Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

RIAA Trying To Avoid a Jury Trial

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the judges-are-friendlier dept.

The Courts 183

Joe Elliot writes "Faced with a jury trial set to begin on October 1, the RIAA has filed a motion for summary adjudication of specific facts: that the RIAA owns the copyrights to the songs in a file-sharing case; that the registration is proper; and that the defendant wasn't authorized to copy or distribute the recordings. If the judge rules in their favor, Ars notes that it may turn into a Novell v SCO situation where the only thing left to be decided are the damages. There are some significant problems with the copyright registrations — they don't match up. 'Thomas argues that since she lacks the financial means to conduct a thorough examination of the ownership history (e.g., track the ownership of "Hysteria" from Mercury to UMG) for the songs she is accused of infringing the copyright to, her only opportunity to determine their true ownership is either via discovery or cross-examination at trial.' Ars also notes that the RIAA's biggest fear is of losing a case. 'A loss at trial would be catastrophic for the RIAA. It would give other defense attorneys a winning template while exposing the weaknesses of the RIAA's arguments. It would also prove costly from a financial standpoint, as the RIAA would have to foot the legal expenses for both itself and the defendant. Most of all, it would set an unwelcomed precedent: over 20,000 lawsuits filed and the RIAA loses the first one to go to a jury.'"

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Good story (4, Informative)

NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) | more than 7 years ago | (#20551353)

Good story by Ars Technica.

Re:Good story (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20551373)

And the award for understatement of the year goes to...

It would give other defense attorneys a winning template while exposing the weaknesses of the RIAA's arguments. It would also prove costly from a financial standpoint, as the RIAA would have to foot the legal expenses for both itself and the defendant.


Hmm, destruction of your whole business model, financially costly? Really?

Re:Good story (1)

someone1234 (830754) | more than 7 years ago | (#20552835)

A single lost case won't destroy their business model, like for SCO.
But surely would make future litigation more costly.

Re:Good story (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20552993)

Hmm, destruction of your whole business model, financially costly? Really?

Not if your business model is fatally flawed and/or obsolete.

The fact is that the labels' current business model is untenable. Fifty years ago it took LOTS of money to make a record. Today it only takes a couple thousand; just about every local band [thestationmusic.com] (link is to friends of mine) in Springfield has at least one CD recorded in a studio and professionally duplicated.

They don't HAVE to sell a million to make a profit - the things only cost a buck or two apiece, anything above that is profit, so long as they're sold at the bands' shows.

The RIAA labels' only current hold on music is that they still control radio and empty-v. THAT is why they killed internet radio and are trying to kill P2P - they can't control it and keep the indies off. These two outlets are the indies' meal tickets and the labels' worst nightmare.

If you're trying to find, say, a live version of The Station's song The Fog [kuro5hin.org] on Kazaa (say someone told you about them), you're likely to find a Radiohead song by the same name, and get yourself sued. But the labels' fear is that you'll be looking for Radiohead's tune and find The Station by mistake. You buy their two CDs (or downloads from iTunes) and you no longer have the money you spent on those two CDs and now can afford one less RIAA CD, since they cost twice as much as most indie CDs sold as shows.

This isn't about "piracy", it's about destroying the competetion.

-mcgrew [mcgrew.info]

Re:Good story (1)

hardburlyboogerman (161244) | more than 7 years ago | (#20551677)

BY all means go to trial.That way,The RIAA finally get their ass ripped to shreds in court and puts an end to the music nazis.
BTW,excellent article.

Re:Good story (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20552023)

BTW,excellent article.
You think that just blockquoting a section of the news item with no attribution somehow constitutes a good article? I pity you. The bloody thing doesn't even mention which court case this is about! What are you thinking? Seriously.

Re:Good story (1)

Dimentox (678813) | more than 7 years ago | (#20551797)

Whats really cool is if they get a group of "Peers" like they are supposed to do and this guy happens to be a slashdotter, could you imagine a jury of slashdotters in this case? I hope they do go to court and i hope they have people like us on the jury. Its about time the RIAA stop extorting money and actually try to rework their business model. The thing with the riaa is we dont need them any more. In this day in age we have digital recording studios at home. They are like vicious animals trying to stay alive. Their actions show their desperation.

Re:Good story (2, Insightful)

stickystyle (799509) | more than 7 years ago | (#20552171)

Yes, lynch mob juries are always a good thing. :-/

Re:Good story (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20552227)

I agree with what you're saying, but wouldn't that be grounds for a re-trial/mistrial or at least getting the juror removed from the jury? I thought jurors were supposed to be impartial and should decide a verdict based on the merits of the arguments.

However, being a slashdotter, you'd know that most of the evidence is bullshit and does not prove who infringed the copyright in most cases.

Awww.. now my brain hurts.

Re:Good story (1)

Mikkeles (698461) | more than 7 years ago | (#20552779)

'Whats really cool is if they get a group of "Peers" like they are supposed to do ...'

I thought the peerage [wikipedia.org] had been eliminated in the USA!

Re:Good story (5, Funny)

Andrewkov (140579) | more than 7 years ago | (#20553489)

Yeah, I can imagine how this would go:

Judge: Now we will hear comments from the jurors..
Juror #7: (jumps to feet) FIRST POST!!!!
Juror #2: Powned!
Juror #5: Common guys, -1, off topic.
Juror #12: In Soviet Russia, first post owns you!
Juror #2 snickers ...

MOD parent up. +1 funn y (1)

Dimentox (678813) | more than 7 years ago | (#20553631)

Thats really funny.. Its a first that a slash dot post got a chuckle out of me..

Re:Good story (3, Interesting)

Cowclops (630818) | more than 7 years ago | (#20552239)

Ray Beckerman has the first post on a legal topic and it gets modded down as redundant? It may not be insightful enough to warrant being modded up... but modding an early post by an expert on the subject as redundant is just stupid. Good thing for metamodding.

To make this comment not a gripe in whole, it does seem quite possible that the RIAA could avoid the trial by jury silver bullet in this case, if the defendant was in fact file sharing and they have "good" proof. Not all the defendants are dead, children, or too old to own/know how to use a computer.

Still, the writing is on the wall. They won't get away with extortion forever.

Re:Good story (1)

xtracto (837672) | more than 7 years ago | (#20553405)

But the fact is that, when you are metamodding you will only likely see:

"good story by ars technica"

Moded as: redundant.

The comment by itself certainly does not provide any insight and is no interesting.

