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Class Action Complaint Against RIAA Now Online

CmdrTaco posted more than 6 years ago | from the stuff-to-read-if-you're-insane dept.

The Courts 176

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "Recommended reading for all interested in the RIAA's litigation war against p2p file sharing is the amended class action complaint just filed in Oregon in Andersen v. Atlantic. This landmark 109-page document (pdf) tells both the general story of the RIAA's campaign against ordinary folks, and the specific story of its harassment of Tanya Andersen, and even of her young daughter. The complaint includes federal and state RICO claims, as well as other legal theories, and alleges that "The world's four major recording studios had devised an illegal enterprise intent on maintaining their virtually complete monopoly over the distribution of recorded music." The point has been made by one commentator that the RIAA won't be able to weasel its out of this one by simply withdrawing it; this one, they will have to answer for. If the relief requested in the complaint is granted, the RIAA's entire campaign will be shut down for good."

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176 comments

Simple Solution (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22761522)

There's a simple solution to this: Don't rip off music that doesn't belong to you. Music is a product, you pay for it. It's that simple.

Simple Mind (5, Interesting)

Mactrope (1256892) | more than 6 years ago | (#22761682)

Music is an activity, but the problem is more important than entertainment. If people are not allowed to make and share verbatim copies of electronic media, there can be no public libraries. DRM is not an answer to your problem either. The only way to enforce your way of doing things is so deeply unAmerican that no one is going to accept it. We can not allow third party control of our computers because our computers are also our press. What you are left with is reinterpreting the copyright establishment clause of the constitution in a way that still encourages publication. The simple, American solution is 180 degrees of where you are. If someone else makes money with your work, you can demand your fair share. Everything else should be allowed. A simple system like that will be good for everyone.

Re:Simple Mind (5, Interesting)

Zencyde (850968) | more than 6 years ago | (#22761826)

I second this proposition. Some people would say that I'm crazy for believing that copyright, in its current form, is hurting society. I say that they're crazy for realizing that supply and demand doesn't affect digital media. Supply is infinite. The prices should then be set accordingly, right? Wrong, We're starting to approach an information overload. The amount of media that exists is growing too quickly for the market to adjust accordingly. Why are we still required to pay fifteen dollars for a CD? The actual product is not worth that much. Do I even need to mention the fact that most CDs have a small collection of good songs on them? It's not the consumer that sets the prices when it comes to copyrighted materials, it's the companies.
We currently have two majors oligopolies in this country. The members of the RIAA and the MPAA are what form these. The (please pardon this term) mafiaa are controlling and setting prices in such a way that is detrimental to the circulation of media.
It should also be mentioned that very few artists will suffer in the slightest from a situation in which music is freely distributable . I suspect that many artists would benefit from it. Especially the lesser known artists. Has anyone forgotten about concerts? These people are performers. What do performers do best besides, well, perform? I will admit that there are some artists who create in such a manner as to disallow for performances. These would be the only ones I can think of that would be damaged at all by this. Although, these ones could still find jobs in other areas. For instance, making music for various companies that require music for a particular reason. Or perhaps allow the music to be freely downloadable from an ad-based site? Even so, it would help more artists than it would hurt, in the end.
Then again, who am I to know these things? It's everyone else that has to see the world like this. So, someone give me a damn good argument. : )

Re:Simple Mind (3, Interesting)

infonography (566403) | more than 6 years ago | (#22762278)

Ok how is this;

We will never be able to completely equalized the value of any ART (Music, paintings, photos, dance, etc) to the originators. As long as money is involved there will be greed. The Artists as a CLASS are horribly undervalued for what they do. And no Armani wearing Suit is really going to ever sound credible talking about how much the artists are not getting paid when famous musicians are surfing couches because they didn't see anything out of the record that got them a Grammy. Big Record companies are like whales, they filter the Krill out of the sea (and fight Giant Squids and Insane Sea Captains).

Take out Music insert artform you got everyone else covered.

Some things you can do;

1. loan out your couch.

2. go to live music/preformances

3. ??????

4. Profit

Re:Simple Mind (3, Interesting)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 6 years ago | (#22762696)

This is why the vast majority of music I have in my collection I bought directly from the bands when i saw them live,and when I was playing music I happily placed our mp3s on the P2P.If people like your music there are a 100 different ways to sell them product.We not only sold t-shirts and cds,but headbands,keychains,etc.The few bands that we played with that got signed ended up broken up after getting royally screwed out of their songs.


