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RIAA Accused of Extortion & Conspiracy

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the this-is-new-oh-in-court dept.

The Courts 373

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "The defendant in a Tampa, Florida, case, UMG v. Del Cid, has filed counterclaims accusing the RIAA record labels of conspiracy and extortion. The counterclaims (pdf) are for Trespass, Computer Fraud and Abuse (18 USC 1030), Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices (Fla. Stat. 501.201), Civil Extortion (CA Penal Code 519 & 523), and Civil Conspiracy involving (a) use of private investigators without license in violation of Fla. Stat. Chapter 493; (b) unauthorized access to a protected computer system, in interstate commerce, for the purpose of obtaining information in violation of 18 U.S.C. 1030 (a)(2)(C); (c) extortion in violation of Ca. Penal Code 519 and 523; and (d) knowingly collecting an unlawful consumer debt, and using abus[ive] means to do so, in violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, 15 U.S.C. 1692a et seq. and Fla. Stat. 559.72 et seq."

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373 comments

How the mighty have fallen... (1)

feedmetrolls (1108119) | more than 7 years ago | (#19404971)

Did somebody say irony?

Re:How the mighty have fallen... (5, Funny)

deftcoder (1090261) | more than 7 years ago | (#19404973)

I don't think that word means what you think it means.

Re:How the mighty have fallen... (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19405057)

Inconceivable.

Re:How the mighty have fallen... (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19405073)

Irony: that has ironness.

Re:How the mighty have fallen... (4, Funny)

rustalot42684 (1055008) | more than 7 years ago | (#19405569)

The ferrousness of the situation?

Re:How the mighty have fallen... (1)

feedmetrolls (1108119) | more than 7 years ago | (#19405091)

Touche.

(pretend there's an accent mark over the e)

Re:How the mighty have fallen... (5, Funny)

MouseR (3264) | more than 7 years ago | (#19405369)

é

(my gift to you)

Re:How the mighty have fallen... (5, Funny)

azenpunk (1080949) | more than 7 years ago | (#19405841)

i hope he doesn't lose the text file he keeps it in.

Re:How the mighty have fallen... (1)

digitig (1056110) | more than 7 years ago | (#19405139)

I don't think that word means what you think it means.
I think they might know the meaning better than you -- looks like "irony of fate" to me. You are aware that "Irony" has multiple meanings, aren't you? (Yes, including "Like iron", before anybody makes that joke. Yes, really.)

Re:How the mighty have fallen... (2, Informative)

riff420 (810435) | more than 7 years ago | (#19405197)

Sounds to me like you've just never seen The Princess Bride.

Re:How the mighty have fallen... (1)

poopdeville (841677) | more than 7 years ago | (#19405227)

Of course he isn't. He just jumped on the "misusing 'irony'" meme Reality Bites started because it made him feel smart, contrary to all other evidence.

Re:How the mighty have fallen... (1)

trippeh (1097403) | more than 7 years ago | (#19405659)

Dictionary.com presents:

IRONY
noun, plural -nies.
1. the use of words to convey a meaning that is the opposite of its literal meaning: the irony of her reply, "How nice!" when I said I had to work all weekend.
2. Literature.
a. a technique of indicating, as through character or plot development, an intention or attitude opposite to that which is actually or ostensibly stated.
b. (esp. in contemporary writing) a manner of organizing a work so as to give full expression to contradictory or complementary impulses, attitudes, etc., esp. as a means of indicating detachment from a subject, theme, or emotion.
3. Socratic irony. (feigned ignorance in discussion/debate)
4. dramatic irony. (irony that is inherent in speeches or a situation of a drama and is understood by the audience but not grasped by the characters in the play.)
5. an outcome of events contrary to what was, or might have been, expected.
6. the incongruity of this.
7. an objectively sardonic style of speech or writing.
8. an objectively or humorously sardonic utterance, disposition, quality, etc.

I find their definition lacking somewhat. '10,000 spoons when all you need is a knife' is stupid, not irony. Who has ten THOUSAND spoons?

I think that all these things that are mis-labeled 'irony' would come under the heading of 'a sardonic observation,' but irony is catchier and easier to spell.

I ain't never seen Reality Bites, I can't stand anything that Ben Stiller touches, that includes The Royal Tenenbaums. I still pick people up on particularly glaring abuses of the word 'irony,' most of which, as it happens, people "started because it made [them] feel smart, contrary to all other evidence." Much like the word 'meme.'

Re:How the mighty have fallen... (4, Funny)

hkmarks (1080097) | more than 7 years ago | (#19405703)

A cruise ship? A really big hotel?

A spoon manufacturer? ... ...Spoons-R-Us? ...no?

