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Judge Says No to RIAA Subpoena Request

CowboyNeal posted about 7 years ago | from the trials-and-tribulations dept.

The Courts 154

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "For at least the second time, a federal judge has dealt the RIAA's campaign against college students a blow by refusing an ex parte motion by the RIAA for a subpoena against college students. In Newport News, Virginia, Judge Walter D. Kelley, Jr., denied the RIAA's motion for information about students at the College of William and Mary. The Court denied the motion outright, saying it was unauthorized by law. (pdf) Last month it was reported that a New Mexico judge had denied a similar motion directed against University of New Mexico students on the ground that it should not have been made ex parte."

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154 comments

Good to see critical thinking (5, Insightful)

NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) | about 7 years ago | (#19859507)

It is most gratifying to see a Judge deny an ex parte application like that. I.e., only the RIAA was in court. No one else -- not the students, not even the university -- knew about it or had a chance to say anything.

This is an example of a good judge doing his homework and actually reading the statutes, and not being impressed by pounds of paper and doubletalk.

I am very happy to see judges like Judge Kelley and Judge Garcia taking a close look, and saying to the RIAA thugs : "Wait a minute, this is still a court of law, not a schoolyard where bullies can just do whatever they want to defenseless people. We have a rule of law, here, buddy."

Re:Good to see critical thinking (5, Interesting)

EveryNickIsTaken (1054794) | about 7 years ago | (#19859585)

This is definitely one where people should read TFA. The judge tears their motion apart, and stops just short of saying, "I award you no points, and may god have mercy upon your soul."

Re:Good to see critical thinking (4, Interesting)

NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) | about 7 years ago | (#19859643)

This is definitely one where people should read TFA. The judge tears their motion apart, and stops just short of saying, "I award you no points, and may god have mercy upon your soul."
You're right.

He's saying, in so many words, "the whole statutory basis for your motion is nonexistent.... why didn't you read the statute before citing it?" and "why didn't you mention the real statute for this kind of thing, which DOESN'T allow this kind of motion against a COLLEGE?"

Re:Good to see critical thinking (1)

superwiz (655733) | about 7 years ago | (#19860825)

I am sure they were treating college as an ISP in the motion. Let's not confuse form over function. Just because a college provides functions other than an ISP does not mean that it doesn't provide the function of an ISP. That is the function here is and ISP and the form is a college. So the only relevant question becomes is this type of motion allowed against an ISP.

Re:Good to see critical thinking (2, Interesting)

karmatic (776420) | about 7 years ago | (#19861025)

I am sure they were treating college as an ISP in the motion. Let's not confuse form over function.


Well, you're either a moron or a person with reading comprehension problems.

Actually, if you read the judgement, they weren't treating them like an ISP. The statute they were attempting to claim authorized their motion was a statute authorizing said motions by the government against a cable company.

The judge basically tells them "There's a DMCA for this sort of thing, and it doesn't authorize this behavior either."

Sounds like they got off easy... (3, Insightful)

VidEdit (703021) | about 7 years ago | (#19861043)

The judge's ruling seemed to suggest that the RIAA's blatantly misleading filing borders on perpetrating a fraud on the court. It almost seems lucky the weren't cited for contempt.

Re:Good to see critical thinking (1)

mythar (1085839) | about 7 years ago | (#19861357)

before a subpoena may issue, the clerk must first receive a copy of the notice described in Subsection (c)(3)(A). This notice applies only to the categories of ISPs in Subsections (b)-(d). Upon receipt of the notice, Subsection (b)-(d) ISPs must respond "expeditiously to remove, or disable access to, the material that is claimed to be infringing,"
this is a little odd. he seems to be saying that ISPs can never be subpoenaed under the dmca because they can't be first given a take-down notice. did he bring up the dmca just so he could shoot down his own argument? did the riaa even mention the dmca in their motion?

Re:Good to see critical thinking (1)

kiracatgirl (791797) | about 7 years ago | (#19862651)

He said you have to issue a take-down notice, not that you can't. His point was that the RIAA never sent any sort of a notice, so they can't subpoena the College, even when stretching the College to fit the definition of an ISP.

Re:Good to see critical thinking (1)

eric76 (679787) | about 7 years ago | (#19863123)

I'm under the belief that the takedown notice must be given to someone who has control over the situation. That is, it would inform an ISP that certain content on their system violates their copyrights. The ISP, in order to not be held liable for the infringement, would then remove the content.

The problem is that if the material is on a customer's own computer, the ISP has no authority to remove the content. The ISP has no control over the situation at all.

So for a college, even if it can be treated as an ISP, to be issued a take-down notice, the material would have to be stored on a college owned or controlled computer. If the computer in question is in a dorm room and is the private property of a student and is not under the control of the college, then the college cannot be held liable for the infringement.

I also don't believe that the college is under any legal obligation to tell the alleged copyright owner the identity of the alleged infringer without a court order. In fact, they may be under a legal obligation to provide that information only when ordered by the court to divulge it.

So that's how I understand the issue. Where am I wrong?

(I'm not a lawyer and I haven't read the article.)

Re:Good to see critical thinking (2, Informative)

kiracatgirl (791797) | about 7 years ago | (#19863279)

I'm not a lawyer either, I have read the article, but I honestly don't think anything you've said is wrong. Then again, the hideous legal document references were extremely distracting, so I don't think I fully understood the details like that myself. I just got the general impression that the Judge thought the RIAA's request was, in all possible interpretations, inappropriate.

Re:Good to see critical thinking (3, Informative)

value_added (719364) | about 7 years ago | (#19860369)

This is definitely one where people should read TFA. The judge tears their motion apart, and stops just short of saying, "I award you no points, and may god have mercy upon your soul."

My favourite bit was the following from the last link:

Plaintiffs contend that unless the Court allows ex parte immediate discovery, they will be irreparably harmed. While the Court does not dispute that infringement of a copyright results in harm, it requires a Coleridgian "suspension of disbelief" to accept that the harm is irreparable, especially when monetary damages can cure any alleged violation. On the other hand, the harm related to disclosure of confidential information in a student or faculty member's Internet files can be equally harmful.

For anyone unfamiliar with Coleridge [wikipedia.org] , reading something on the origin of the phrase suspension of disbelief [texaschapbookpress.com] might be informative. At least easier than reading Coleridge's own works.