Re:Good story (3, Insightful)

NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) | more than 7 years ago | (#20553987)

But the fact is that, when you are metamodding you will only likely see: "good story by ars technica" Moded as: redundant. The comment by itself certainly does not provide any insight and is no interesting.
I admit it was an uninteresting comment. I was really just kind of trying to tell people I was going to be reading this thread, and couldn't resist the opportunity to put in the first comment.

But "redundant" is the wrong terminology; if it's the first post it couldn't be redundant.

But if I were the moderator I might have done the same thing -- there are only 4 negative moderation choices, "Troll" "Flamebait" "Redundant" and "Offtopic", and the comment was really none of those.

So I think, given the limited choices, the moderator did the right thing and I do not fault him or her in any way, even if it did hurt my feelings.

Re:Good story (4, Insightful)

NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) | more than 7 years ago | (#20553855)

Ray Beckerman has the first post on a legal topic and it gets modded down as redundant? It may not be insightful enough to warrant being modded up... but modding an early post by an expert on the subject as redundant is just stupid. Good thing for metamodding. To make this comment not a gripe in whole, it does seem quite possible that the RIAA could avoid the trial by jury silver bullet in this case, if the defendant was in fact file sharing and they have "good" proof. Not all the defendants are dead, children, or too old to own/know how to use a computer. Still, the writing is on the wall. They won't get away with extortion forever.
Thanks, Cowclops. I guess I brought it on myself, though. I was shocked that I happened to go to Slashdot, find a post linking to a story I'd just read last night, and find that the story just went "online". giving me probably the first chance I've had to be the first commenter. Unfortunately, I couldn't think of anything pithy to say, or any important links to throw in, since Eric's Ars Technica story had already linked to my story linking the court documents.... so I jumped in and said the only thing I could think of to say at that time in the morning (I hadn't had breakfast yet)....which was that it was a good story. So I deserved what I got. Meanwhile, as for the RIAA.... they will NEVER go to a jury trial in any of these cases. The only reason there is a jury trial in civil cases is that there are CONTESTED issues of fact. There is no contested issue of fact that the RIAA will ever win. I would love to see this case get tried and see them get their butts handed to them, but they are cowards and will never go that route. If they can't get "summary adjudication" -- which I predict they can't because I think the judge is much too smart for that -- they will move to voluntarily dismiss their own case, as they did in Capitol v. Foster, Interscope v. Leadbetter, Priority Records v. Candy Chan, Elektra v. Santangelo, and others.

Just for the record, I am too... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20551395)

Just so everyone knows... I, too, am trying to avoid a jury trial. Heck, I'm trying to avoid ANY trial. Heck, I'm on the run from the police. Heck, I haven't done anything and I'm on the run. That is just how fscked up the justice system is.... I'm scared and I haven't done anything wrong.

Re:Just for the record, I am too... (0, Offtopic)

PhxBlue (562201) | more than 7 years ago | (#20551455)

What's fscked up about the justice system is that you probably have done something wrong; you just don't know what. And alternately, that you don't have to do something wrong to be arrested, tried and convicted. Or just, y'know, detained indefinitely.

Re:Just for the record, I am too... (3, Insightful)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 7 years ago | (#20551619)

Sorry I don't buy it. I mean yeah, sure the RIAA probably does finger innocent folk. But it sounds like in this case she did have the files in question, just trying to find a loophole out of it. Anyone above the age of 10 should know that downloading music that you don't have permission to is wrong. Heck, I knew about software piracy when I was 6. (we're talking 1988 here).

Using the "I didn't know sneaking around on a P2P program and downloading copyrighted material from random people all over the world was wrong" defense is just lame.

Tom

Re:Just for the record, I am too... (4, Insightful)

gravos (912628) | more than 7 years ago | (#20551701)

It is wrong, that's true.

But the RIAA is not interested in teaching people the difference between wrong and right, they are interested in using the legal system to extract far more money than they deserve from them.

And that too is wrong. No one has the moral high ground here, but I think the RIAA is standing on lower ground, personally.

Re:Just for the record, I am too... (2, Funny)

vux984 (928602) | more than 7 years ago | (#20554283)

Pretty much.

Its a "You did $500 in unfair and illegal damages to us, an association of mega-corporations (and that's a high estimate). So we're going after you for $75,000 in unfair but legal damages to you, and that's not counting the stress, lost time at work, and other intangibles."

Re:Just for the record, I am too... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20551849)

downloading music that you don't have permission to is wrong.
No, it's just illegal. http://questioncopyright.org/ [questioncopyright.org]

Re:Just for the record, I am too... (1)

jamar0303 (896820) | more than 7 years ago | (#20552439)

Your post reminds me why I should enjoy my time in China to the fullest (as full as my hard drive will get, that is). Looks like there's a plus side to the Chinese internet.

Re:Just for the record, I am too... (5, Insightful)

R2.0 (532027) | more than 7 years ago | (#20552945)

"But it sounds like in this case she did have the files in question, just trying to find a loophole out of it."

It matters a great deal from a legal standpoint. If Universal doesn't actually own the copyrights to the material, then they have no standing to sue, regardless of what the defendant is alledged to have done. And given the history of the music business regarding copyright and royalty abuse with artists, it is a legitimate question to raise - if it is discovered that Universal never really took ownership of the copyright, then
a) the suit gets dismissed
b) someone elses lawyers start knocking on Universal's door, looking for "misdirected" royalties (maybe they won't be able to find their address, just like Stevie Nicks)
Of course, the suit could be re-filed by the actual copyright holder.

From a tactical standpoint, getting Universal's people up on a stand to walk a jury through a byzantine recording contract to explain just how it is that they own the copyright and are owed a kajillion dollars in damages when the original artist gets a pittance is almost certain to dispose a jury toward the defendant.

If we can bleat about "due process" and "competent defense" for murderer's, rapists, thugs, petty theives, and Gitmo detainess, surely this person deserves that same support?

Re:Just for the record, I am too... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20552969)

Anyone above the age of 10 should know that downloading music that you don't have permission to is wrong.
Nope, downloading files of anything is not wrong or illegal. Nor do you need permission either, unless the file is clearly designated as copyrighted. There is absolutely no proof that a downloaded file is copyrighted, until it is downloaded, and if the RIAA was tracking downloaded files it could only do so by uploading the files themselves, which would clearly be entrapment, not to mention hypocritical. Or they could themselves download the files from people who uploaded the files, which would CLEARLY establish the process of PROOF, that it is necessary to download FIRST in or order to establish copyright validity. Hence downloading is not illegal or wrong, though it might be "illegal" to maintain possession of copyrighted files you did not have permission to copy or didn't purchase.