Re:How the mighty have fallen... (1)

trippeh (1097403) | more than 7 years ago | (#19405953)

Good answer. 10 points.
I'd also have accepted a silverware company.

Re:How the mighty have fallen... (1)

poopdeville (841677) | more than 7 years ago | (#19405859)

I still pick people up on particularly glaring abuses of the word 'irony,' most of which, as it happens, people "started because it made [them] feel smart, contrary to all other evidence." Much like the word 'meme.'

You mean Daniel Dennett, Douglas Hofstadter, and Richard Dawkins? Memetics is a fine framework for modelling cultural evolution.

Dictionary.com is still missing a couple of valid uses, such as "irony of fate" and "situational irony".

About Time! (5, Insightful)

SultanCemil (722533) | more than 7 years ago | (#19404975)

You know, its about time this happened - I've been wandering how the RIAA's actions up to this point were any different from Mafia tactics. Pay us "protection money" or we'll sue. Good on 'em.

Re:About Time! (5, Insightful)

Apple Acolyte (517892) | more than 7 years ago | (#19405037)

Seconded. Let's hope there are good lawyers committed to taking the entertainment cartel to the cleaners.

Re:About Time! (5, Insightful)

Dan667 (564390) | more than 7 years ago | (#19405961)

Just good lawyers? Screw that, how do we help them? Do they have a donation site setup. Do they need any information to stick it to the RIAA? Someone has balls, let's help them.

I for one... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19405101)

...welcome our counterclaim filing peers!

OT: Regional English Differences (1)

nebaz (453974) | more than 7 years ago | (#19405453)

Good on 'em.

May I ask where you are from? I would use the phrase "Good for 'em", and I'm just wondering if this is a regional saying? I'm from the U.S., by the way.

Re:OT: Regional English Differences (1)

ashridah (72567) | more than 7 years ago | (#19405585)

Good on 'em.

May I ask where you are from? I would use the phrase "Good for 'em", and I'm just wondering if this is a regional saying? I'm from the U.S., by the way.


I don't know about the parent's location, but we use "Good on 'em" here in Australia a fair bit.

OT: Regional English Differences: Australian ed. (1)

trippeh (1097403) | more than 7 years ago | (#19405715)

Ya, we Skips tend to say all sorts of strange things.
Like 'Crikey!' Thanks, Steve. Sleep well.
I dunno where that little prepositional slip came from, it's just something that the Australian idiom has produced. Just a style-note, the emphasis in the phrase "good on 'em" usually falls on the "on" for some reason. So it's "Good on 'em." Or, if you're a wit/wanker, you put the emphasis at the end: "Good on them."

There you go. More information about the Australian patois than anyone could ever want. Ever.

Re:About Time! (1)

Ryyuajnin (862754) | more than 7 years ago | (#19405509)

What comes around goes around... bitch!

What the FUCK?! (-1, Troll)

Overly Critical Guy (663429) | more than 7 years ago | (#19405717)

How in the hell is legally protecting your rights by suing infringers who are distributing your copyrighted materials, and offering them a settlement to avoid court cases, an example of "Mafia tactics" or "protection money?"

Give me a fucking break. This is just another yawn-worthy RIAA-scapegoating article to make the pirates who post here feel all good about it--once again shoving the artists out of the equation. You know, the artists. The folks you're making sure don't get paid for the work. The actual human beings whose material you're spreading around so others won't pay for it.

I wonder if any of you would take a programming job where your boss would decide to not pay you for code you wrote and claim it wasn't theft because he's not actually taking physical property from you?

I know I risk downmods for saying this, but fuck this ridiculous mindset that claims the RIAA is always evil simply because it's suing infringers. If infringing material hadn't been found from their IPs, they wouldn't be getting sued. Because the RIAA doesn't have magic powers, it can't automatically know who is an elderly grandma or the computer of a deceased person, so those stories you hear about "OMG THE RIAA IS SUING ELDERLY PEOPLE OR DEAD PEOPLE" is more bogus propaganda bullshit to make people feel less guilty about piracy. It's human nature. You scapegoat them so you feel like you're fighting a bad guy, rather than feeling like a bad guy for not paying an artist somewhere in the world.

Have you been paying ANY attention, troll? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19405799)

Sadly, I know that you have been reading (and have posted in) the last few dozen stories and are just being an asshole, but I'll try to recap some of the main points here. Ray can (and has) done it many times and better than I can. He's also a lawyer, whereas IANAL. Be that as it may...

> How in the hell is legally protecting your rights by suing infringers who are distributing your copyrighted materials, and offering them a settlement to avoid court cases, an example of "Mafia tactics" or "protection money?"

They abuse court processes by:

* Doing things ex parte whenever possible, making sure that the other side never has a chance to be heard in court.