Re:Good to see critical thinking (3, Insightful)

mastermemorex (1119537) | about 7 years ago | (#19859603)

Well. Now it is just a metter to move to a political sphere and change the law.

No one can stops the RIAA to overtake the world. Not this judge, not the law, not the people. You just borrowed your freedom. Is is jus a matter of time and money!

Buahh! ha! ha!

Re:Good to see critical thinking (1)

jamstar7 (694492) | about 7 years ago | (#19859775)

Personally, I was thinkin, "That's COMEDY" when I read that article. Anything that cuts the knees off of *IAA is a Good Thing INMSFBHO.

INMSFBHO? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19860105)

INMSFBHO?

Re:INMSFBHO? (1)

jamstar7 (694492) | about 7 years ago | (#19861235)

"in My Not So F***ing Bloody Humble Opinion'.

Re:INMSFBHO? (1)

janrinok (846318) | about 7 years ago | (#19862053)

So you actually meant "IMNSFBHO" - you transposed the M and N which made it rather hard for people to work out the true meaning.

Re:Good to see critical thinking (1)

shdragon (1797) | about 7 years ago | (#19861707)

Nice post! It's refreshing to see people on /. actually post an intelligent summary of an interesting article. Please keep contributing. Cheers!

-sd

Re:Good to see critical thinking (1)

NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) | about 7 years ago | (#19863167)

Nice post! It's refreshing to see people on /. actually post an intelligent summary of an interesting article. Please keep contributing. Cheers! -sd
I'd say "thank you", shdragon, but if I leave it at that, someone will mod me down as "overrated". Can I interest you in a link to something about some other galaxies [slashdot.org] , just to keep myself at +1?

PS. Are you really Slashdot member #1797? Wow.

I wouldn't worry too much (1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | about 7 years ago | (#19864001)

These days overrated seems to be used more for "I disagree with what you are saying but don't want to get metamoderated". Also you've become something of a celebrity on Slashdot, you don't have a whole lot to worry about getting modded down unless you go and flame someone out right or something like that.

Re:I wouldn't worry too much (1)

NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) | about 7 years ago | (#19864311)

These days overrated seems to be used more for "I disagree with what you are saying but don't want to get metamoderated". Also you've become something of a celebrity on Slashdot, you don't have a whole lot to worry about getting modded down unless you go and flame someone out right or something like that.
I was just kidding, I'm not really afraid of being attacked. If I were, I'd be in the wrong line of work.

Did you see my Slashdot interview [slashdot.org] , where I was mercilessly hacked apart by people complaining that I hadn't answered the questions, or that I had answered them curtly. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

But I will tell you, I've noticed my story submissions getting voted down very quickly in Firehose lately. Can't help but wonder if the RIAA troll(s) are at it again.

Jargon Jingle. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19859513)

"ex parte motion"

Quick show of hands. How many know what the above is without Googling?

Re:Jargon Jingle. (1)

funkyloki (648436) | about 7 years ago | (#19859525)

Just before your post, the only other post on the page tells us that ex parte is when only one side is in court. So the answer was given up before you even asked the question. Nice

Re:Jargon Jingle. (2, Insightful)

Timothy Brownawell (627747) | about 7 years ago | (#19859611)

So the answer was given up before you even asked the question. Nice

Or more likely, it was given up *while* he was asking the question. This isn't IRC, there's a bit of a delay between looking for other comments and posting your own.

Re:Jargon Jingle. (1)

fredklein (532096) | about 7 years ago | (#19860729)

He must type slow; there were 2 minutes between the post explaining what 'ex parte' means and his two-line query.

Re:Jargon Jingle. (4, Informative)

BKX (5066) | about 7 years ago | (#19859541)

My hand goes up. Ex parte is a very common legal term meaning to meet with a judge without both parties being present. Normally, no matter what the motion, when you meet with a judge, both sides get to be present. These subpoenas are being issued with only the RIAA being present.

Re:Jargon Jingle. (5, Informative)

NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) | about 7 years ago | (#19859569)

Yep, the RIAA prefers to do everything the sneaky way.

They find it inconvenient if someone else shows up to tell the judges the truth.

Of course, as Judge Garcia was kind enough to point out, their "ex parte" tactics are illegal. Just a minor detail.

Since when does that matter to thugs? (1)

crovira (10242) | about 7 years ago | (#19859641)

The whole thing is a protection racket (and EVERYBODY needs protection from these guys [if I was Judge Garcia, I would look in my bed for horse's heads.])

Re:Since when does that matter to thugs? (3, Insightful)

NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) | about 7 years ago | (#19859677)

The whole thing is a protection racket
Indeed it is. Extortion, pure and simple.

So... (1)

Xenographic (557057) | about 7 years ago | (#19860389)

Will they ever get in trouble for all this ex parte crap? I fear that they'll keep pulling the same tricks until they get punished for it, and no one thus far has taken any note of that Texas ruling ordering them not to join all these unrelated cases together.

Re:So... (1)

nomadic (141991) | about 7 years ago | (#19860687)

Will they ever get in trouble for all this ex parte crap? I fear that they'll keep pulling the same tricks until they get punished for it, and no one thus far has taken any note of that Texas ruling ordering them not to join all these unrelated cases together.

There are three basic ways of approaching this kind of thing I think; the first is just sanctions (usually attorneys fees and costs for the party fighting the motion). The other is to attack the lawyers themselves with a bar complaint. The third is to actually file a claim or counterclaim. I don't know if anything they did rises to the level where the second and third things would work, but (I'm not familiar with the case) based on the Order it looks like nobody actually showed up to contest it. So I don't know who the fees would be awarded to.

I wish they'd stop them... (1)

Xenographic (557057) | about 7 years ago | (#19862157)

I don't see them stopping over small matters of money. Unless it's a sanction they'll have to list on every pro hac vice application from here on out, I just don't see any of the lawyers standing up and saying, "I don't think this is such a good idea."

Solo singer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19859679)

"They find it inconvenient if someone else shows up to tell the judges the truth."

Like who? [slashdot.org]

Re:Jargon Jingle. (3, Informative)

UnknowingFool (672806) | about 7 years ago | (#19859727)

As NewYorkCountryLawyer pointed out, this particular ex parte motion is illegal. There are very rare circumstances where ex parte communications are allowed. However these are generally the exception and not the rule as the Judge in New Mexico pointed out. In this case Judge Garcia pointed out the the DMCA was written for this exact situation and the RIAA should follow procedures outlined in the statute (which incidentally they helped to write and lobby).