Uploading copyrighted files is illegal, but there isn't a single person alive that does not upload and download ideas that they didn't create, whether the ideas are copyrighted or not.

Wasn't there a case of some bloke who named his vacation movies similar to an RIAA or MPAA copyrighted work, and received a lawsuit? Taking screen shots of file titles is not proof of anything. And such a possibility for similar titles of files being mistaken for copyrighted works should serve as a huge warning to the aggressive unchecked tactics of an out of control legal extortion racket.

There's no difference at all between recording something played on the radio, and "downloading" the same thing.

Re:Just for the record, I am too... (3, Interesting)

wytcld (179112) | more than 7 years ago | (#20553909)

Anyone above the age of 10 should know that downloading music that you don't have permission to is wrong.
Where's the bright line? Turning on the radio and hearing a song for free isn't wrong. Hearing musicians play in a park for free isn't wrong. Putting on a CD while visiting a friend's house isn't wrong. Sampling a CD at a kiosk in a record store isn't wrong. Recording a concert broadcast on TV to your Tivo or video tape isn't wrong.

There is nothing intuitive or obvious about the difference between all the ways to listen to music free about which the general consensus is "Not wrong" and the several ways the RIAA thinks are so wrong that you should have to go to court and pay thousands and thousands in fines and attorney fees. For someone far inside a particular culture's arbitrary distinctions, those distinctions can look to be plain, obvious, and simple. That's an illusion, a distortion of perspective. What the RIAA wants us to accept as "wrong" depends on a very fine legalistic parsing of differences.

Basically the RIAA wants to find a loophole among all the ways that listening to music is "not wrong" by which to make a few instances so wrong as to deserve massive punishment and rewards to them. To respond legalistically to the RIAA's legalistic claims is not wrong; it's response in kind. If being legalistic is wrong, the RIAA has no case to begin with.

Re:Just for the record, I am too... (1)

number11 (129686) | more than 7 years ago | (#20553959)

Using the "I didn't know sneaking around on a P2P program and downloading copyrighted material from random people all over the world was wrong" defense is just lame.

But they're not suing her for downloading. They're apparently suing her for "distributing" (not just "making available") it. And they haven't even proved that the files contained material they own the rights to, much less that she actually distributed them.

Heck, I have, er, I mean a friend has, files that nobody has ever actually downloaded. And a few files that might not be precisely what the filename suggests, too. There are a lot of misnamed files floating around on P2P (some mistakes, some generated by spammers).

Re:Just for the record, I am too... (1)

raptorv99 (790809) | more than 7 years ago | (#20551487)

I'm scared and I haven't done anything wrong
I am catholic also. xDante's Finest Shade And what, Socrates, is the food of the soul? Surely, I said, knowledge is the food of the soul.

Re:Just for the record, I am too... (1)

biocute (936687) | more than 7 years ago | (#20551895)

I'm scared and I haven't done anything wrong.

Trust me you're still okay. I'm scared that I haven't done anything wrong.

Isn't that their function? (1)

Interested Bystander (1106793) | more than 7 years ago | (#20552591)

Frightening people into a payoff even if they haven't done what they are accused of? Justice priced high enough that most individuals will just pay the protection money is how they operate. For most folks it is just easier and cheaper (win or loose) to pay off vs cost of lawyers, and lost wages from time missed from work, not to mention stress. If you win; Loose and the financial burden is even larger.

The rational response. (0, Troll)

Butisol (994224) | more than 7 years ago | (#20551429)

1. I for one welcome our... 2. ??? 3. Profit! Oh wait... Obligatory Simpson's quote: "Time to rub Aunt Patty's feet!" Did I miss anything?

Posted by kdawson (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20551443)

I'm going to voice my disapproval of this article without even reading what it's about, just because it was posted by kdawson. This seems to be the fashion around these parts.

Re:Posted by kdawson (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20552377)

I'm waiting until I can buy an "I'm kdawson" shirt on thinkgeek.

Wishful thinking (4, Insightful)

Alioth (221270) | more than 7 years ago | (#20551479)

Hm. Another article deserving of the tag 'wishfulthinking'.

According to TFA, the defendent *still* doesn't have the copyrights to the songs, even if the registrations are wrong - in that case, the registered copyright is still to record companies. Who are probably RIAA members. If this case fails, the defendent can just be sued again by the registered rights holders. I don't see then name "Jammie Thomas" as the rights holder under either columns in TFA.

Re:Wishful thinking (5, Insightful)

Spad (470073) | more than 7 years ago | (#20551627)

Thomas is fighting the motion, saying that the plaintiffs need to prove two things: that they are the true copyright owners and that there was an act of infringement.

She's not fighting the case soley on the basis of ownership. However, if she wins then it sets a huge precedent, which would further prevent the RIAA from using their shotgun approach to lawsuits. If they have to trace & prove ownership of every song that they're claiming for, it's going to add a lot of overhead to their cases and could well dredge up some unwelcome cases where they discover that they *don't* own the copyrights to songs that they've been making money off for years.

Re:Wishful thinking (2, Informative)

calbanese (169547) | more than 7 years ago | (#20552457)

A district court jury verdict won't set any precedent, let alone a huge one, since it would not be binding on any court anywhere. If the RIAA loses and it is appealed, it could set a precedent for that circuit, but that would be a long way off in any event.

Re:Wishful thinking (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20551641)

Tagged.

Re:Wishful thinking (5, Interesting)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 7 years ago | (#20551753)

Actually, two of the records are listed as having an original copyright holder as being CBS Records. CBS Records is not an RIAA member, according to their website [riaa.com] . Also, many of the companies listed on that link aren't RIAA members, either, they just report to the RIAA. I think among those is Geffen, which is also listed in TFA, but I'm not sure.

Re:Wishful thinking (1)

mSparks43 (757109) | more than 7 years ago | (#20551811)

I think sir, you miss the point.

As I understand, Its a bit like the Women who kept her house after she defaulted, because the bank that brought the chapter 11 no longer owned the mortgage.

Same thing here, RIAA cant bring a lawsuit for copyright infringement for songs they don't own the copyright to, 'most probably' wont cut it in court.

Re:Wishful thinking (1)

mpe (36238) | more than 7 years ago | (#20552305)

Same thing here, RIAA cant bring a lawsuit for copyright infringement for songs they don't own the copyright to, 'most probably' wont cut it in court.

It could also get them slapped with "contempt of court" charges.