* Improper joinder of unrelated cases, for which they have been sanctioned in Texas. In spite of having been enjoined by the court, they have routinely ignored that ruling and simply avoided litigating in Texas.

* Unfair settlements. Although they have acknowledged in the press that they "occasionally" find innocent defendants, they pursue even their weakest cases in court until it's obvious they're going to lose. Then they try to get a dismissal without prejudice to avoid having to pay your legal fees. This means that you can either: a) Pay a ~$3,500 settlement or b) Pay a lawyer even more than that to represent you in court. If you're innocent, you end up paying no matter what. Yes, after a long and hard court battle, Debbie Foster *finally* won reasonable attorney's fees, but she's pretty much the only one so far. Usually, they cut & run and you're just out of luck and out of money.

In short, they do precious little to make sure that the people they sue are guilty, they torment anyone they sue in court (even going after your family if you prove to be innocent), and they twist every court rule they can get away with (hint: getting sanctioned & ignoring court orders is NOT something a reputable lawyer does).

So no, I'm not going to condone this "Won't someone please think of the poor RIAA!" crap when the RIAA come preaching this hypocritical holier than thou bit with respect to copyright law, only to turn around and ignore any laws or court orders that stand in their way.

Now please crawl back under whatever bridge you came out from under.

Re:Have you been paying ANY attention, troll? (0)

diablomonic (754193) | more than 7 years ago | (#19405851)

good response, mod parent up (not grandparent)

Re: storing the balance (5, Insightful)

trippeh (1097403) | more than 7 years ago | (#19405939)

IH speaks! "Can't stop what Napster started [isohunt.com] ."
Ya, a copyright infringement website defends copyright infringement. Who'd've thought. also, this lesson has been learned before [techdirt.com] .

Besides, I AM an artist. If I were signed with a label/distribution company/other organ, I would make >10 per unit sold. I much prefer that people burn or download my album, then buy me a beer. I get more out of it that way.

Also, 15,010 angry nerds can't be wrong. http://consumerist.com/consumer/worst-company-in-a merica/riaa-wins-worst-company-in-america-2007-245 235.php [consumerist.com]
[/rebuttal] Okay, fair point, the RIAA are just doing their job. We'll disregard for the moment it's a job that doesn't need to be done. In this case, the only thing the RIAA are guilty of is boundless enthusiasm. Unfortunately, the low-income single mothers on the receiving end of the lawsuits don't see it that way.

Okay, I've lost the thread of my argument, so I'm just going to say what I originally intended to say.

Clearchannel.

Money talks. Independent labels can't afford to get music on the radio in America, because they don't have the resource to buy the airtime or lobby the execs. The internet is their only hope. The RIAA, as far as I can work out, is accidentally crushing independent artists while they're going after the roaches. So, sure. Blame the RIAA-haters for depriving artists who already have record labels, have a valid form of income. I'll keep blaming the RIAA for keeping the little guy down with its' clumsy antics.

No! (2, Interesting)

SCPRedMage (838040) | more than 7 years ago | (#19404977)

Extortion? No, not the RIAA, they'd never do that!

Sarcasm aside, who didn't see this coming?

Re:No! (5, Funny)

jstomel (985001) | more than 7 years ago | (#19405007)

Sarcasm aside, who didn't see this coming?
The RIAA, aparently.

Re:No! (1)

SCPRedMage (838040) | more than 7 years ago | (#19405185)

Oh, I'm pretty sure they knew this would happen eventually. I'm betting they were just trying to extort as much money as possible before the tactic lost it's viability.

Re:No! (4, Interesting)

Lead Butthead (321013) | more than 7 years ago | (#19405209)

Sarcasm aside, who didn't see this coming?
The RIAA, aparently.
Despite what we all like to think of RIAA, they have on staff some of the best lawyers money can buy. Surely they have contingency plan layout just for this?

Re:No! (2, Insightful)

313373_bot (766001) | more than 7 years ago | (#19405527)

Despite what we all like to think of RIAA, they have on staff some of the best lawyers money can buy. Surely they have contingency plan layout just for this?

Maybe not. Unchecked exercise of power breeds arrogance and carelessness.

Re:No! (1)

Citizen of Earth (569446) | more than 7 years ago | (#19405567)

Surely they have contingency plan layout just for this?

Yes, settle with the counter-suer for $1M (on condition that the terms are not disclosed).

Re:No! (1)

Kuros_overkill (879102) | more than 7 years ago | (#19405863)

I believe steve miller said it best: "Take the money and run"

Unlicensed private investigators... (4, Insightful)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 7 years ago | (#19404991)

I wonder if this is referring to the people who get your ip address off of their file sharing programs?

I do think that this should at least make the RIAA use legal and more robust techniques to win cases.