Re:Jargon Jingle. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19859827)

How the hell can the case be anything but ex parte at this point?! The RIAA DOESN'T KNOW WHO THEY'RE SUEING! They're asking for the names of the people to be revealed. They can't exactly bring the other party into court when they don't know who the other party is!

Denying this motion is just plain stupid. How else are the RIAA supposed to find out who to sue?!

Re:Jargon Jingle. (3, Informative)

djmurdoch (306849) | about 7 years ago | (#19859905)

They're asking the judge to compel the university to do something, without having the university present to present objections. They know who the university is.

Re:Jargon Jingle. (2, Informative)

NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) | about 7 years ago | (#19863215)

They're asking the judge to compel the university to do something, without having the university present to present objections. They know who the university is.
Correct.

Plus, it would be an easy matter for the RIAA to furnish the university, and for the university to send to the John Does, copies of (a) the summons and complaint, (b) the motion papers, and (c) the judge's rules -- i.e. all the things the rules say one is supposed to get when one is sued, and motion is made against one's interests.

Re:Jargon Jingle. (1)

Reziac (43301) | about 7 years ago | (#19860475)

Likely your activities have helped make judges more aware of this, too, so they're more likely to go "Hey, wait a minute, since when is this legal? No way!" instead of just going along with whatever the RIAA wants.

I did like this judge effectively saying, "Read the law, dumbasses" :)

Re:Jargon Jingle. (1)

iminplaya (723125) | about 7 years ago | (#19862341)

...their "ex parte" tactics are illegal.

Is there any kind of fine for this? Can we at least flog them with a wet noodle?

Re:Jargon Jingle. (1)

BCW2 (168187) | about 7 years ago | (#19862633)

Since the RIAA wants to do everything out of sight of the public we just need to keep exposing them to the light of day. Like vampires they can't function in the open, slimy creatures prefer the dark.

I am surprised that a New Mexico judge figured it out. I spent 35 of my first 40 years there and the honesty and common sense level of judges and politicians is much lower than normal. The population is so low for that land area I knew half of them in the 80's and 90's and close to 3/4s in the 70's.

Re:Jargon Jingle. (1)

NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) | about 7 years ago | (#19863105)

Since the RIAA wants to do everything out of sight of the public we just need to keep exposing them to the light of day. Like vampires they can't function in the open, slimy creatures prefer the dark. I am surprised that a New Mexico judge figured it out. I spent 35 of my first 40 years there and the honesty and common sense level of judges and politicians is much lower than normal. The population is so low for that land area I knew half of them in the 80's and 90's and close to 3/4s in the 70's.
I've heard from other sources that Judge Garcia is well known to be a great judge, and his decision proves it, in my book. His action speaks well for the federal court in New Mexico, so let's keep an open mind. As far as I'm concerned the whole country owes that court a debt of gratitude.

Re:Jargon Jingle. (1)

simontek2 (523795) | about 7 years ago | (#19860585)

Not me.

Re:Jargon Jingle. (1)

Baron von Pilsner (1115373) | about 7 years ago | (#19860635)

Hand UP! (lawyer dad + Latin in college)

Selective RIAA enfarcement (1)

canuck57 (662392) | about 7 years ago | (#19859577)

The thought just occurred to me the RIAA would like the IP address and every school attendee simply to selectively enforce it. The last thing the RIAA wants to do is go after someone from a family of rich lawyers.... they want the ones that can't afford to fight. Or perhaps daddy might pass a law...

RIAA paracites.

Re:Selective RIAA enfarcement (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19862931)

Oh yea, because college kids are the children of the poorest people in America... all those rich kids go right into the workforce. Wait... what's that you say? The opposite is true?

No, I'm afraid that a college student is disproportionately likely to have a Big Important parent, compared to someone who never went to college.

On the other hand, I wouldn't deny that this is in order to exercise selective enforcement... but not because they're afraid of daddy... because a college student probably has just enough money to pay them off without bringing daddy into it (because they *hate* their parents just now) but no where near enough to mount a legal defense. And don't forget, they get the names before they decide who to follow through on... and there are only so many national scale lawmakers.

Courts should apply the law (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19859587)

not interpret it.

Re:Courts should apply the law (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19859621)

Well, I think its pretty obvious you have to interpret the law to apply it. If you don't know what it means, its somewhat difficult to apply it, isn't it?

Re:Courts should apply the law (4, Insightful)

ScrewMaster (602015) | about 7 years ago | (#19859629)

That's a tough call. Judges don't make laws, lawmakers do that ... and frequently they do it badly. Giving the judiciary some wiggle-room can prevent abuse as much as permit it. Yeah, it's a double-edged sword.

Re:Courts should apply the law (1)

moderatorrater (1095745) | about 7 years ago | (#19860129)

Judges also have to decide whether a law is, in itself, legal, whether it plays nicely with previous laws and the constitutions (state and national). In addition, judges have to decide what a law actually says, not what the lawmakers meant. While we don't have a system like the UK's where the courts have almost legislative power, the constitution does give judges the responsibility to judge and interpret the laws. In other words, while I agree with what Screwmaster said, I do believe the constitution itself gives that wiggle room.

Re:Courts should apply the law (1)

Photonic Shadow (1119225) | about 7 years ago | (#19860271)

The problem with many judges, AND many lawmakers is that they're both morally , and intellectually lazy.

I really do get tired of hearing people in comfortable circumstances belittle others who's circumstances are not so comfortable for being lazy. That is to say for being physically lazy. While physical laziness is no virtue, intellectual, and moral laziness are very much more serious shortcomings when the ones being so are in positions of advantage, and more to the point positions of responsibility.

The reason that younger generations look to the WWII/Depression generation as being the 'Greatest Generation' is precisely because the WWII/Depression generation did not have a lazy bone in its collective body. They were neither physically, morally, nor intellectually lazy.

PS

Re:Courts should apply the law (1)

Baron von Pilsner (1115373) | about 7 years ago | (#19860699)

A judge's interpretation of the law becomes precident and is (generally) applied to cases that follow... (called case law I believe). So over time their rulings don't make law, but change how it is interpreted and applied.

Re:Courts should apply the law (1)

AncientPC (951874) | about 7 years ago | (#19864615)

I'm not an expert of law, I'm just taking a business law class at the moment.