They're lawyers for the RIAA (1)

crovira (10242) | more than 7 years ago | (#20553031)

of course they have "contempt of court" issues.

Re:Wishful thinking (3, Interesting)

swillden (191260) | more than 7 years ago | (#20552199)

According to TFA, the defendent *still* doesn't have the copyrights to the songs

That's irrelevant. *Only* the copyright holder has standing to sue over the copyrights. If the plaintiff doesn't own the copyrights, the suit will be dismissed.

If this case fails, the defendent can just be sued again by the registered rights holders.

Assuming it fails only on the copyright ownership grounds, probably. It's also entirely possible that the copyrights fell through the cracks at some point and that it's not possible to clearly establish the ownership, or that the ownership ended with some other company or individual that isn't interested in suing Thomas, since it will be much more profitable to sue the company who has been illegally distributing the material for profit.

Actually, even if the ownership did turn out to rest with another RIAA member, I'd still expect a lawsuit against the current distributor, seeking restitution of all profits related to the song (less expenses related to the song, of course, meaning that a bunch of auditors will make millions).

Finally, as another poster pointed out, this may well establish a precedent that the labels are required to exhaustively trace the ownership of the songs over which they sue, adding significant cost and complexity to already-expensive cases. It's a good legal tactic and it's also quite proper -- companies *should* have to ensure they truly hold copyrights before they sue over them. Think how much pain that would have saved in the SCO case.

Re:Wishful thinking (2, Interesting)

cptdondo (59460) | more than 7 years ago | (#20552533)

Bingo!

The RIAA 'sues' over $3,000. A half-decent law firm won't even answer the phone for that. Litigation (and preparation for litigation) is *extremely* expensive. The RIAA has been able to extort money from people by threats of litigation, without actually doing any of the real work of preparing for litigation.

People are finally getting the idea that the RIAA is weak in prepartion. Suing someone over something you don't own is a bad thing. If other lawyers start doing this kind of research, all of the sudden you may find that Tonya Anderson's class action lawsuit is a lot closer to reality....

RIAA is wishful, maybe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20553651)

Because the suit is that what the defendant is doing is an infringement of their copyright. Well, there are many ways in which that can be false when they have the copyrights fair and square:

1) It is fair use (copyrights do not control this action)
2) It wasn't the defendant (murder still illegal, even when someone was murdered you can't be done for murder if you didn't actually commit the murder)
3) A fine must be adjudicated as right and proper AND PROPORTIONATE before it can be applied
4) RIAA/member has not proven the defendant did it to a level appropriate for the charge to be brought (I can say "you stole it" but bringing it to court requires I have some proof)

and so on.

"Slashdot requires you to wait between each successful posting of a comment to allow everyone a fair chance at posting a comment.

It's been 1 hour 18 minutes since you last successfully posted a comment"

Plagiarism is bad, mmkay? (3, Insightful)

gblues (90260) | more than 7 years ago | (#20551481)

You know, as interesting as TFA is, it's not cool to copy/paste entire paragraphs in the writeup without attribution.

Re:Plagiarism is bad, mmkay? (1)

deftcoder (1090261) | more than 7 years ago | (#20551681)

Someone with that much journalism experience (and an English major, too!) should probably know better.

Re:Plagiarism is bad, mmkay? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20551957)

WtF?
That 'editor' is an B.S. of _physics_?

And suddenly, I felt deeply ashamed of my profession...

Re:Plagiarism is bad, mmkay? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20552155)

Just look at it this way--judging from the experience listed on his resume, he's at least 50 years old. In that time he's managed to work his way up to working with the likes of Zonk. Doesn't that make you feel better? :D

Re:Plagiarism is bad, mmkay? (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 7 years ago | (#20551715)

It depends - the c/p paragraph looks like a pretty good synopsis of the issue; let's call it the abstract for arguments sake. Now, if the article is complete and detailed, then the c/p is reasonable. If the c/p paragraph is most of the article, then the OP was out of line, but it wouldn't matter because the article itself is utterly useless.

See, either the lifting is okay, or the article is not worth the time to click the link. Problem solved.

Notice of Claim of Copyright Infringement (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20552293)

Sender: RIAA (Registered Institute of ArsTechnia Arses) <mailto:riaa@arstechnia.com>

FOR THE ATTENTION OF:
Keith Dawson
118-A Hollis Street
Groton, Massachusetts

Dear Mr. Dawson,
We represent Ars Technica, LLC ("Arse") and are authorized to act on Arse's behalf to investigate and take legal action with respect to the unauthorized dissemination of Arse's copyrighted material. It has come to our attention that you have posted a parapgraph of copyrighted material as detailed below from one of Arse's articles to the popular news site known as Slashdot as well as a link to the entirety of Arse's work on Arse's own site. The post in question can be located at http://yro.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/09/11/0156215 and is currently on the front page of your site located at http-colon-slash-slash-slashdot-dot-org-slash. While we appreciate your interest in our articles, the copyright on the material posted on Slashdot is held by Arse and copyright law explicitly prohibits unauthorized display, distribution, referencing or thoughts of copyrighted works.

My client, Arse, therefore demand that you immediately remove the story from your site and help us avoid the dissemination of Arse's work in the future by refraining from linking to, viewing or having any thoughts about Arse or Arse's site.

Thank you in advance for your cooperation and I hope this violation can be promptly resolved,

Anonymous Arse,
Registered Institute of ArsTechnia Arses.

DETAILS AS REQUIRED BY THE DIGITAL MILLENNIUM COPYRIGHT ACT:

1. The copyrighted work at issue is the article "With trial date looming, RIAA tries to avoid facing a jury" by Eric Bangeman posted on the Arse website at http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20070910-with-trial-date-looming-riaa-tries-to-avoid-facing-a-jury.html
2. Search Query: "Thomas is fighting the motion, saying that the plaintiffs need to prove two things: that they are the true copyright owners and that there was an act of infringement."
Infringing Web Pages:
http://yro.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/09/11/0156215
http://slashdot.org/
3. My email: riaa@arstechnia.com
4. I have a good faith belief that use of the copyrighted materials described above on the allegedly infringing web pages is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law.
5. I swear, under penalty of perjury, that the information in the notification is accurate and that I am the copyright owner or am authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed.
7. My Copyrighted Digital Signature: :-p

what case? (2, Informative)

Hemogoblin (982564) | more than 7 years ago | (#20551485)

I know I could just RTFA, but you should probably mention which case you're referring to in the summary.

Jury trials are both good and bad (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20551511)


Jury trials are good if RIAA is subject to them

Jury trials are bad if IBM is subject to them

Hence it is proven that jury trials are both good and bad.