Re:Unlicensed private investigators... (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 7 years ago | (#19405237)

09 F9 11- Screw it, it's too late to be trendy anyway.

Well, there's always: 45 5F E1 04 22 CA 29 C4 93 3F 95 05 2B 79 2A B2

dont cheer yet (4, Insightful)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 7 years ago | (#19404999)

dont cheer yet, filing counterclaims is not the same as winning the case agaisnt the RIAA- if and when the RIAA loses THEN you can cheer.

Re:dont cheer yet (2, Interesting)

Smight (1099639) | more than 7 years ago | (#19405085)

The RIAA's tactics so far have been so far over the line that it's hard to see how they can not be convicted of something.

Re:dont cheer yet (4, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 7 years ago | (#19405199)

Oh c'mon, it's not like we ain't seen laws being bought and sold so far, and we've seen laws retroactively making illegal activities legal, why do you think combining them is impossible?

Re:dont cheer yet (1)

rbanffy (584143) | more than 7 years ago | (#19405655)

In Soviet Russia, file-sharers sue you.

Sorry... Couldn't resist the signature...

Re:dont cheer yet (2, Interesting)

westlake (615356) | more than 7 years ago | (#19405507)

The RIAA's tactics so far have been so far over the line that it's hard to see how they can not be convicted of something.

In a civil case you cannot be convicted of anything.

Shotgun blasts of counter-claims are not necessarily the best way to persuade a judge that your defense has merit... More likely he'll see these pre-trial theatrics as a waste of his time.

It is part of his job to ruthlessly prune a case back to its essentials.

Re:dont cheer yet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19405115)

It might not yet be a victory, but, it is, however, a beginning.

Re:dont cheer yet (5, Insightful)

Wordplay (54438) | more than 7 years ago | (#19405195)

No, please do cheer. You can't get a victory unless someone fights back, and it has to be someone getting victimized by the RIAA to have real currency. We've gone years now without someone stepping up to the plate, so I would consider this to be a huge step. We've needed this for a long time.

Re:dont cheer yet (3, Interesting)

epee1221 (873140) | more than 7 years ago | (#19405235)

This time, the RIAA can't drop the suit without prejudice as soon as it starts to look like they'll lose.

Re:dont cheer yet (1)

Hoi Polloi (522990) | more than 7 years ago | (#19405521)

Tee hee hee! I know, I know, I just couldn't stop giggling anyway.

Re:dont cheer yet (4, Insightful)

Citizen of Earth (569446) | more than 7 years ago | (#19405531)

dont cheer yet, filing counterclaims is not the same as winning the case agaisnt the RIAA

Still, it'll be fun to watch them crap their pants and try to settle with the person for megabucks. If they flinch, their extortion plans are all over, as getting hit with a lawsuit from them will be like winning the lottery.

hmm look who posted this (-1, Troll)

JimboFBX (1097277) | more than 7 years ago | (#19405011)

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes
"The defendant in a Tampa, Florida, case, UMG v. Del Cid, has filed counterclaims accusing the RIAA record labels of conspiracy and extortion. The counterclaims (pdf) are for Trespass, Computer Fraud and Abuse (18 USC 1030), Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices (Fla. Stat. 501.201), Civil Extortion (CA Penal Code 519 & 523), and Civil Conspiracy involving (a) use of private investigators without license in violation of Fla. Stat. Chapter 493; (b) unauthorized access to a protected computer system, in interstate commerce, for the purpose of obtaining information in violation of 18 U.S.C. 1030 (a)(2)(C); (c) extortion in violation of Ca. Penal Code 519 and 523; and (d) knowingly collecting an unlawful consumer debt, and using abus[ive] means to do so, in violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, 15 U.S.C. 1692a et seq. and Fla. Stat. 559.72 et seq."

NewYorkCountyLawyer wrote this update like a lawyer too.

Re:hmm look who posted this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19405065)

NewYorkCountyLawyer wrote this update like a lawyer too.
You've got to admit it sounds great to the ears. At the end I was left thinking "is that all?".

I look forward to hearing about how this case goes... hopefully at least some of those claims stick to the wall! :)

Re:hmm look who posted this (3, Funny)

thegrassyknowl (762218) | more than 7 years ago | (#19405589)

You've got to admit it sounds great to the ears

Um that's why people share files. Most of the RIAA music doesn't sound good for the ears, and we're sick of paying for a whole CD to get the one good track on it that they never release as a single!

Re:hmm look who posted this (4, Informative)

EvilGrin666 (457869) | more than 7 years ago | (#19405125)

That's because AFAIK he/she is a lawyer and has been involved in one of these RIAA cases (to what extent I'm unsure). Just look at the prior article submissions! Here [slashdot.org] and here [slashdot.org] being obvious examples.