One of the first things we learned is the majority of laws actually come from judges in the form of common law [wikipedia.org] where judges establish a precedent from a case (only in UK, US, and a few ex-British colonies, other nations have a civil legal system [wikipedia.org] ). In the future, judges may interpret case circumstances and subtlety alter precedent to match current standards but rarely overturn it.

Re:Courts should apply the law (1)

BVis (267028) | about 7 years ago | (#19860153)

Juries apply the law, based on evidence presented by the two parties and instructions from the presiding judge. Judges exist to decide how the law applies to the matter at hand, and provide clarification for the jury composed of laypersons. This in and of itself requires interpretation, as very frequently law is not black and white, or two laws may conflict, or there is a question of whose rights supersede the rights of others.

Law isn't math or physics. There very frequently is no "right" or "wrong", just a matter of perspective. Judges are there to provide that perspective. This almost always requires interpretation, right or wrong.

Re:Courts should apply the law (1)

Reziac (43301) | about 7 years ago | (#19860491)

There is a hideous irony between your post and your sig...

As someone once put it, "A jury consists of 12 people who are too stupid to get out of jury duty". :(

Re:Courts should apply the law (5, Insightful)

fredklein (532096) | about 7 years ago | (#19861067)

The first time I was summoned to jury duty, I though 'hey, way to get paid for doing nothing!', and I was right. Three days sitting, reading a book, waiting to be called. Cool.

Second time, I got put on a case. To say I 'quickly became dis-enamored with the legal system' would be like saying 'upon exposure to heat, the gasoline rapidly oxidized'. True, but a major understatement.

It was a civil case, 6 jurors. A woman driving a mini-van backed into a pedestrian, knocking him down, breaking his collarbone. I could go on for hours describing the details, but the relevant facts are:

1) the man admited to leaving the crosswalk and walking diagonally down the road
2) the man's statements contradicted themselves, to the point he comitted perjury
3) In my opinion, the woman acted reasonably. She checked her side mirror, rear miror, and them turned her upper body and head so she could look out the rear window of the mini-van as she reversed. The fact that the man was in the middle of the block, in the middle of the street, in her blind spot, was not her fault.
4) the man was asking for over a half-million dollars, just for 'pain and suffering'.

Long story short, it was my opinion that, since the woman acted reasonably, and the man was the one who left the crosswalk (and later lied under oath), she owed him nothing. Unfortunately, the other 5 jurors did not see it that way. This was New York, a city where there are more pedestrians than drivers. I could practically see the $-signs in people eyes. I actually had one juror say 'If you got hit by a car, wouldn't you want to get compensated?' I replied 'I wouldn't expect money if I was the one at fault."

Since a civil case does not need a unanimous verdict, in the end we found for the plaintiff. Now the matter of how much came into play. The "ammount to adaquately compensate him for his losses" was determined (by the other 5) to be around $130,000. They knocked off 35% because they magnanamously agreed it was 'partly his fault' that he jay-walked behind a moving vehicle. That brought the award to abotu $100,000. Then one particularly bright juror piped up with thas shocked: "...but his lawyer will take 1/3, wo we have to give him more", like it's our job to pay the mans lawyer!! We didn't know the man's legal fees. Heck, the laywer could have been a friend doing it for free, for all we knew.

And then something happened that... put it all in perspective. Soemthing that made me realize why the jury system in this country, while it was no doubt a good idea when it was created, is no longer wise.

They decided to give him $133,000.

Now, dear reader, please take a moment to do the math. The jurors wanted to award the men 'X', such that when 1/3X was removed, the man ended up with $100,000.
100,000 = X - 1/3X
100,000 = 2/3X
3/2 * 100,000 = X
150,000 = x

I was doing this in 5th grade, but these MORONS couldn't even get this SIMPLE math right. I tried to correct tham. Twice. Then I shut up, since their error lowered the award I thought should be $0 anyway.

.

Don't even get me started on my 3rd jury duty. Undercover Cop had audio and video of the defendant selling him drugs on 6 out of 7 occasions (the first time they weren't recording as the UC was just supposed to meet the guy, but the guy was so eager to sell, he sold to the UC that time too.) They have video of him walking away counting the money, smiling. The defense ADMITTED the defendant handed over drugs for money on each occasion. Their only defense? 'AGENCY'- the man wasn't 'selling' drugs to the UC, he was 'purchasing drugs FOR the UC', as his 'agent'. Of course, the defendant seem to already have the drugs the UC wanted on hand, and the video of him counting the money, smiling, implies he was making a profit (making a profit from either side means he no longer met the legal definition of an 'agent'). Oh- and he'd been to jail 2 time before for... you guessed it, dealing drugs.
There was one minor marijuana charge we all threw out as that was agency- the UC handed him some money and asked him to walk over to the dealer and get some pot. But on the other 7 charges, we were hung. 9 of us said 'Guilty, all counts', one person said 'Guilty', except for the first count (the one with no video tape), but the other two juros insisted on saying 'Not Guilty' for ALL counts. They outright REFUSED to discuss why they 'beleived' he was not guilty. When the rest of attempted to discuss their reasoning, we heard every excuse itnhe book from one or the other of them- 'He was set up', 'It's his Third Strike, and I don't want to be responsible for sendignhim to prison for life', 'I don' tbeleive the Uncercover cop', 'I beleive the defense- it was Agency'. We discovered we were hung the first day, and informed the judge of that, but he sent us back to 'deliberate' more. It wasn't until the next WEEK he accepted we were hung.

So, because two people refused to convict a clearly guilty man, a drug dealer was let back out on the streets. Wonderful. They Jury System in action.

Oh- funny thing- the two hold-outs? They were the same race as the defendant.

.

So, as you can tell, I'm not too enamored of the jury system. It places people who don't even have 5th grade mathmatical skills in charge of making financial decisions that affect other people's lives. And it lets racist people let their own kind go free.

Re:Courts should apply the law (2, Insightful)

Kattspya (994189) | about 7 years ago | (#19862007)

The last example you put forth is an example of the jury system working not the opposite. Drug laws suck for all intents and purposes. They do nothing good and have major negative effects. Being able to fuck over a law that is unjust as a juror can be a good thing. And in this case it was.

Re:Courts should apply the law (1)

fredklein (532096) | about 7 years ago | (#19862353)

The last example you put forth is an example of the jury system working not the opposite. Drug laws suck for all intents and purposes.