Re:Jury trials are both good and bad (1)

Maximum Prophet (716608) | more than 7 years ago | (#20553601)

Mr. Beckerman would be the expert here, but you are correct. Law is about 90% facts and 10% lottery. If you're being sued, and you're not 100% in the right, go for the Jury Trial. If you're a criminal, Jury Trial, definately. If you're completely in the right, and your lawyer knows the Judge is a good Judge, skip the jury, because it's easier to convince one knowledgable person than 12.

Try as I might, I can't really see .... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20551549)

that she has a case.

There may be some irregularity in the copyright ownership. But noone seriously contends that the defendant owns the copyright.

There may only be proof that she distributed to the RIAA goons. But noone seriously doubts that she had been distributing to others unknown.

I hope she gets off, and the RIAA case collapses. This may happen on one of the above technicalities. But I think this is clutching at straws.

But it is important (4, Interesting)

tkrotchko (124118) | more than 7 years ago | (#20552047)

"There may be some irregularity in the copyright ownership. But noone seriously contends that the defendant owns the copyright."

Absolutely right, but it is important. Otherwise, you or I could sue this person for copyright violation. But that doesn't make sense. I can't ask the police to arrest you for trespassing on my neighbor's property. And I can't enforce somebody else's copyright.

And assuming the person were to lose the copyright infringement case, wouldn't they have to award damages to the copyright holder? What if it turns out the copyright holder had no interest in suing widows and orphans?

I think this is not trivial.

Re:But it is important (0, Offtopic)

j00r0m4nc3r (959816) | more than 7 years ago | (#20552255)

I can't ask the police to arrest you for trespassing on my neighbor's property

Well, you can ask...

Re:But it is important (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20552631)

"I can't ask the police to arrest you for trespassing on my neighbor's property."

I don't think you can even ask the police to arrest someone for trespassing on your own property. It's a civil matter.

Having said that, you are entitled to require them to leave, and if necessary eject them using reasonable force. This is obviously a sensitive situation, and could well lead to a breach of the peace, which WOULD bring the police into play. So a policeman who is conducting himself properly, arriving at the scene of such a trespass, would probably want to ensure that the trespasser left rapidly and that no such disturbance arose.

I suspect that this would be the case even if the trespasser was on someone else's land, and you were the one who drew the police's attention to it. The police will expect to sort out minor injustices before they become larger crimes. So too with the courts. I don't suppose they will be fussed about whose copyright was breached - obviously someone's was!

Summary Judgment (4, Informative)

gravesb (967413) | more than 7 years ago | (#20551551)

Summary Judgment just means there are no facts in dispute for the particular areas disputed. If that's true, then its in everyone's best interest to grant summary judgment. However, if there is a question about the registration, then the judge can grant summary motions for the other areas, and try that part before a jury. However, the defendant needs some proof to fight it. I hope that she has some. It shouldn't be that hard to trace the registration.

Surely they've planned for this eventuality? (4, Insightful)

EvilGrin666 (457869) | more than 7 years ago | (#20551561)

With so many lawsuits filed, surely the the RIAA knew it was going to hit someone who'd fight back? Wont they of considered this possibility and have a defence ready?

Re:Surely they've planned for this eventuality? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20551637)

Wont they of considered this possibility and have a defence ready?

Why would they of? (of what?!?)

Re:Surely they've planned for this eventuality? (0, Offtopic)

dekkerdreyer (1007957) | more than 7 years ago | (#20552345)

Wont they of considered this possibility and have a defence ready?

Why would they of? (of what?!?)

It's Mispeek:
"Wont" -> "Won't"
"of" -> "have"
"defence" -> "defense"

Welcome to MySpace English - mispeek.

Re:Surely they've planned for this eventuality? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20554199)

Er, maybe:
"Wont" -> "Won't" -> "Wouldn't"

Wouldn't you think a grammar correction would be correct?

Re:Surely they've planned for this eventuality? (2, Insightful)

fermion (181285) | more than 7 years ago | (#20551763)

This may mirror image of the tobacco suits. If so, the lessons are the same. First, if one is involved in legal proceedings it is important to keep everything perfectly legal. Tobacco should never have been so flippant with congress, and the RIAA should never have been so flippant with the law suits. In the former such behavior really broke the 100% winning streak, and in the later such behavior gives then no hope for a completely fair jury trial, and every child of the juror is potential target of the unfocused extortion campaign. I use the word extortion because it is the only time I see such a wide use of negotiated settlements, and such fear of a trial.

As a mechanism to fight piracy, the policy was a reasonable one. However, instead of promoting law suit abuse, they should have been more careful about making sure the person they sued was really legitimate. It would have had the same effect, without becoming extortion.

Re:Surely they've planned for this eventuality? (1)

Jason Levine (196982) | more than 7 years ago | (#20551893)

Not necessarily. They might have just figured that they could just quietly drop the case (or settle for a tiny figure) if the defendant fought back too much. It's worked in some cases (like the Granny who was accused of downloading rap using a Mac computer when the file sharing program she was accused of running was Windows only), but it might not work here. Unlike what the RIAA would like the think, the courts don't just automatically rubber-stamp approve everything the RIAA wants to do.

Re:Surely they've planned for this eventuality? (1)

jnnnnn (1079877) | more than 7 years ago | (#20552173)

Well, you have to admit that their chances don't look good.

All the planning in the world won't get you out of an impossible situation.

A jury trial may not be impossible, but perhaps they've worked out that the odds aren't in their favour (I don't know if they are or not, not having read TFA).

Backups? (5, Interesting)

sanosuke001 (640243) | more than 7 years ago | (#20551605)

I'm not sure as IANAL, but if you owned a physical copy of a CD/Record/8-Track/phonograph of a song, you are legally able to make a copy of it, correct? So, would sending someone else a copy of a song you ripped from your recording be legal if they also owned a copy? ie. I own a CD, a friend owns the same CD. He doesn't have a CD-ROM on his computer so I rip it for him and send it to him so he has it on his MP3 player.

I see this more as a "can I legally 'help' people backup their music" and "is it my fault that others can't follow the law."

From how I see it, it isn't their fault someone else downloaded the song; they didn't force anyone to do anything illegal. If they own the recording, shouldn't they be able to let others download it to have a personal, digital, copy? If not, why?