Re:hmm look who posted this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19405323)

Sorry Jimbo, but we can't help you if you're too stupid to understand that NewYorkCountryLawyer informed us succinctly, accurately, and plainly. He even leaves it as an exercise to the reader to reference the exact statutes referenced by the counterclaims. How much more straightforward can you get?

Please... (5, Funny)

Richard McBeef (1092673) | more than 7 years ago | (#19405035)

If you look at Section 72 paragraph 14, subsection 8 sentence 2 (3f33.v2.7) of the Florida code (version 23.4.2a) you will clearly see that it is superceded by Federal code 4323F.2b4#*R, page 492 subsection B, paragraph 12, sentences 3-7.

Re:Please... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19405083)

Which is all superceded by The DaVinci Code.

Re:Please... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19405239)

Which, of course, was superceded by a GOOD movie.

Re:Please... (5, Funny)

Lithdren (605362) | more than 7 years ago | (#19405089)

IANAL, but clearly you've never read State Statute H834.b, page 42 subset 11D paragraph 15 sentence 1 (v1.32).

"This Space Intentionally Left Blank"

I'd like to see you argue that point.

Re:Please... (5, Funny)

Richard McBeef (1092673) | more than 7 years ago | (#19405141)

IANAL, but clearly you've never read State Statute H834.b, page 42 subset 11D paragraph 15 sentence 1 (v1.32).

In Alabama, ANAL is strictly prohibited by Penal Code 5432.427c(a).

Re:Please... (4, Funny)

rootofevil (188401) | more than 7 years ago | (#19405203)

heh, you said penal.

Re:Please... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19405299)

heh you're retarded shut the fuck up faggot

Reminds me of That 70s Show (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19405341)

"Oral exam on the penal code!"

Re:Please... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19405249)

In Alabama, ANAL is strictly prohibited by Penal Code 5432.427c(a).

Not entirely. At the bottom of the statute, a clause states the following:

5432.427c/2-5:9817-c-1: Exceptions to Alabama, Penal Code 5432.427c(a)

The foregoing statute Code 5432.427c(a) is not applicable under either of the following circumstances:

1) y'all are blood-related; or
2) it's one of yer farm aminals.

Re:Please... (1)

Larry Lightbulb (781175) | more than 7 years ago | (#19405945)

I thought Apple was releasing iAnal later this year.

Re:Please... (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 7 years ago | (#19405283)

It doesn't matter if it is left blank, because it's the right that matters, not the left.

Re:Please... (4, Funny)

iCEBaLM (34905) | more than 7 years ago | (#19405613)

I'd like to see you argue that point.


Chewbacca is a Wookiee from the planet Kashyyyk, but lives on the planet Endor. Now think about it, that does not make sense!

Re:Please... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19405719)

Clearly you've never read Vermont Penal Code 09.F91.102 page 9D7.4E,35B subset D8)4156.C5 sentence [635]688(C0).

Re:Please... (3, Interesting)

revengebomber (1080189) | more than 7 years ago | (#19405105)

Wasn't one of the key points of the American legal system originally being able to read and know the law? As in, so you know what you can and can't do? They really do need to reform some of these laws in terms of readability.

Re:Please... (2, Insightful)

Original Replica (908688) | more than 7 years ago | (#19405213)

There are way too many ties between the people who write the law and the people who make money knowing the law. Politicans aren't about to put lawyers out of work by making the legal system intelligible to the common citizen. Besides, without ridiculous wording how would they hide the boondoggles?

Re:Please... (1)

SCPRedMage (838040) | more than 7 years ago | (#19405279)

Besides, without ridiculous wording how would they hide the boondoggles?
Well, they COULD pay me to build some sort of boondoggle-hiding machine...

Re:Please... (3, Insightful)

nomadic (141991) | more than 7 years ago | (#19405367)

There are way too many ties between the people who write the law and the people who make money knowing the law. Politicans aren't about to put lawyers out of work by making the legal system intelligible to the common citizen.

Having non-lawyers write laws will result in really poorly-written laws with plenty of loopholes. The law is like every other specialized field; it develops its own language for a reason.

Re:Please... (2, Interesting)

Original Replica (908688) | more than 7 years ago | (#19405747)

So this contorted arcane language is more prescise than simple sentences in common English? This would only be the case if you had judges who ignored the intention of the law and adhered strictly to some strange word game played with the code of law. So... yeah, I guess we do need lawyers to write the law here.

Re:Please... (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 7 years ago | (#19405273)

Right, it's really not rocket science. It can't be. Rocket science actually makes sense.

Though, in a way mafiaa lawsuits and rocket science are related. Both create a whole lot of hot air in an attempt to get a lot inert mass off the ground and both cost a lot of money where you wonder just what is so expensive about them.