The whole POINT of copyrights and patents was a simple trade-we give you a SMALL set amount of time to profit,and in return we the people got a richer public domain and plenty for artists to use as a basis for new works.But now it is so broken that even a 2 second sample of a twenty year old song can get you sued,and the industry expects their great grandchildren to be able to profit from the artists of decades long past. And today's generation is not nearly as stupid as the lawmakers believe-they grew up in the age of technology and can see the hypocrisy and greed of those in power.


Do they REALLY believe that the average kid is going to care about copying a song put out by a bunch that buys politicians and screws the artists every chance they get? My oldest nephew is about as goody goody as they come,but when I asked him about the movie and record companies recently he had a quick answer-"Greedy disgusting pigs".They might as well give it up.Unjust laws will only be tolerated as long as you can get the public to buy into them.Hell even my 67 yr old mom who wouldn't know P2P if it bit her on the butt thinks it is disgusting the way so many companies are screwing folks on music and movies.The recent news story about how the RIAA went and talked to that little girl in her school without her moms consent really had her and grandma steamed.And the kids of my nephews generation by an overwhelming majority see this mess for what it is-another greedy bunch of corporations buying our laws so they can screw the little guy some more.Are they going to lock an entire generation up? But as always my 02c on the subject,YMMV.

Re:Simple Mind (4, Interesting)

Zencyde (850968) | more than 6 years ago | (#22762800)

Your first paragraph speaks quite loudly. I had forgotten about the other products. T-shirts are a good one. Also, I've purchased CDs at concerts just to have the artist sign it. A good example of this was when I was at the Texas Renaissance Festival. There is a band consisting of one member who plays a carillon. The show was free. He played five or six songs, if I recall properly. It was such an amazing experience that I used what remaining cash I had on hand to purchase two of his albums. Of course, I got him to sign both. I've also seen his CDs in the houses of other people. For the record, his band was named Cast In Bronze. I'm sure there are plenty of other people who have good stories about free music that caused them to purchase something that directly supported the artist.

Also, I rather agree with your idea as to how copyright was originally implemented. It's difficult to profit off of something that is reproducible. At least, it used to be. Copyright law exists to allow artists and creators an amount of time to profit off of their work. This is strange, though. Few researchers continue profiting off of their work throughout their lifetimes. One could argue that researching is an art, though. I might be biased in this regard; but, it seems unfair for one party to be able to continuously profit off of work that they've done once while another party must continue working through their life in order to continue profiting. Don't get me wrong. I understand the idea of investing and profiting off of an investment. Though, one could hardly consider producing art to be an investment. Art is not something that is to be managed. It is something to be distributed. Therein lies the key difference.

An example that might stretch too far for most involves feudal Japan. The Japanese used to view the merchant class as the lowest class in their caste system. The reason being because they profited off of the work of others while doing very little work themselves. This can extend to today's modern band. Certainly, writing songs is difficult. So is learning to play them well. That's not what this is getting at, though. The act of recording an album and profiting off of it for hundreds of thousands of dollars is what I think is wrong. I can't say that I'm capable of respecting any band for profiting off of that. I will, on the other hand, respect them for doing concerts and selling merchandise. They're being paid for tangible products and providing a service. Though, when one purchases an album, they're only purchasing the physical medium coupled with the right to listen to the songs on the album. They've never actually purchased the music.

Re:Simple Solution (4, Insightful)

conlaw (983784) | more than 6 years ago | (#22761756)

It's easy to take the moral high ground and say, "Don't rip off music that doesn't belong to you." But it really isn't that simple because it begs the question of when does the music "belong" to us. Some of the more senior among us may have bought a favorite song as a 45 rpm record, as part of an album, as a cassette (and if we hit the timing wrong, on an 8-track tape) and then as a CD album. Do you really think we should now go out an buy another version so that we can listen to the same song as an MP3? Many of us will do that or will make an MP3 from one of the versions we already own but, as I understand it, RIAA believes that even "ripping" an MP3 from one of the many versions we've already bought is "piracy." And, the RIAA is run for the benefit of the same group of companies that are telling the composers and performers that they're not due any royalties because the company mysteriously failed to make any profit from the 4 or 5 versions that we've already purchased.