Re: Backups? (1)

Televiper2000 (1145415) | more than 7 years ago | (#20551777)

Wow, you actually buy into that idiotic disclaimer they used to put on IRC sharing sites? You are responsible for making copies of the music available publicly. You are responsible for checking the validity of their personal right to the back-up. Just like you'd be responsible for checking someone's ID when they are buying cigarettes. Besides, the last time you could actually find someone with a computer lacking the resources to make MP3s was in the Napster days.

Re: Backups? (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 7 years ago | (#20551823)

The owner must make the backup.

So sending the other person the files you copied, means they didn't make the copy themselves. Depending on where you live, this either makes both of you a copyright offender or just the person sending the copies.

I don't quite know how it works if you just provide the other person with instructions on how to make the backup. Just look at the whole DeCSS history to see how difficult this can get.

While we're playing what if's... (1)

Jeff85 (710722) | more than 7 years ago | (#20552091)

While we're playing what if's...

Same scenario as far as

I own a CD, a friend owns the same CD. He doesn't have a CD-ROM on his computer.
What if my friend makes a copy of his CD using my computer, then downloads it onto his computer from mine (assume we don't have any external memory storage device). Is it okay then?

Re:While we're playing what if's... (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 7 years ago | (#20552447)

IANAL. Let me repeat that: IANAL. With emphasis: IANAL.

AFAIK, all fair-use requires is that it's the owner that click the "copy" button. ...But I'm probably way-off on this.

You can record any broadbast media. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20551825)

Americans anyway have the specific right under the Home Recording Act to copy any and all broadcast media that they like. You don't need a license, you simply need blank media. This is why the RIAA is fucked and knows it. They already lost. This whole thing has been a sham from the beginning.

In fact, I suspect many of the early tracks you saw on Kazaa and the like were obviously just stream rips that people had posted back up as P2P file transfers. Yes, that uploading part is technically a violation of copyright, but barely so and only in very questionable legislative form because of the highly shady last minute amendments tacked onto Clinton era No Electronic Theft Act. Moreover, this shady amended legislation only applies within the United States and clearly the Internet exists beyond the United States.

Even if it wasn't, it's still all academic because all of that same media can legally be copied for free and completely with the protection of the law of the United States through the Home Recording Act.

See Wikipedia "Audio Home Recording Act" for a summary.

Here's some key excerpts on the digital amendment to that act that clearly make it acceptable to digitally record digital streams for personal use.

===
  The Audio Home Recording Act of 1992 (AHRA) amended the United States copyright law by adding chapter 10 "Digital Audio Recording Devices and Media." The act enabled the release of recordable digital formats such as Sony and Phillips' Digital Audio Tape without fear of contributory infringement lawsuits.

. . .

The Act also includes blanket protection from infringement actions for private, non-commercial analog audio copying, and for digital audio copies made with digital audio recording device

===

If it were illegal to make free copies of digital media then you wouldn't be able to buy DVD burners and blanks. It's that simple.

Re:You can record any broadbast media. (1)

OSPolicy (1154923) | more than 7 years ago | (#20554177)

>If it were illegal to make free copies of digital media then you wouldn't be able to buy DVD burners.

It's illegal to murder people, but you can still buy guns.

>The Audio Home Recording Act of 1992...

I'm reasonably sure that you have your citation wrong here. AHRA (P.L. 102-563) states as its purpose the following:

    An Act to amend title 17, United States Code, to implement a
    royalty payment system and a serial copy management system for
    digital audio recording, to prohibit certain copyright
    infringement actions, and for other purposes.

The closest the Act comes to saying what you say it says is 17 USC 1008:

/=========
No action may be brought under this title alleging infringement of copyright based on the ... noncommercial use by a consumer of such a device or medium for making digital musical recordings or analog musical recordings.
\=========

However, there were laws passed after 1992 and the 1992 Act covers only noncommercial copying for space shifting and backup. Once you change from talking about copying to talking about distribution, the doctrine of Fair Use comes into play (17 USC 107) and your argument starts to fall apart.

Re: Backups? (1)

Loosifur (954968) | more than 7 years ago | (#20551885)

IANAL either, but I work for some. From what little I know about copyright law, it's meant to prevent one person from profiting from the sale of another person's intellectual property, as well as to prevent them from interfering with that person's ability to profit. In the music case, I can't play someone else's music and charge money for it without permission from the copyright holder, nor can I give it away for free since that interferes with the holder's ability to profit. So if both you and your friend own the same CD and all you're doing is basically helping him change formats, that should be perfectly legal. After all, the same effect could be had if your friend brought his copy to your computer and ripped the songs off his own CD using your equipment.

Re: Backups? (1)

JesseMcDonald (536341) | more than 7 years ago | (#20552655)

From what little I know about copyright law, it's meant to prevent one person from profiting from the sale of another person's intellectual property...

Obviously false, or there wouldn't be any CD or phonograph record retailers.

In the music case, . . . nor can I give it away for free since that interferes with the holder's ability to profit.

Nothing in copyright law -- at least not as interpreted by the courts under the First Sale Doctrine -- prevents you from legally giving away a CD or record for free, or even from selling it for personal or commercial profit. You just can't legally keep a copy for yourself. (Otherwise used CD/record stores would be in clear violation of the law.)

So if both you and your friend own the same CD and all you're doing is basically helping him change formats, that should be perfectly legal. After all, the same effect could be had if your friend brought his copy to your computer and ripped the songs off his own CD using your equipment.

Copyright law is concerned with the actions themselves, not their effects. Making a copy for someone else would still be distribution, and thus infringement, even if the other party could've done the exact same thing without any legal trouble at all; that's just one of the many things wrong with copyright law, somewhere behind the DMCA and the entire concept that it could possibly be justified to forceably restrict distribution in the first place (in that order).

Needless to say, I am not a lawyer and this is not legal advice. (As if anyone would expect to find legal advice in an anonymous public forum....)

Re: Backups? (1)

dontspitconfetti (1153473) | more than 7 years ago | (#20551925)

There needs to be an original copy coughed-up or a receipt of purchase (see: iTunes) if ever asked for any proof. You can have a copy as long as the original isn't too far behind.

Isn't this normal (3, Interesting)

WPIDalamar (122110) | more than 7 years ago | (#20551651)

In any case, don't both sides often attempt to get summary judgement on some issues? It makes trials go faster.

The article makes it sound like RIAA is running scared, it sounds to me like they understand it's a big deal and are doing everything they can to win the case. I would expect anyone involved in a court case to, you know, actually try and win it.

um (2, Informative)

theMerovingian (722983) | more than 7 years ago | (#20551673)

that the RIAA owns the copyrights to the songs in a file-sharing case; that the registration is proper; and that the defendant wasn't authorized to copy or distribute the recordings

It sounds like the only disputed issue is whether RIAA in fact owns the copyrights. This is a question of fact that would vary song-by-song, and a determination that these particular songs belong to RIAA would not prevent the issue from being re-litigated in every other case.