Re:Please... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19405547)

I've been programming computers for almost four decades. You might expect computer programs to make sense, but they tend not to -- especially after they've been hacked to satisfy management, user and customer whims for year upon year. Legislation is no different: it tends to lack what we programmers call cohesion -- the property of addressing one issue in a focused way.

And the poor quality of legislation is not just the result of conspiracy, although a lot of it does have to do with mutual back-scratching. I don't like your bill, but I'll vote for it if you'll add a little pork for my district. Or, I don't like your bill, but I'll vote for it if you'll add this obscure twist that will prevent some harm that I honestly think might affect certain innocent people (what law doesn't have some bad effects?). Look at the current immigration bill in the US Senate -- it is 800+ pages long and will make nobody happy, but that's what we call compromise. I think a lot of the people who shaped that monstrosity were actually trying to do the right thing. They missed, as they so often do.

Still, hopefully this lawsuit will be a step in the right direction. If you are in favor of it, enjoying it, exulting over it, then fer gosh sakes send money to eff.org so they can afford to stand up for you when the MafiAA comes after you.

Re:Please... (5, Funny)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 7 years ago | (#19405535)

clearly see that it is superceded

I think superseeding is what got that guy in trouble in the first place.

Hopefully, it will earn him a jury of his peers.

The reason this hasn't happened before ... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19405069)

Most of the victims just roll over because they can't afford to pay a lawyer. The RIAA doesn't go after people who can defend themselves. On the other hand, if this case and a couple of others are won in court then the RIAA won't be able to use its cheap tactics any more.

Their supposed expert (actually he is an expert, just not on what he is testifying to) and their investigators only sound good until they are properly challenged. In other words they're only good enough to fool most of the victims and maybe a credulous judge.

Re:The reason this hasn't happened before ... (2, Insightful)

adona1 (1078711) | more than 7 years ago | (#19405469)

Most of the victims just roll over because they can't afford to pay a lawyer


On the other hand, the odds are that they have pinpointed a fair few people who have downloaded music. I really dislike their tactics (suing customers? Great idea!) and we do like to bring up the 'suing grandmothers/10 year olds/dead people' thing here on /. but it's fair to presume that with the amount of file trading going on, quite a few people that they sue are actually guilty.

Does the punishment fit the crime? I wouldn't say so, and their machine gun-like attitude to lawsuits is nauseating. But still, they wouldn't be doing this if people weren't downloading.

The answer? Portable HDDs and sharing them around your with your friends :)

Re:The reason this hasn't happened before ... (5, Insightful)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 7 years ago | (#19405865)

The answer? Portable HDDs and sharing them around your with your friends :)

In truth, I think you're right about that. Peer-to-peer served to get massive collections of music into the hands of, well, the masses. Now there are millions upon millions of 50+ Gb private stashes out there. The biggest threat the music industry is facing is the large, portable hard drive ... whether it's in an iPod or not. I mean, in the time it takes to grab a few tunes from Limewire you can jack in a portable USB drive and commit copyright infringement on a Biblical scale.

Sneakernet isn't dead: it just got bigger guns.

About F'ing Time! (2, Interesting)

whisper_jeff (680366) | more than 7 years ago | (#19405071)

Subject says it all.

its about time (1)

zzottt (629458) | more than 7 years ago | (#19405079)

Its about time someone counter-sued like this but will it work?
Good luck!!!

all the more reason to buy independent music

I don't think that I'm alone (2, Funny)

chuckymonkey (1059244) | more than 7 years ago | (#19405117)

when I think "FUCK YEAH, STICK IT TO THEM". Man I should have fits like that a little more often, it's liberating.

Re:I don't think that I'm alone (2, Insightful)

Nephilium (684559) | more than 7 years ago | (#19405577)

Perhaps a relevant quote will fit here...

"Well damn the man Joe... Damn the man."

Nephilium

oh please (1)

ScottyMcScott (1003155) | more than 7 years ago | (#19405137)

please please please let the RIAA lose the case...but its unlikely.

Why are *AA logs worth anything? (5, Insightful)

WombatDeath (681651) | more than 7 years ago | (#19405173)

I don't really get it.

The RIAA waves a piece of paper and says "Look, at 11:28 on March 23rd 2007 Zaphod was making 'Stairway to Heaven' available for downloading on the Bittorrent network".

Zaphod: "Err, no, I wasn't."

RIAA: "Yes you did, we have a piece of paper!"

Zaphod: "Give me ten seconds and I can show you a piece of paper saying anything you like."

RIAA: "We have database logs and screenshots!"

Zaphod: "Give me five minutes with a computer and I'll show you database logs and screenshots of anything you like."

RIAA: "We have bizarrely detailed logs from your ISP showing that we downloaded a file from your computer at 11:29 on March 23rd 2007!."