Moral high ground? (2)

inTheLoo (1255256) | more than 6 years ago | (#22761906)

Would you consider it moral for someone to tell you "Don't sing other people's music?" or "Don't share other people's music with your friends"? No, the AC is an ass.

Re:Simple Solution (2, Interesting)

crispin_bollocks (1144567) | more than 6 years ago | (#22762520)

In many cases, not only do we own legitimately purchased copies on several different media, but the items in question are out of print. The labels are sitting on a treasure trove of musical heritage, and our only access to many artists is through copies ripped by individuals.

Re:Simple Solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22762832)

The judges should be informed that many sites put files and images on computers without people knowing it. I was a computer technician and would routinely find these on people's systems. These are more than tracking cookies, they are complete files and images that were never clicked-on or intentionally accessed while surfing. Most forensic experts cannot tell whether these were accessed intentionally or were put on systems surreptitiously. Nixon used surreptitious entries.

Easy, simple, and wrong. (1)

argent (18001) | more than 6 years ago | (#22762006)

The result of the lawsuit that led to this one was that the plaintiff had not, in fact, "ripped off music".

For every problem there is a solution that is easy, simple, and wrong. This is one of them.

Re:Easy, simple, and wrong. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22762110)

We know that these people have their own Mp3 players. Go after the individual lawyers, workers, etc. working at/for the RIAA.

Finally... but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22761528)

Great news. Problem is that they'll find something new to annoy people with soon...
It works like that always ;(

Re:Finally... but... (2, Interesting)

aleph42 (1082389) | more than 6 years ago | (#22761586)

Unless the labels stop funding them, which they already considered doing since the RIAA is starting to lose money rather than earning any.

This could backfire (2)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 6 years ago | (#22761534)

Remember, the have more money to have better attorneys.

If they lose, this will 'shut them down', but if they win, we are screwed.

Re:This could backfire (3, Insightful)

warrior_s (881715) | more than 6 years ago | (#22761552)

No..., If they win.. everything will as it is right now... It can not get worse than this.

Re:This could backfire (4, Funny)

lilomar (1072448) | more than 6 years ago | (#22761602)

NO! Please tell me you didn't just say "It can't get any worse."
Tell me you said something else in another language that just looks like that phrase in English.
Sigh.
Gets ready for it to get worse.

Re:This could backfire (5, Insightful)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 6 years ago | (#22761636)

Cant get worse?

Are their new laws making it a criminal offense to even think about IP violations? Do we have federal IP cops going door to door to inspect everyone's computer that has internet access? Do we have them stopping people on the street to look at MP3 players? Do we have mandatory 'restricted access clients' installed on our PCs that have a internet connection to monitor our traffic PRE-encrypted and our files?

Yes, it CAN get worse. ( and will if we don't get this thing derailed in time )

Re:This could backfire (1)

warrior_s (881715) | more than 6 years ago | (#22761884)

We don't have all these things.. i agree... but we do have people ordered by courts to pay in excess of $200,000 as fine for music sharing.. It was difficult for me to digest that thing.. I thing I may leave the planet when all those things you are saying start happening.. seriously.

Re:This could backfire (1)

sogoodsofarsowhat (662830) | more than 6 years ago | (#22762518)

Yeah well if things get so bad that we cannot think freely...i have a long arm safe with over 100 assault rifles and over 250,000 rounds of ammmo.....we can start at my place and take back America. You laugh...but 200 years ago a lot more poorly armed Americans did just that against the worlds strongest military....hell a band of arabs handed Russia its ass, just like the VC did to the Americans. Never underestimate the power of people willing to die for their beliefs. NEVER. /i do not promote revolution but should the need arise...i will be ready...will you?

Re:This could backfire (3, Insightful)

Stanislav_J (947290) | more than 6 years ago | (#22761688)

No..., If they win.. everything will as it is right now... It can not get worse than this.

As a general rule that is almost infallible, there is nothing on God's Green Earth that "can't get worse." Maybe the sun exploding and wiping out the planet....that might qualify. Anything short of that, though.....

Re:This could backfire (1)

ashridah (72567) | more than 6 years ago | (#22761784)

Maybe the sun exploding and wiping out the planet....that might qualify
Hm.. dunno. would falling into a black hole be worse?

but then, what's worse than falling into a black hole? going back in time and pouring bleach into the primordial soup we came from, I guess.

