded adversary can bankrupt their opponent for daring to oppose them while the case never even makes it to trial is the worst part of the American system of justice.

It's not a "justice system", it's a "legal system". That should make it clear who the system really serves.

Don't cheer too loudly (3, Insightful)

Orion_II (1073458) | more than 7 years ago | (#18536839)

It would seem as though the RIAA is getting quite a number of cases like this, IE: http://yro.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/02/07/23 25204 [slashdot.org]
On the surface, it seems like they're going down, and we may see an end to thier lawsuits

Or, it might be a set-up for a massive media parade.
They might continue the trend, but hold back evidence on purpose in a few cases. Then, BAM! hit back-to-back victories with careful planning, along with some careful media orchestration (particularly if you throw in words like "Prejudice" or "mistrial"), it could quickly sway public opinion back in thier favour.
Certainly, most /. er's would see through this quite easily, but your average joe isn't as well informed. A good dose of media hype might earn them some political and legal victories they need to tighten thier grip.

However, I sincerely hope that this isn't the case.

Re:Don't cheer too loudly (1)

rossz (67331) | more than 7 years ago | (#18536921)

Holding back evidence, especially when used for tricky maneuvering in the court, is highly frowned upon by our legal system. There's something called full disclosure. Judges often exclude the held back evidence from being used.

Re:Don't cheer too loudly (1)

78 105 107 (909001) | more than 7 years ago | (#18537705)

But the tighter their grip, the more starsystems*cough* I mean file-shares fall through their grasp.

Re:Don't cheer too loudly (1)

Dun Malg (230075) | more than 7 years ago | (#18538271)

They might continue the trend, but hold back evidence on purpose in a few cases.
Holding back evidence is a big no-no.

The RIAA is a business (4, Interesting)

ZoOnI (947423) | more than 7 years ago | (#18537187)

As a business that represents other companies it's in their best interest to create a profit and stop Internet piracy. They are trying a few greasy tricks to make money.
  1. Try and get standard settlements that more than recoup court costs, like the ridiculous $750 per song fines.
  2. Attack those who don't have the time and money to defend them selves like students.
  3. Yet another tactic is to try and blanket charge a whole lot of folks hoping some will cough up the money with no court date.
  4. Attack folks with little or no evidence hoping for an out of court settlement then back out if the defendant gets a lawyer.

This is business at its worst. Someone should go after these guys with a class action suit or set up a fake file sharing site to lure them into a case they will lose.

Somethng not mentioned (2, Insightful)

kckman (885561) | more than 7 years ago | (#18538229)

By promising not to pursue further litigation, does this mean that the defendants would be free to music share and download without fear?

RIAA Lawyers Confused (3, Interesting)

NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) | more than 7 years ago | (#18539475)

The RIAA lawyers seem to be confused. Last week they were adamantly fighting for their withdrawal of the case to be "without prejudice" -- i.e. so that they could pursue it again. This week they're willing to "covenant not to sue". It seems to me that they are just flaking out.
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