Zaphod: "Yes, it was a picture of me buggering your mother."

RIAA: "..."

Really, I don't understand why the *AA's 'evidence' in these matters is relevant, let alone compelling. Do they have some sort of infallible tool for proving exactly what files Zaphod had on his computer?

Re:Why are *AA logs worth anything? (5, Informative)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 7 years ago | (#19405225)

Well, it hangs on what the judge deems "reasonable proof". If the mafiaa alone produces a log, it's clearly easily forged. If the defendant does, it's the same. When the ISP, a non-aligned party, produces evidence, it usually holds some meaning.

Re:Why are *AA logs worth anything? KAZAA STRIKES! (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 7 years ago | (#19405271)

Do they have some sort of infallible tool for proving exactly what files Zaphod had on his computer?

Media Sentry claims they run KaZaA like anyone else would, and therefore find files like anyone else would.

If so, the Media Sentry computer performing this investigation is an ad-ware/spyware/crap-ware ridden piece of junk that you can't trust for a moment.

Re:Why are *AA logs worth anything? (1)

epee1221 (873140) | more than 7 years ago | (#19405275)

Do they have some sort of infallible tool for proving exactly what files Zaphod had on his computer?
Seeing as the countersuit includes Tresspass and Computer Fraud and Abuse, I imagine they have something they used to try to check.

Re:Why are *AA logs worth anything? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19405305)

Over 99% of the cases never get anywhere near a court-- they send a C&D letter to the user's ISP, and that's enough. Most of the rest end in settlement...it's very rare that the RIAA actually ends up in court over copyright infringement for downloading music. When it does happen, I imagine it's not difficult for them to convince a judge that their evidence is credible. They're big and well-known with unlimited access to lawyers and experts, they can show logs from observed network traffic and ISPs, and they have a hell of a lot to lose by falsifying evidence in petty issues like a $2000 lawsuit. They can show a judge how it's possible for them to obtain the evidence they have, and they really have no motivation to lie about it (there are millions of people bootlegging music every day-- why would they spend time fabricating evidence against someone that really didn't do it?)

Re:Why are *AA logs worth anything? (1)

WombatDeath (681651) | more than 7 years ago | (#19405443)

An IT technician, with a grudge, working at the *AA? Or maybe someone realised that they made a mistake in the investigative process and don't want to admit it? Or perhaps an overly enthusiastic 'bounty hunter' was involved, if such people in TFA really do exist. In any event, as far as I'm aware the typical ISP log will show, at best, that they were able to transfer packets of data between my computer and theirs. I doubt that any ISP will be logging the packets themselves.

It appears to come down to "You can trust us - why would we make this up?" Well, for the reasons above, off the top of my head, and probably for lots of better ones too. I do accept your point, but I'm not seeing any reason why their testimony should be granted the same weight as that of a law enforcement agency.

Re:Why are *AA logs worth anything? (2, Insightful)

fatalfury (934087) | more than 7 years ago | (#19405427)

Really, I don't understand why the *AA's 'evidence' in these matters is relevant, let alone compelling.

Most of these cases end up before judges who have no idea how to turn a computer on, much less understand dynamic IP addresses, file-sharing, spyware, adware, wifi hacking, or any of the myriad factors that could provide doubt in a case like this.

Re:Why are *AA logs worth anything? (1)

Cadallin (863437) | more than 7 years ago | (#19405947)

This is sadly true, but is changing over time. Lawyers were some of the first professionals to deploy computer systems in the 1980's. (I remember, I was there) They were mostly using IBM XT/AT with Wordperfect, to type up legal briefs and such. Those lawyers that were fairly young then (20 years ago) are now approaching the age where the more respected among them get elected to judicial positions (late 40's to 50 or so). A lawyer I know personally was involved in the development/deployment of the first standardized database system for case records for a certain part of the judicial system in his state in the early 1990's. These lawyers are now starting to creep into the judiciary. These guys may not be l33t *nix haxxors, but they know what a computer is, how to turn it on, how computer systems made their practices much more efficient, and they are at least aware of and use the internet. They rely on e-mail. Sure, some of them are still clueless, but that's true of any group. It just takes time, but we are getting there. In another 10 years or so all the old fogies will have retired and been replaced by men from the generation I'm talking about. They're at least going to have enough knowledge to ask intelligent questions (e.g. "Spyware, what's that?" "It's like a virus that collects information from your computer and sends it to a third party over the internet" "Ah, I see.")

Re:Why are *AA logs worth anything? (4, Insightful)

Lesrahpem (687242) | more than 7 years ago | (#19405447)

IANAL. In civil cases all the plaintiff has to do is convince the judge that their claims are "probably" true. In a criminal case you have to prove a lot more. As far as I am aware screen shots, log files, etc. aren't considered any real evidence in a criminal case since they are so easily forged, but they are allowed in a civil case.