Re:This could backfire (1)

CSMatt (1175471) | more than 6 years ago | (#22762076)

Of course that would create a great-great-great...grandfather paradox, which may or may not be worse depending on your theory on paradoxes.

Re:This could backfire (1)

ashridah (72567) | more than 6 years ago | (#22762256)

If it's a malevolent alien race, is it really a paradox?

and that begs another question, is there a paradox that could be billed as "unable to get worse than that"

And is being your own parent worse or better than killing an ancestor before they reproduced? :)

Re:This could backfire (2, Insightful)

pxlmusic (1147117) | more than 6 years ago | (#22761914)

compared the dwindling resources, food and oil shortages we're facing, the sun exploding would be a mercifully quick end. in reality though, humans have made their bed, and must lie in it. don't think i'm being self-righteous or anything, i'm no different. personally, i would rather be vaporized in a massive solar event or by a nuke than have to stick out what's waiting down the road for humankind.

Re:This could backfire (1)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 6 years ago | (#22762312)

Huh? Humans won't be wiped bout by food or oil shortages. At worse, events will lead to a population drop, which would hopefully put is back into more of an equilibrium.

Re:This could backfire (1)

pxlmusic (1147117) | more than 6 years ago | (#22762336)

perhaps so, but the suffering in the interim will be too terrible to imagine. i'm a pessimist, i guess.

Re:This could backfire (3, Insightful)

Kingrames (858416) | more than 6 years ago | (#22762694)

Or every atom in the entire universe could spontaneously split...

But I would assume that there's a difference between "can get worse" and "likely will get worse."

You see, the fact that this case is now going forward IS progress. it's taken this long just to get the courts to notice that these evil rat bastards have been exploiting every loophole to keep their campaign going.

They have been using delay tactics for a very long time, trying to make it so inconvenient to continue the fight that we give up. It's nice to see that that is not going to work.

And you can say that if they win, it's over and we lose, but that's not true. This case will likely force people to take notice, and it's very likely that even if the RIAA were to win, they would likely be shut up and shut down by people higher than them, without any laws being passed and without any real paperwork trail.

Re:This could backfire (3, Funny)

dmsuperman (1033704) | more than 6 years ago | (#22762714)

The RIAA, MPAA, and Microsoft all combining would be worse than the sun exploding. Far worse.

Re:This could backfire (5, Insightful)

Laguerre (1198383) | more than 6 years ago | (#22761628)

I think the point is whether they win or lose, RIAA will have to submit to discovery [wikipedia.org] , which should have the effect of uncovering all sorts of dirt about their legally questionable [p2pnet.net] methods of finding people to sue.

Re:This could backfire (3, Interesting)

guruevi (827432) | more than 6 years ago | (#22762014)

Maybe they can hire the white house admins that converted their e-mail systems from Lotus Notes to Exchange and conveniently forgot to migrate the data retention mechanism.

BTW: if any of this happens (White house debacle) in a real company, did you know that they automatically lose any lawsuit that has a grounded basis in those documents?

Re:This could backfire (2, Informative)

jonathansdt (1176719) | more than 6 years ago | (#22762850)

BTW: if any of this happens (White house debacle) in a real company, did you know that they automatically lose any lawsuit that has a grounded basis in those documents?
Only if it can be proven that you suspected said records would be discovered and used. So start every enterprise with a policy of records destruction by fire.

Re:This could backfire (1)

ILuvRamen (1026668) | more than 6 years ago | (#22761646)

naw, if they win, people will just bomb their HQ like they did to Paypal lol. Paypal's user satisfaction was what like 42%? I think the RIAA's may be in the single digits. Their artists hate them, customers hate them...I bet the satisfaction rating is like -5% cuz people inside the company that hate it too are counted seperately :-P

Re:This could backfire (5, Interesting)

aleph42 (1082389) | more than 6 years ago | (#22761680)

They also apparently have an army of unlicensed private investigators.

It seems that their tactic was:

1)"illegally enter the hard drives of tens of thousands of private American citizens to look for music recordings stored there". That was MediaSentry's job.

2) Fill "thousands" of anonymous lawsuits, only to subpoena the ISP, and then "discover" the IPs that they already illegaly found. The lawsuit is then discarded, having served it's purpose.

3) Profit, by settling out of court, harrassing and such.