Funny. That wasn't a reason the two hold-outs gave. If they DID give that reason, I could understand it, and make a counter-argument.

Actually, the whole reason the UnderCover cop ('UC') was sent to that neighborhood to find and bust drug dealers was CITIZEN COMPLAINTS. You see, drug dealers (and drug users) tend to break other laws as well. They hang out on the street corners, bothering passers-by, playing loud music, annoying the neighbors.

Perhaps, if drug laws were repealed, and drug dealing was 'legitimized' and took place in stores (like alcohol and cigarettes, or prescription drugs), then the situation would be different. 'Business' would happen in retail areas, not on street corners. Drug-gang related shootings would be zero. (When was the last time the 'CVS Pharm crew' shot up a Rite-Aid?) Drug prices would no longer be astromonical (they are high because selling is illegal and risky. Higher prices compensate for the higher risk.)

But all this is fantasy. Drugs (you know what I mean. Illegal Drugs) are NOT legal. Drugs are illegal. And so, their sale and use causes problems. Society has a Right, no- a Duty- to try to eliminate these problems.

Being able to fuck over a law that is unjust

It is "unjust" to want to not be harrassed? It is "unjust" to not want criminals hanging around your neighborhood? It is "unjust" to want criminals to be dealt with??

I'll tell you what I wish I had told the hold-outs: "I hope you have a problem with drug dealers in your neightborhood. I hope you call the cops. I hope the dealer(s) gets arrested, put on trial, found Not Guilty, and put right back out on the streets by a juror just like you .

And when that dealer busts in your door looking for 'who done ratted me out', maybe, just maybe, then you'll understand.

Re:Courts should apply the law (2, Insightful)

iminplaya (723125) | about 7 years ago | (#19862421)

...the other two juros insisted on saying 'Not Guilty' for ALL counts. They outright REFUSED to discuss why they 'beleived' he was not guilty.

Could have been a case of nullification. I will do the same thing in drug and adult prostitution cases, and over copyright violations. I will never send somebody to jail over what I consider bad and unjust law. Never.

Nullification -- good point (2, Insightful)

LandruBek (792512) | about 7 years ago | (#19862951)

Could have been a case of nullification.

That's a good point and I hope you get modded up. There's more than one way to read GP's experience: racism is one explanation, but subverting the ``war on drugs'' and ``three-strikes-you're-out'' rule is another. Lots of people think those two policies are unjust, perhaps unconstitutional. Why should a juror refrain from deconstructing the system a bit if the system is broken? This is one way that the judiciary gets to check-and-balance the other branches of government. To play by the book or not is a choice that is in the juror's hand; the juror has power. It's up to the juror to wield that power justly. I think that it's okay to wield that power, and that nullification is not a dirty word: just like presidents and governors have the power to pardon anyone, a jury has a comparable power to convict or acquit for one case. Of course the system frowns on nullification, and says it is wrong: but their voice is not the only one to listen to.

Likewise the GP's philosophy of carefully interpreting and applying the law, and playing within the system, is also defensible. That way enhances stability, protects the status quo, helps make the legal process predictable -- those all can be very, very good things. A totally unpredictable, unstable legal system does lots of harm. Playing by the book should be the norm. But when laws are unjust and the police are shady, it is naive to close your eyes and convict or acquit, saying, ``I was just playing by the rules.'' Whatever you choose to do, your choice is a political choice. Pretending that it isn't strengthens the status quo, which isn't automatically a good thing.

Melville churned through all this in Billy Budd, the popular novella.

Re:Nullification -- good point (1)

fredklein (532096) | about 7 years ago | (#19863417)

more than one way to read GP's experience: racism is one explanation, but subverting the ``war on drugs'' and ``three-strikes-you're-out'' rule is another.

Sorry. You weren't there. I was. These people wouldn't have known 'jury nullification' from 'habeus corpus'. And I don't just mean the technical legal definition. Neither of them so much as mentioned 'I don't like the law' or anything similar.
Again, I was there. There was plenty that happened that I am not telling you. What they said, how they said it. Attitudes. Body language. Tonal inflections. Etc.

It was racism.

But when laws are unjust and the police are shady,

There was no evidence that "the police were shady" in this case. The one juror who said 'not guilty' to the first charge (for which there was no video/audio tape), implied that there was something 'fishy' about it not being recorded. But there was a simple explanation: the UC was not expecting to buy that day, just to meet the dealer. The fact the defendant was so eager to sell was unforeseen. Other than that, there was absolutely nothing that could even be considered "shady".

Don't get me wrong, I'm no fan of the police. I nit-pick every case I hear of where there was even the possibility of misconduct. For instance, I think that the cops involved in the UCLA Tasering case should be thrown in jail for tasering a restrained man multiple times. But there was nothing 'wrong' about the evidence or testimony in my case.

Re:Courts should apply the law (1)

fredklein (532096) | about 7 years ago | (#19863337)

Could have been a case of nullification.

No.

Like I said, when questioned on WHY they were saying 'not guilty', they did not answer, but became very defensive. "I can say Not Guilty, it's my right, and you can't make me change". Once that was said, we went back to the judge with a notification of a hung jury. He refused to accept that and sent us back for several more days of deliberation. During those days, as we discussed and re-discussed, and re-re-discussed the evidence, the other statements I mentioned in my original post came out. They were shot down, one by one:

'He was set up'
Um, how? He's handing drugs to a cop, and accepting money. How can you 'set up' a situation like that?? besides, the Defense ADMITTED he handed over drugs for money.

'It's his Third Strike, and I don't want to be responsible for sending him to prison for life'
Um, sentencing is not our call. We just determine Guilt.

'I don't beleive the UncerCover cop'
Um, what of the HOURS of video and audio tape? Don't beleive that, too? What of the defense, again, ADMITTING the facts of the case??

'I beleive the defense- it was Agency'
This we fought hard about. To be a legal 'agent', the person CANNOT profit from the situation. If they gain anything (make money) from the dealer, they are working for the dealer, and are guilty of being a dealer. If they gain anything (make money) off the buyer, they are working for the buyer, and are guilty of BUYING drugs AND selling them for profit: ie, being a dealer. Only if they do not profit can they be an 'Agent'.
There was videotape of the defendant walking away from the deal(s) counting his money, smiling. He didn't go to the corner and hand over the money to 'the real dealer' he went to 'as a favor' to the UC. He walked away with the money. He profited. He was not an agent. Period. But the two hold-outs would not admit this. They would admit to each of the facts, but not put them together.