Re:um (1)

JustNiz (692889) | more than 7 years ago | (#20553629)

except that this lady didn't have any music on her computer at all, yet the RIAA thought they had her IP address so tried to sue her anyway.

They are still suing her only because they can't be seen to back down because their whole tactic is based on incorrectly stating the law to get people to pay them a hefty 'avoid court' fee. The success is largely based on the threatened individual's fear of large attorneys bills and lack of knowledge of the law, rather than actual fact of law.

Finally this woman is the first person with the balls to tell the RIAA to fuck off and die, Now the RIAA are pissed because she is blowing their whole scam. If they go to court, the judge will find the RIAA's activities illegal. If they back down first, they will basically be admitting the same by their own actions.

This woman rocks. Its people like her that improve the world.

Re:um (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 7 years ago | (#20553703)

It sounds like the only disputed issue is whether RIAA in fact owns the copyrights.
In TFA, Virgin Records, et al wants summary judgement on the issue of whether "the defendant wasn't authorized to copy or distribute the recordings."

Which is nice, but not relevant.
They still need to prove that distribution happened.
That is something I'd consider a "disputed fact" and quite frankly, is the heart of the matter.

I imagine they'd also need to prove that those files are what they claim.

the thing with jury trials is... (5, Insightful)

m2bord (781676) | more than 7 years ago | (#20551783)

no one can predict how a jury will vote. it's a 50/50 shot.

some jurors may empathize with the defendant while at the same time, another handful of jurors sympathize with the plaintiff.

the truth is that you just don't know. i think that some of these cases should go before a jury and let's see what happens.
the riaa's arguments may be solid but the question of what constitutes copyright infringement and what constitutes fair-use needs to be codified.

my question has always been, "why was it okay for my to make copies of my vinyl albums, put them on cassette, and give it to a friend but it's not okay for me to make a copy of a cd and give that cd copy to the same friend?"

the end result is the same. my friend gets the music that i paid for.

could it be that only now the record labels are panicking because people are not gathering in herds to buy the latest stuff put out by seemingly talent-less hacks like kelly osbourne or britney spears?

so many computers are used in producing pop music now that it would indeed make the world's largest beowulf cluster.

Re:the thing with jury trials is... (2, Insightful)

east coast (590680) | more than 7 years ago | (#20551843)

my question has always been, "why was it okay for my to make copies of my vinyl albums, put them on cassette, and give it to a friend but it's not okay for me to make a copy of a cd and give that cd copy to the same friend?"

Quote me the law that says it's ok (as in legal) to give out a copy to a friend.

Just because the practice is winked at doesn't make it legal. I think it's just a matter that the technology has not only given people a better and easier way to distribute it but it's also given way to an easier and better way to enact the law.

Re:the thing with jury trials is... (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 7 years ago | (#20552141)

Just because the practice is winked at doesn't make it legal.

      There's also a lot to be said about a government that has done nothing about the practice for years nay DECADES and suddenly (and EXCLUSIVELY) because of lobbying starts "arresting" people for it.

Re:the thing with jury trials is... (1)

east coast (590680) | more than 7 years ago | (#20552691)

Ok, so say it. I really don't know what you're getting at here.

Re:the thing with jury trials is... (1)

thegrassyknowl (762218) | more than 7 years ago | (#20552161)

Just because the practice is winked at doesn't make it legal.

They only winked at it because recording to analog tape is inherrently lossy no matter how good your equipment is. After a few generations it's clearly not as good as the original source. To top it off playing vinyl and analog tape wears out the surface and eventually the quality of your media degrades. It seems only fair that if your expensive vinyl is going to wear out if you play it over and over that you're better off only playing it a few times to record it to high quality tapes each time a tape gets chewed.

Digital copies make (almost) perfect copies of the input. You can make many many generations of copies before there's enough bit errors to even be noticible. Add to that the ease and speed which you can hand out digital copies (16x burning rather than 1:1 for vinyl->tape) and they are scared. Also, it's theoretically impossible to wear out a CD or DVD if you take good care of it so there should be no need to make backup copies to prevent it wearing out as you play it.

The old "it's only illegal if you get caught" really comes into play. If you recorded your vinyl to tape or made mix tapes for your own use then nobody was really any the wiser. The same goes for CDs and DVDs now. It's the ease of widespread distribution that scares them. I just downloaded a 4G DVD image in the space of minutes. Yes it was legal, it was a Linux distro. It may has well have been a movie; it didn't take long to get it and there's hundreds of places you can get movies and music from.

Nobody publicised their music sharing to the world back in the tape days. I am almost certain that the recording industry had a meeting and sat down to work out what they were going to do about these new fangled recorders, decided that nobody would ever want to make a crappy copy of their records and kept on going as they were. THey probably had the same meeting about CDs, DAT, and the Internet.

Re:the thing with jury trials is... (1)

east coast (590680) | more than 7 years ago | (#20552811)

They only winked at it because recording to analog tape is inherrently lossy no matter how good your equipment is.

No.

Nobody publicised their music sharing to the world back in the tape days.

Yes.

You see, the reason it's prosecuted so widely today is that we have, for the first time in our history, the ability to make a large number of copies available for what is essentially no cost to us and for what is a somewhat insignificant cost for the RIAA to investigate.

Do you really think that the RIAA considered going around in a car in the 70s and 80s and stopping kids with portable 8-track players, Walkmans and boom boxes and demanding that they produce proof of ownership of the music? It had nothing to do with the quality of the copies, it has to do with the practicality of the situation.

Re:the thing with jury trials is... (1)

Mr. Slippery (47854) | more than 7 years ago | (#20553523)

Do you really think that the RIAA considered going around in a car in the 70s and 80s and stopping kids with portable 8-track players, Walkmans and boom boxes and demanding that they produce proof of ownership of the music?

In the 1980s, back when LPs and cassette tapes were all the rage, there were record rental stores [citypages.com] . The RIAA managed to smash this by getting Congress to pass the "Record Rental Amendment" in 1984.

So, yes, the RIAA was concerned with copying back in the days of Walkmans and boom boxes. (8 tracks were a little earlier, Junior.)