Let's say my kids are out playing in my yard and they throw a ball and it breaks a window of your car. If you sued me you wouldn't have to prove they did it, just that it's likely that they did.

Re:Why are *AA logs worth anything? (1)

adona1 (1078711) | more than 7 years ago | (#19405673)

Yep, civil plaintiffs just have to demonstrate that 'on the balance of probability' they are correct. If it was a criminal suit (something the RIAA doesn't do) they'd have to prove everything 'beyond reasonable doubt'. As it's a civil case, the RIAA doesn't have to necessarily be right, just to be able to argue their side better.

Re:Why are *AA logs worth anything? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19405657)

Geee !!!!
Zaphod had stairway to heaven available ? why didn't he let me know. Had that LP years ago (paid for it) then it got broken. Zaphod is geting sued for that ??? no kidding !!!
Guess he deserves it, Robert Plant really needs our money (not to mention Paris Hilton) and OF COURSE the RIAA executives, poor they ...

One day, while merrily hunting for ants to sue... (2, Funny)

Gordo_1 (256312) | more than 7 years ago | (#19405241)

the RIAArdvark came across a Black Widow... who ate it for lunch. Gulp!

more likely to get struck by lightning (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19405297)

You idiots latch onto the one case where someone made a mistake, and act like the RIAA is doing something wrong. You know millions of people are trading files online and yet you believe the RIAA is prosecuting innocent people. You are not thinking rationally. Turn off your emotions for a second and maybe your reason will come back. The odds of getting wrongfully sued by the RIAA are much worse than being struck by lightning. I expect this sort of rhetoric on Digg, but I guess /. is just as brain dead with their MAFIAA bullshit.

Re:more likely to get struck by lightning (3, Insightful)

Lithdren (605362) | more than 7 years ago | (#19405381)

So because the odds of me getting struck by a stray bullet while you fire at targets in your back yard, is so low im more likely to get killed in a freak zebra crossing, it should be legal to fire at targets in your back yard in a poplulated area?

Just because its rare, doesn't make it right. Murder, as it turns out, is pretty damn rare. Does that make murder right? If its right, it would become more common and suddenly, its wrong! Where does such logic lead?

Re:more likely to get struck by lightning (4, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | more than 7 years ago | (#19405511)

You compared an event the probabilistically won't happen to an event that has happened.

Stop it, they don't apply to each other.

"...it should be legal to fire at targets in your back yard in a populated area?"
if the odds are that low to hit ANYBODY, then there would be nothing wrong with firing a gun in your backyard. Of course you would be paying for any property damage.

Re:more likely to get struck by lightning (4, Funny)

Vegeta99 (219501) | more than 7 years ago | (#19405637)

If its right, it would become more common and suddenly, its wrong! Where does such logic lead?

To the War on Drugs.

Re:more likely to get struck by lightning (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19405397)

Just for fun I decided to test this theory when someone like you said this to me four years ago. I videotaped some fratboys playing drunk soccer, and then copied and pasted the clip repeatedly until I had an hour and a half long video. I then called the video "Shaolin Soccer.avi", put it in a Gnutella share directory on my computer that I connected to the university network (there were no other files in the share directory) and within three days the university had forwarded me a letter from the MPAA stating that I was sharing the movie "Shaolin Soccer." I had a good laugh with the residential networking guys about it. Together we told the MPAA to go fuck off. I haven't been struck by lightning yet.

This is music to my ears . . . (4, Informative)

DaMattster (977781) | more than 7 years ago | (#19405313)

I think these charges, should they have merit might just stop the RIAA in its tracks. At the very least, experts would be far less willing to work on their behalf for fear of a damaged reputation and/or potential jail time. I know that in PA, acting as Private Detective without any kind of bond and licensure is a FELONY. I can't imagine doing so in Florida wouldn't be a crime either. We shall see about the outcome. My guess is that these charges will be whittled down and not much will become of this. I would really like to see this fought to the bitter end.

Re:This is music to my ears . . . (2, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | more than 7 years ago | (#19405481)

"I know that in PA, acting as Private Detective without any kind of bond and licensure is a FELONY. "
And the define that as....?

I am sure there is a strict description of who this applies to.

op, sure enough:
http://www.pali.org/papdact.htm#sec12 [pali.org]

huh, what a crappy law. I don't even know how it stands up in court.
Sure, I wuoldn't hire one that wasn't liscensed or bonded, but that doesn't mean they should have to be bonded.
Based on the date of the law, I would wager this was created for some union influence.

I`m so happy (2, Interesting)

ZDRuX (1010435) | more than 7 years ago | (#19405713)

...that there is still news in this world that is good news for the small people.
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