I thought I was pretty well informed on those things, and yet it's the first time I hear about that. It sheds a very new light on the fact that they often couldn't give the proofs. (What I still don't get though, is how they ended suing guys without computers.)

Re:This could backfire (4, Insightful)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 6 years ago | (#22761938)

What I still don't get though, is how they ended suing guys without computers.)

You're making the assumption that the RIAA's attorneys care about that. I think it's been demonstrated that their activities center around scaring people away from acquiring music illegally via the Internet, rather than recovering "damages" due to copyright infringement. Suing innocent people just makes the RIAA's lawsuit mill appear even more intimidating.

Re:This could backfire (3, Informative)

schon (31600) | more than 6 years ago | (#22762426)

I think it's been demonstrated that their activities center around scaring people away from acquiring music illegally via the Internet, rather than recovering "damages" due to copyright infringement.
Uh, no.

It's been demonstrated that the recovering of "damages" is their primary goal. They set up a fscking Settlement Support Center [p2pnet.net] as a for-profit corporation to streamline their extortion. If they're just trying to scare people, why do they need a new corporation (which has it's own army of lawyers) to process the payments?

Scaring people is just a happy side-effect. The "settlements" are revenue-generating.

Re:This could backfire (4, Informative)

NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) | more than 6 years ago | (#22762012)

They also apparently have an army of unlicensed private investigators. It seems that their tactic was: 1)"illegally enter the hard drives of tens of thousands of private American citizens to look for music recordings stored there". That was MediaSentry's job. 2) Fill "thousands" of anonymous lawsuits, only to subpoena the ISP, and then "discover" the IPs that they already illegaly found. The lawsuit is then discarded, having served it's purpose. 3) Profit, by settling out of court, harrassing and such. I thought I was pretty well informed on those things, and yet it's the first time I hear about that. It sheds a very new light on the fact that they often couldn't give the proofs. (What I still don't get though, is how they ended suing guys without computers.)
I wonder about that myself. If I were a judge I would have hit the RIAA's attorneys with Rule 11 sanctions, big time.

Re:This could backfire (4, Interesting)

CorSci81 (1007499) | more than 6 years ago | (#22762166)

After reading/skimming my way through all 109 pages of that, I have a question for you. I noticed many of the allegations made against the defendants look like laws with criminal punishments. Is there any chance (please say yes) that some of the people involved in this legal travesty could face prison time? Preferably somewhere with multiple large cellmates named "Bubba"?

Re:This could backfire (1)

CorSci81 (1007499) | more than 6 years ago | (#22762188)

Oops, I phrased that poorly. It appears to me this is a civil suit, but what I really mean to ask is there a possibility for criminal charges to be filed as well?

Re:This could backfire (5, Informative)

NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) | more than 6 years ago | (#22762294)

After reading/skimming my way through all 109 pages of that, I have a question for you. I noticed many of the allegations made against the defendants look like laws with criminal punishments. Is there any chance (please say yes) that some of the people involved in this legal travesty could face prison time? Preferably somewhere with multiple large cellmates named "Bubba"?
Yes.

For example, the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Growth recently pointed out [blogspot.com] that
(a) MediaSentry has no license to conduct investigations in Michigan (b) MediaSentry needs a license to conduct investigations in Michigan (c) MediaSentry appears to have been conducting investigations in Michigan and (d) the penalty for conducting investigations without a license in Michigan includes up to 4 years in prison.

Re:This could backfire (3, Interesting)

CorSci81 (1007499) | more than 6 years ago | (#22762332)

Right, I was aware of the illegality of the MediaSentry investigations. I guess I had my eye on the much jucier RICO charges like racketeering that can carry up to 20 year sentences. Any chances a US Attorney could indict on those grounds even after this litigation is settled?

Re:This could backfire (5, Informative)

NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) | more than 6 years ago | (#22762386)

Right, I was aware of the illegality of the MediaSentry investigations. I guess I had my eye on the much jucier RICO charges like racketeering that can carry up to 20 year sentences. Any chances a US Attorney could indict on those grounds even after this litigation is settled?
Sure. They'd have plenty of material to work with. In the Napster case the judge held they could no longer assert attorney-client privilege, under the 'crime-fraud exception', because they'd lied to the US Department of Justice when it was conducting its antitrust investigation of them.

Of course the Napster case was settled shortly thereafter.