Re:the thing with jury trials is... (3, Insightful)

djmurdoch (306849) | more than 7 years ago | (#20551865)

my question has always been, "why was it okay for my to make copies of my vinyl albums, put them on cassette, and give it to a friend but it's not okay for me to make a copy of a cd and give that cd copy to the same friend?"

What makes you think that was legal?

Wrong question (0, Flamebait)

dazedNconfuzed (154242) | more than 7 years ago | (#20552437)

my question has always been


Your question is premised on the notion that copying & distributing vinyl is/was legal. It's not.
Your question is also premised on the notion that the IP owners know and care about that one copy (vinyl or CD). They don't.

Presumably your question really is: "If I make & give away one copy and can get away with it, why can't I make & give away unlimited copies and get away with it?"

The answer to that should be obvious.

Make and distribute one copy, and the IP owners don't know or care.
Provide unlimited worldwide duplication & distribution, and the IP owners will notice and care.

Re:the thing with jury trials is... (1)

poot_rootbeer (188613) | more than 7 years ago | (#20553011)

my question has always been, "why was it okay for my to make copies of my vinyl albums, put them on cassette, and give it to a friend but it's not okay for me to make a copy of a cd and give that cd copy to the same friend?"

It was never okay for you to distribute dubbed cassette copies of albums to your friends.

The difference is that before public file sharing took off, there was no way for the RIAA companies to rifle through your tape collections to see what unlawful copying you might have been engaging in.

How about this? (4, Interesting)

Stormcrow309 (590240) | more than 7 years ago | (#20551891)

Maybe my thinking is a little wacky. However, how about someone scan through the files that RIAA say that they "own" and look for any infected by viruses. Wouldn't RIAA be responsible for that? I think establishing ownership for data could be very expensive in secondary consequences.

Defense Fund? (4, Interesting)

rlp (11898) | more than 7 years ago | (#20551933)

Is there a defense fund we can donate to?

kdawson (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20551939)

Credit where it's due - you post some utter shite but this is a good and interesting story worthy of the front page. So thanks, and more of this quality please.

RIAA loosing a jury trial (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20552289)

Lets go baby..

It's time to rock and roll. Your goin' down honky. You've pimped and prostituted enough around here and now its time to pay the piper. :-)

Re:RIAA loosing a jury trial (1)

piojo (995934) | more than 7 years ago | (#20552793)

I believe they are not "loosing" it, but rather trying to prevent the jury trial from being loosed.

The judge wont accept this (1)

jgarra23 (1109651) | more than 7 years ago | (#20552535)

Adjudication for a summary judgment when requested by the petitioner only gets accepted when there is gross procedural negligence on the side of the respondent. Otherwise, in cases when the petitioner requests it, it is a violation of due process as the respondent is entitled to a trial and judgment by his/her peers.

This isn't really news, this is just regular procedural paperwork. Any lawyer will file anything to at least try to get something past a judge if it looks like it ha an ounce of merit... fucking lawyers...

There in lies the rub (1)

popsicle67 (929681) | more than 7 years ago | (#20553001)

This is how I feel everybody should fight this battle. Make the RIAA first prove that it has standing in the case. Judges should have been doing this from the start of this mess but they have been curiously incurious.

The law and you (2, Insightful)

westlake (615356) | more than 7 years ago | (#20553283)

Let's take this summary point by point:

The RIAA has filed a motion for summary {judgement.] If the judge rules in their favor...it may turn into a...situation where the only thing left to be decided are the damages.

Well, yeah. In a motion for summary judgment, you are asking the judge to rule that the defendant hasn't got a case worth taking to trial - no matter how generously how you read the arguments in his favor.

Thomas argues that since she lacks the financial means to..track the ownership of [the] songs she is accused of infringing, her only opportunity to determine their true ownership is via discovery or cross-examination at trial.'

Her lawyers want a trial to determine whether the RIAA should sue her as the representative of Label X or as the representative Label Y? There is no real doubt that the recordings are still under copyright?

Ars also notes that the RIAA's biggest fear is of losing a case. 'A loss at trial would be catastrophic for the RIAA. It would give other defense attorneys a winning template while exposing the weaknesses of the RIAA's arguments. It would also prove costly from a financial standpoint, as the RIAA would have to foot the legal expenses for both itself and the defendant. Most of all, it would set an unwelcomed precedent: over 20,000 lawsuits filed and the RIAA loses the first one to go to a jury.'"

Cases are lost at trial all the time.

You don't get that far unless the parties are pretty evenly matched. But establishing meaningful precedent is extraordinarily rare.

The problem here is that you are really looking only at the admissibility of evidence used to prove infringement and the weight to be given that evidence. The burden of proof in a civil case is light and relevant evidence is rarely excluded.

Re:The law and you (1)

Svartalf (2997) | more than 7 years ago | (#20553743)

Her lawyers want a trial to determine whether the RIAA should sue her as the representative of Label X or as the representative Label Y? There is no real doubt that the recordings are still under copyright?


You missed the detail that at least part if not all of the titles the RIAA are suing over are not with Member labels.

This means that they do not have standing to be pressing suit over an infringement of the rights on those files.
It means the case might very well get dismissed as RIAA doesn't have standing to press the suit as it is formed in the first place.

I Don't See How the RIAA is Worried (2, Insightful)

asphaltjesus (978804) | more than 7 years ago | (#20553555)

..over 20,000 lawsuits filed...

This, ladies and gentlemen is the entire point of the exercise. Induce the consumer behavior to check with the RIAA members before doing anything with the media you have legitimately purchased.

"Check with us before doing anything with the media you purchased or else we'll drag you into court." is the explicit threat. That one in 20,000 isn't going well is a fantastic track record. The RIAA is already lawyered-up and ready to drag it out. What individual can afford the fight? Certainly not the ones the RIAA has chosen to prosecute.

And yet nothing will be done by American consumers to reign in another abusive cartel.

Some interesting side notes... (2, Funny)

Bonewalker (631203) | more than 7 years ago | (#20553715)

List of songs from the article:
  • "Appetite for Destruction"
  • "The Comfort Zone"
  • "Control"
  • "Frontiers"
  • "Let it Loose"
  • "Get a Grip"
  • "Hysteria"
  • "If You See Him"
Based on the titles, if these aren't RIAA anthem songs, I don't know what would be. No wonder they want to get her!

Also... A handful of defendants have managed to be exonerated, most notably Debbie Foster, Patricia Santangelo, and Tanya Andersen--who is now suing the RIAA for malicious prosecution. Why are all the women getting off? If Jammie Thomas wins, there's another one! I am pretty sure men are being discriminated against...or are only women actually fighting the RIAA?
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?