Never once was the point 'I don't agree with the law' brought up. It was a blatant case of racism.

I will never send somebody to jail over what I consider bad and unjust law. Never.


Please tell us where you live. Then we can send all the streeet-corner hookers and drug dealers to hang out outside YOUR house. Or tell us what Intellectual Property you have created, so we can all make free copies of it, denying you any profit.

I have a feeling you might change your mind....

Re:Courts should apply the law (1)

iminplaya (723125) | about 7 years ago | (#19864353)

Please tell us where you live. Then we can send all the streeet-corner hookers and drug dealers to hang out outside YOUR house. Or tell us what Intellectual Property you have created, so we can all make free copies of it, denying you any profit.

If they have a better product than the ones that are already here, they are more than welcome. Otherwise they'll be broke and move on. Free market at its best. Survival if the fittest and all that. The law made them into criminals, not their business. If it was legal they would be regular taxpayers like the rest of us. As for the IP, I have already been paid and have moved on. You will have to deal with the people who claim exclusivity over it. Any attempts at plagiarism will be frustrated by my possession and display of the originals. IP creators should have no special privileges that other lines of work don't enjoy. I have already discussed these points ad-nauseum. I guess you weren't there.

Like I said, I won't convict over these matters, period. I can only hope that more people will stand up for their rights and get these laws off the books.

Re:Courts should apply the law (1)

fredklein (532096) | about 7 years ago | (#19864565)

If they have a better product than the ones that are already here, they are more than welcome. Otherwise they'll be broke and move on. Free market at its best.

Be sure to tell your neighbors who object to your little crack house that it's 'free market at its best'. That'll make them feel better about the lower property values, increased crime, and finding drugged out hos passed out on their front lawns.

The law made them into criminals, not their business.

Perhaps. I prefer to look at what makes them... unacceptable.

Their hanging out on street corners, harassing people, and causing trouble is what makes them unacceptable. And why are they hanging out on street corners, harassing people? Because they are dealing/using drugs.

I agree, IF they were operating like retail establishments, there would be less opposition to them. But they are not. They are breaking the Law. In fact, usually more than one law. This makes them a danger to Society, and Society is right to remove the offenders.

If it was legal they would be regular taxpayers like the rest of us.

Actually, no. If selling [illegal] drugs was legal, I'm sure there would be plenty of rules and regulations concerning the quality and quantiy of drugs sold. For instance, it is legal for Americans to brew beer... up to 100 gallons per person in the household. An ounce more than that? Illegal. It's also illegal for people to distill alcohol (to drink- you can apply to make booze "for non-beverage purposes for fuel use only"). A more... mundane example is the list of rules and regulation regarding a food service business- standards of cleanliness, inspections, etc.

Anyway, these rules and regulations would drive out most of the 'casual' drug producers. And big corporations (who already meet guidelines, because they already produce prescription drugs) would undercut any who remained. The street-corner dealer would have to turn to other methods of making money. Like mugging, robbing, 'protection' rackets, etc.

As for the IP, I have already been paid...

No, you haven't been- everyone copied your idea without paying you, remember?? The very fact you have been paid means others have NOT been copying your ideas for free.

You will have to deal with the people who claim exclusivity over it.

Hard to get paid for something unless it is at least a little bit exclusive.

Re:Courts should apply the law (1)

Elemenope (905108) | about 7 years ago | (#19860507)

That the truth is not perceptible or discernible does not by itself imply that the truth does not exist. I think it a large leap from 'laws require interpretations because there are apparent ambiguities in how to apply them' to 'there is no one correct way to interpret a law'. That the calculus of competing interests, rights, and persons is too subtle for human beings to divine a definitive understanding of how it ought to be applied is simply a measure of human limitations, and not necessarily evidence of relativity in fact.

Courts apply the law, not the jury (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19861295)

>
The judge does that, it's his area.
The jury takes care of the "who's telling the truth" bit.

Re:Courts apply the law, not the jury (1)

calyphus (646665) | about 7 years ago | (#19864265)

Juries are part of the courts. When one becomes a juror, one becomes a part of the judiciary.

What the jury does is determine if the law, as it is defined for them by the judge, is applicable. The judge interprets the law for them, through instructions. and directs them to determine if it applies. The jury determines if the evidence presented supports applying the law.

Neither the judge nor jury applies the law, the executive branch does through its enforcement agents (police and corrections).

IANAL, I just paid attention in civics class and have read the constitution.

Unlike U WA (2, Interesting)

Com2Kid (142006) | about 7 years ago | (#19859613)

UW had to give in so easily why now...?

Re:Unlike U WA (4, Insightful)

NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) | about 7 years ago | (#19859663)

UW had to give in so easily why now...?
Because they were lazy and cowardly. Had they lifted a finger to fight it, they would have knocked the RIAA out of the box.

If I was a parent of a UW student I'd be mad.

Re:Unlike U WA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19861231)

If I was a parent of a UW student I'd be mad.

Ummm . . . aren't university students adults? What do their parents have to do with anything?

Re:Unlike U WA (1)

iminplaya (723125) | about 7 years ago | (#19862443)

What do their parents have to do with anything?

Uh...tuition?

Re:Unlike U WA (1)

JoshuaDFranklin (147726) | about 7 years ago | (#19861503)

I think UW made the wrong decision, but in their defense they're not releasing any student information, just forwarding the settlement letters. If the RIAA did sue and ask for the info, they very well might fight it.

Re:Unlike U WA (1)

NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) | about 7 years ago | (#19863071)

I think UW made the wrong decision, but in their defense they're not releasing any student information, just forwarding the settlement letters. If the RIAA did sue and ask for the info, they very well might fight it.
The RIAA undoubtedly has sued, and has asked the judge for an ex parte order, and UW has probably done absolutely nothing to make sure the students had notice and an opportunity to oppose the motion, and UW has probably done absolutely nothing to bring to the judge's attention the legal impropriety of the RIAA's actions. And probably the judge won't be as alert as Judges Garcia and Kelley.

I hope I'm wrong.

Re:Unlike U WA (4, Insightful)

Kazoo the Clown (644526) | about 7 years ago | (#19859733)

Actually, W & M likely would have caved in as well, but they didn't have to because the judge caught it before it came to that...