Re:This could backfire (1)

walmartshopper67 (943351) | more than 6 years ago | (#22761724)

As for "shutting them down", I seriously doubt it will be that drastic - a win here would definitely start pushing things in the right direction, but this is civil law, not sports. As for "if they win, we are screwed", as above it wouldn't be that drastic either, it would push things in the other direction. However - and IANAL, just a criminal justice/IT student, I'm willing to bet that if it started looking like the RIAA was going to start winning, it could be withdrawn. (the RIAA cannot withdraw it if it looks like they're going to lose, because they didn't file - that doesn't stop the other, plaintiff party, from withdrawing) Legal crap like this is never so clear cut - it's usually just a big goatfuck no matter what side your on - the only winners are the lawyers.

Re:This could backfire (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22762630)

*****
RIAA is Edgar Bronfman Jr, just so you know who is hiring the ex-FBI agents to go stalinist against little Tommy. They leave that out when they're giving the hiring interviews. The agents will wise up and turn on them in due time, for the trail leads back there... maybe they should check out any family Europeon bank accounts... looping around U.S. corporate taxes, for example...

       

Re:This could backfire (2, Interesting)

vuffi_raa (1089583) | more than 6 years ago | (#22763082)

Remember, the have more money to have better attorneys.
no, from what I have seen most of their attorneys are pretty big flunkies- even though they have the $ to spend it doen't mean that they get the best personell- the thing is that in this case they will be defending- so upon request the burden of producing the discovery in the trial will be on them, which upon request will open the floodgates to a ton of data on tactics, media sentry, coersion and other things to the public that were not previously under public scrutiny except in requests to produce by the defense, mainly for credibility and chain of custody. When this comes up there is going to be one hell of a fight to retain a ton of data as priviliged and I just hope that the judge is smart enough to strike the requests for it. personally I would love to work on this case for the class, but I don't see it ever happening since my company handles corporate litigation, meaning if we were contracted in this case it would be for the evil side :(

Well, well, well... (5, Funny)

The Ancients (626689) | more than 6 years ago | (#22761538)

I for one would like to wave goodbye to our RIAA overlords.

Re:Well, well, well... (5, Informative)

The Ancients (626689) | more than 6 years ago | (#22761570)

Actually, since I live in NZ, they're not our overlords yet, but we do have the RIANZ down here, who are cut from the same cloth.

In fact, here it's illegal to make any copies of music at all. Hence, until the iTMS arrived, it was a pretty good bet that almost all music on any digital devices was illegally uploaded. Law changes are proposed, and the RIANZ wants to keep the law the same, but they give their word they won't chase the little guy, but want the law to remain the same just in case.

Re:Well, well, well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22762044)

Not to piss on your firework, but the paltry 3 million inhabitants of the backwater NZ, is a non-issue. Your laws are already worse than the US when it comes to taking it up the arse. Even assuming your awful ISPs limits let you download a whole album while the thing is still current in the rest of the world.

Hey, I and happen to like NZ. Even if most people there claim to have an aunt in Basingstoke.

Re:Well, well, well... (4, Interesting)

Petrushka (815171) | more than 6 years ago | (#22762174)

Actually, since I live in NZ, they're not our overlords yet, but we do have the RIANZ down here, who are cut from the same cloth.

In fact, here it's illegal to make any copies of music at all. Hence, until the iTMS arrived, it was a pretty good bet that almost all music on any digital devices was illegally uploaded. Law changes are proposed, and the RIANZ wants to keep the law the same, but they give their word they won't chase the little guy, but want the law to remain the same just in case.

Yup. And judging from the comments that came back from the select committee that reviewed the Copyright (New Technologies and Performers' Rights) Amendment Bill [parliament.nz] last year (I made a submission; hope you did too), there's a huge amount of resistance to changing that. The Bill, if it is ever passed, does include (at the moment) a limited exception for format-shifting audio recordings for personal use, but only audio recordings; even that has met a lot of resistance.

I guess all those videos I've got on my iPod are going to remain forever illegal, then. Politicians seem completely incapable of grasping the idea that it is just dumb to keep somehing illegal when not only is everyone doing it, but everyone is morally right to do it.

For reference, the Green Party is the only party to have opposed the DMCA-like DRM circumvention measures in the bill.

Re:Well, well, well... (2, Informative)

Original Replica (908688) | more than 6 years ago | (#22762460)

Politicians seem completely incapable of grasping the idea that it is just dumb to keep something illegal when not only is everyone doing it, but everyone is morally right to do it.

That only hold true if the goal of the politician is to serve the people. If the goal of the politician is to have power over the people or to serve someone who wants to have power over the people, then having the majority of the people open to prosecution at your leisure is a very useful tool. Most parking and speeding tickets are a lower level of this sort of criminalizing of the average person:"The National League of Cities says 47% of the nation's cities raised fees and fines last year. Most of the added money came from parking tickets. Revenue from these fines and fees now rivals property taxes as a major source of municipal income, says the league's Chris Hoene." [usatoday.com] Now obviously, the city governments that generate a significant portion of their income through tickets don't actully want everyone to start parking legally, nor do they want to make more legal parking easily available. They want money, just like the RIAA does.

Re:Well, well, well... (2, Interesting)

Technician (215283) | more than 6 years ago | (#22762326)

I for one would like to wave goodbye to our RIAA overlords.

Read the last pages of the PDF. There is a request for a public trial. I hope they post the dates and place. I would make the trip to sit in on it and as you suggest, wave goodbye. More important, I want to shake her hand.

unprofessional (4, Interesting)

seanadams.com (463190) | more than 6 years ago | (#22761558)


In June 2003, the RIAA publicly announced that it would begin a campaign that
would involve thousands of threats and sham lawsuits against individuals.


It goes on and on like this... plaintiff repeatedly referring to them as sham lawsuits, and in many cases, as above, suggesting that even the defendant acknowledged them as such.

Now don't get me wrong, I think all the lawyers representing RIAA and all principals of the record companies should be in jail (or worse). But this suit reads as inredibly amateurish to me, and if I were the judge I would get pretty irritated by being repeatedly told what to think, rather than the facts of the case.

Re:unprofessional (1, Insightful)

Swizec (978239) | more than 6 years ago | (#22761614)

Even judges aren't beyond simple marketing mind-altering tricks. It's really simple, state enough times that the lawsuits are sham and whomever reads your document will automatically agree.

Re:unprofessional (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22761702)

This is standard practice in US "law suits" (why don't you simply call them trails?). 99% seems to be ad hominem. Nothing new to see, etc, etc.

They are simply working within the accepted system, as even a non-American can see.

Re:unprofessional (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 6 years ago | (#22761772)

and if I were the judge I would get pretty irritated by being repeatedly told what to think, rather than the facts of the case.
Repetition reinforces [idea], even if you're aware it's being done.

Repetition reinforces [idea], even if you're aware it's being done.

Re:unprofessional (1)

Keeper Of Keys (928206) | more than 6 years ago | (#22761852)

I'm with the GP. Surely I'm not the only one who reacts strongly the other way when someone tells me what to think?

Re:unprofessional (1)

Incadenza (560402) | more than 6 years ago | (#22762180)

Surely I'm not the only one who reacts strongly the other way when someone tells me what to think?
I don't know whether to agree with you or not.

keep reading, it gets better. (5, Informative)

Mactrope (1256892) | more than 6 years ago | (#22761814)

I suggest you keep reading, the best parts have references. Yes, there are about six or seven pages of introductory opinion but by the time you get to page 7 you start to get into the meat of it. They quote three disgusted Federal judges who use terms like, "gamesmenship", "speculation" and "hammer" to describe the suits. By the time you finish, terms like "sham", "illegal" and "outrageous" sound accurate.

Re:unprofessional (1)

borgalicious (750617) | more than 6 years ago | (#22761864)

And your basis for "unprofessional" is that this like most other briefs - which you apparently haven't read - generally tell the judge "what to think"? Is there internet slang for an amateur claiming a professional an "amateur"?

Re:unprofessional (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22762368)

Their class definition is:

Those who were subjected to illegal and flawed investigations, were named in
sham lawsuits or were threatened with suit by Defendants for file-sharing,
downloading or other similar activities, who have not engaged in violation of
copyright laws.


This type of class definition is patently improper - what judges call a "fail-safe" class. Any judge should flush class certification quite easily.

Re:unprofessional (4, Informative)

rboatright (629657) | more than 6 years ago | (#22762744)

the term "sham" in this context has a specific legal meaning. Basically, the pleading is attempting to state that the lawsuits fail both prongs of the Noerr-Pennington doctrine, and in order to do that, they have to establish that the suits were, in fact, "shams" within the meaning used in California Motor Transport. So, it sort of HAD to read that way, is instead of what you think, exactly and precisely professional. It's just that we're not used to encountering stuff like this.