Re:Unlike U WA (1, Interesting)

NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) | about 7 years ago | (#19859773)

Actually, W & M likely would have caved in as well, but they didn't have to because the judge caught it before it came to that...
You may be right, Kazoo. We'll never know.

But thank goodness for an alert judge, who actually read the law.

Re:Unlike U WA (3, Interesting)

ari_j (90255) | about 7 years ago | (#19859983)

W&M has a tendency to cave in, such as to the NCAA regarding the use of Indian logos and the recent temporary removal (until deep-pocket alumni demanded its return) of a cross from the on-campus Wren Chapel (for those unaware, the Christopher Wren Building is the oldest building in continuous academic use in the United States). This motion may have been decided differently had W&M been given the opportunity to be heard. ;)

Unlike liberals. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19861223)

"W&M has a tendency to cave in, such as to the NCAA regarding the use of Indian logos and the recent temporary removal (until deep-pocket alumni demanded its return) of a cross from the on-campus [emphasis mine]"

And yet strangely most of slashdot remains silent.

Re:Unlike liberals. (1)

ari_j (90255) | about 7 years ago | (#19861459)

You are almost certainly speaking from an ignorance of the facts and history involved. Read a few books on it and come back.

Re:Unlike U WA (1)

moosesocks (264553) | about 7 years ago | (#19864179)

W&M's been the subject of a pretty vicious smear campaign by a group of anonymous neo-cons. (Newt Gingrich's office and The Collegiate Network [wikipedia.org] have funded these attacks, and have given scholarships to students who have "come out" against the school)

There was indeed a cross in the wren building that got removed this past year, as it was a state-owned building that wasn't explicitly used for religious purposes. The cross was NOT historically significant, and there were no records showing that there even was a cross in the room prior to 1940.

As a result of the public outcry that resulted from this decision, the president revised the policy so that the cross would be displayed upon request, on Sundays, and other religious holidays. He also appointed a committee of religion and public policy scholars, and gave them the authority to make a permanent policy as they saw fit. It was hardly "caving".

The NCAA issue was also long and drawn out across many years. After we lost a number of appeals to the NCAA, it was clear that a lengthy and expensive court battle would be our only shot at keeping our logo without being thrown out of the NCAA. Being a cash-strapped state school with an admittedly unimpressive athletic program, we made a compromise, where we kept our team in exchange for making a minor change to our logo.

Believe me. The NCAA and Wren Cross petitioners are not at all popular with students at W&M, and it's pretty well understood why the school made the decision it did.

Re:Unlike U WA (1)

ari_j (90255) | about 7 years ago | (#19864285)

I'm glad someone from the main campus chimed in. However, with the cross thing, you'll note that all of the actual thinking took place after what at least appeared to be swift kowtowing. If it wasn't caving, it sure went out of its way to look that way. The same is the case with the feathers. Other small (specifically, less than 1/5 of the endowment of W&M) state schools have taken the NCAA to court on much more contentious issues. I happen to agree with the decision on this one - it's not worth taking those two feathers to court - but that doesn't change how it looks to those on the outside.

Regardless of all that, though, let's get back to the point: Do you really think that W&M would have resisted such subpoenas if it had been given a chance?

Re:Unlike U WA (1)

moosesocks (264553) | about 7 years ago | (#19864869)

Actually, I've talked with the head of IT, and was told that the (un)official policy is to ignore any requests from the RIAA that could potentially incriminate students, unless they're in the form of a legal subpoena.

I believe they've also contacted students who frequently come up in the lists of IP addresses that are requested by the RIAA, asking them to lay off the filesharing, although I've never heard this from any sort of official source...

WM has, however, honored non-subpoena requests from NBC, which asked the school to forward letters to the students in question, stating something to the effect of "Please stop downloading our shows, as it undermines our business. If you refrain from this activity in the future, no further action will be taken against you, as we are not in the business of suing helpless college students."

W&M's IT people have been remarkably good at responsibly protecting students, considering that they're fairly incompetent in most other areas. NBC's policy strikes me as being one of the only reasonable/ethical attempts to curb piracy that I've heard of.

Re:Unlike U WA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19860325)

Have some judges been incorrectly approving these ex parte subpoenas for the RIAA? If so, then perhaps a list of them should be compiled, their actions made LOUDLY public, motions filed to vacate the subpoenas and movements to have these judges removed. The last should improve other judges reading skills.

If such subpoenas are presented to colleges and ISPs they should be able to get them vacated on those grounds?

Re:Unlike U WA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19860251)

It is very possible that W&M may have caved. Consider, though, that it has a strong law program that is especially know for its constitutional law studies. I have a feeling that at least one of the students or teachers would speak up once they found out what was going on.

Re:Unlike U WA (1)

denebian devil (944045) | about 7 years ago | (#19860689)

UW didn't "cave," at least not yet. They forwarded RIAA settlement letters to students, but specifically said that they were not forwarding the students' information on to the RIAA.

Re:Unlike U WA (1)

NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) | about 7 years ago | (#19863029)

UW didn't "cave," at least not yet. They forwarded RIAA settlement letters to students, but specifically said that they were not forwarding the students' information on to the RIAA.
Sure they're not going to turn over the information to the RIAA without a court order. But if they do nothing, and the judge in Washington isn't as alert as Judges Kelley and Garcia have been, the order will be granted ex parte. That's why I'm asking university administrators and legal counsel to please wake up and protect their students' due process rights [blogspot.com] .

Re:Unlike U WA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19863095)

Again... they did not "give in". They FORWARDED MAIL. People bashing UW and Purdue don't even know the story. They forwarded the mail to the students. They gave no information to the RIAA.

Higher Ed Cowards (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19863113)

Given the resources they have at their disposal, and given their ostensible reasons for existing, we'd all like to imagine that colleges/universities will stand and fight for truth and justice. The truth is, college and university administration officials generally have no interest in RIAA tactics. They only thing they really care about is money and covering their ass. I know this directly. If you hold your breath waiting for a college or university to buck up and fight the RIAA you'll die.

Other RIAA shenanigans (3, Funny)

transporter_ii (986545) | about 7 years ago | (#19860039)

Stung by criticism that it was utilizing unlicensed private investigators in order to track down alleged online copyright violators, the RIAA has admitted to "improperly obtaining" user data, and in an unusual near-apology, vowed to clean up its act. "It is time to face the music. We must stop the pursuit of personal destruction and the prying into private lives and get on with our national life. Our country has been distracted by this matter for too long, and I take my responsibility for my part in all of this. That is all I can do," said Mitch Bainwol, Chairman and CEO of the RIAA. Bainwole went on to say, "We have important work to do -- real pirated CDs to seize, real problems to solve, real security matters to face. I now ask you to turn away from the spectacle of the past eighteen months, to repair the fabric of our national discourse, and to return our attention to all the challenges and all the promise of upcoming American entertainment that will be brought to you by RIAA members.

On the same day, the RIAA also announced new software it would make available as a free download called riaaBuddy.

riaaBuddy is an on-screen "intelligent software agent" created by the RIAA, and based upon Microsoft Agent [wikipedia.org] technology. The goal of the program is to help users enrich their online musical experience as they discover digital music together with the included "riaaBuddy," which is an animated, purple Sheryl Crow. Users can interact with Sheryl by asking her questions, get recommendations on new music released by RIAA artist, as well as be politely informed when unapproved websites are loaded.

Other features include, an integrated download tracker, music-related themes, desktops, screen savers, and cute, animated emoticons, bearing a resemblance to top-selling RIAA artists. Also included is a desktop search utility that indexes a hard drive's contents in order to allow the user to easily perform searches.

While initial response to the program has been positive, a few early users complain that the program is buggy. The purple Sheryl Crow is said to only be able to sing the song Daisy Bell. "The program keeps changing my home page to a crappy RIAA home page," said one teenager who wished to remain anonymous out of fear of a RIAA-sponsored lawsuit. There have also been complaints of an increase in pop-up advertising.

Re:Other RIAA shenanigans (1)

moderatorrater (1095745) | about 7 years ago | (#19860115)

That brings back memories. I remember being in my high school computer lab in a computer science class when someone installed bonzai buddy. The entire class pointed and laughed at him for a solid 15 minutes.

Re:Other RIAA shenanigans (1)

trudyscousin (258684) | about 7 years ago | (#19861429)

"...when someone installed bonzai buddy."

Having an anthropomorphic miniature Japanese tree on his screen would have been at least bizarre, if not funny.

No! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19860281)

I now ask you to turn away from the spectacle of the past eighteen months,

No! You have taken actions that caused great harm. You MUST be punished for them, and pay restitution for them. I see no reason whatsoever why I should simply forget the illegal and harmful things you have been doing, and then continue to abide your harmful antics.

You do not deserve to escape justice.

Re:Other RIAA shenanigans (1)

Cynical Rich (1128067) | about 7 years ago | (#19860937)

You had me going for a moment. Bill Clinton's quote regarding Monica Lewinsky...

It is time to stop the pursuit of personal destruction and the prying into private lives and get on with our national life. Our country has been distracted by this matter for too long, and I take my responsibility for my part in all of this. That is all I can do. Now it is time-in fact, it is past time-to move on. We have important work to do-real opportunities to seize, real problems to solve, real security matters to face.

http://www.law.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/c linton/clintonstatements.html [umkc.edu]

Whoa...RIAA-less lawyers: (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19860191)

If they were enormously soft and furry...
I'd lay them down by the fire,
and caress their womanly man-butts!!!!

WooHoo!!! Partee!!!!!

if only (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19860875)

If only the University of Washington would step up and stop being such pussies. Bastards.

Gotta love Slashdot. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19860987)

So today we're FOR the law? I guess only when it's convenient. That's the Slashdot way.

Re:Gotta love Slashdot. (2, Insightful)

trewornan (608722) | about 7 years ago | (#19861551)

Some laws are good and some laws are bad. Sometimes the law is applied properly and sometimes it's not. Some judges are honest and some are corrupt.

For once an honest judge applied a good law properly - so today we're for the law, that's the righteous way.

No ANTI-RIAssA (1)

9Nails (634052) | about 7 years ago | (#19864595)

We're not for the law. We're more in favor of the opposition to the RIAssA's tactics of shotgun extortion. Their lawyers fire blasts in the general direction of IP Addresses and hit children, grand parents, and other innocents. The Recording Industry Ass. of America is right there in the same neighborhood as 419 scammers and pill spammers. They no longer serve purpose other than to flaunt their Monopoly.

Great and all, but let's not delude ourselves (1)

bconway (63464) | about 7 years ago | (#19861099)

While everyone can agree that it's wrong for the RIAA to prosecute people who do not have the means to commit copyright infringement, let's not forget that it's still against the law when it happens, and it does happen, especially in university network settings. Slashdot is, in general, a technical and smart crowd, let's not pull the wool over our own eyes. It just makes us look foolish.

Re:Great and all, but let's not delude ourselves (1)

Ohreally_factor (593551) | about 7 years ago | (#19861887)

That still doesn't give the RIAA the right to abuse and game the legal system.

Re:Great and all, but let's not delude ourselves (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | about 7 years ago | (#19863343)

I do agree that copyright infringement is illegal but the RIAA has committed a few crimes of it's own. Let's face it the entire entertainment community feels that they are above the law. I will worry about people downloading music after there is a investigation into the accounting practices of the music and movie industries. Followed by an investigation into the use and actually supplying of illegal drugs.
Will never happen but I would love to see it.

Re:Great and all, but let's not delude ourselves (2, Insightful)

LouisJBouchard (316266) | about 7 years ago | (#19863531)

I will agree with you that file sharing is illegal and that file sharing amounts to theft and that it occurs on college networks.

HOWEVER

You do not fight crime by committing a crime yourself. You do not shoot a jaywalker that walked in front of your car forcing you to slow down (hell, you should not even run them over). However, the RIAA feels that since the defendants in their opinion were committing a crime, they do not have to follow the process designed to make sure that the defendant is truly guilty.

They need to follow the processes of the court system and stop with the extortion letters (which are not settlements because you are not settling with the individual record companies) and stop with the selective enforcement. They also need to have all parties involved in the court cases rather than surprise people with a lawsuit that could have been avoided. They also need to follow legal precedent and make sure that their legal theories stand the test of time (secondary liability comes to mind). Finally, if the defendant decides to fight the charges, the RIAA/record companies should see the process the whole way through, or declare that the defendant is not guilty if discovery shows that to be true (rather than try to dismiss the case as if it never happened).

Simply put, one side committing a crime does not allow the other side free reign on that person.
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