"killing dolphins" (5, Interesting)

aleph42 (1082389) | more than 6 years ago | (#22761562)

You gotta love the style the linked pdf is worderd:

1) "Killing "Dolphins" by Direct Threat and Intimidation"
The funniest thing: that's actually the RIAA's own word:

As a senior RIAA spokeswoman explained: "When you fish with a net, you are going to catch a few dolphins".
This will make for interesting reading, and has a good potential for quotations; I think we can hope some real prime-time awareness this time.

Re:"killing dolphins" (2, Interesting)

hyades1 (1149581) | more than 6 years ago | (#22762384)

It's 'way past time we came up with an expression to represent the current situation. Perhaps, "Killing Weasels".

The phrase itself could be something like, "When you're shooting rats near the henhouse, it's inevitable that you're going to hit an occasional weasel." This would cover the RIAA thugs the record companies have hired, as well as the scumbags who actually run the Big Four.

Re:"killing dolphins" (4, Funny)

NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) | more than 6 years ago | (#22762388)

It's 'way past time we came up with an expression to represent the current situation. Perhaps, "Killing Weasels". The phrase itself could be something like, "When you're shooting rats near the henhouse, it's inevitable that you're going to hit an occasional weasel." This would cover the RIAA thugs the record companies have hired, as well as the scumbags who actually run the Big Four.
As a strong believer in animal rights, I am appalled at your defamation of weasels.

Re:"killing dolphins" (1)

hyades1 (1149581) | more than 6 years ago | (#22762406)

Forgive me. I stand corrected. But the conceit just didn't hold up if I used "douchebags".

This sounds great on the face of it ... (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 6 years ago | (#22761576)

but, Ray, as an experienced attorney, what odds would you give that any of this will stick?

Re:This sounds great on the face of it ... (1)

aleph42 (1082389) | more than 6 years ago | (#22761604)

Well, for starters, the judge seems to be well-informed of the case. That should really help.

Ms Andersen is fortunate that Judge Anna Brown is very familiar with the history of this and other RIAA cases and will not stand for the RIAA's usual tactics of delay.
Sorry, the question was addressed to a lawyer, and IANAL.

Does anybody actually believe they have a hope? (2)

Shturmovik (632314) | more than 6 years ago | (#22761592)

I didn't think so. This is business. There's no room for nicities such as ethics, morals, scrupals, or even laws. The RIAA know better than most how the game is played and they'll continue to play it. And win it.

Re:Does anybody actually believe they have a hope? (1)

BlueStrat (756137) | more than 6 years ago | (#22762194)

I didn't think so. This is business. There's no room for nicities such as ethics, morals, scrupals, or even laws. The RIAA know better than most how the game is played and they'll continue to play it. And win it.

Well, it wouldn't shock me if I read a news report sometime in the near future about Ms. Andersens' or her lawyers' or even the judges' untimely death in some "random" accident or fire, or a "random" drive-by shooting or mugging if things were going badly for the RIAA. It also wouldn't shock me if the cops got an "anonymous tip" about narcotics stashed on her or her lawyers' property or vehicle.

These are thugs...thugs in suits, but still thugs. No tactic they might use including murder would surprise me. With the amounts of money and power involved here, well..many people have been killed for far, far less. If I were Ms. Andersen, I'd definitely be carrying a firearm and taking a serious look at my and my families' entire security situation.

Cheers!

Strat

Re:Does anybody actually believe they have a hope? (1)

BlueStrat (756137) | more than 6 years ago | (#22762210)

Sorry to reply to my own post, but as I hit the "Submit" button, I glanced down to read the quaote at the bottom of the page:

"The end move in politics is always to pick up a gun. -- Buckminster Fuller"

Scary.

Strat

RIAA go bye-bye? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22761640)

Good.

I could see going after people trying to make a profit off making copyrighted music but the RIAA has been going way too far and with dirty tricks to boot. If they did things in a fair and calm manner (plus actual proof) they wouldn't get this massive upswell of annoyed customers.

It's this stupid 'sue everyone' attitude that frustrates me to no end and it's not just the RIAA doing it. Copyright holders have gotten this way too. Especially the patent trolls.

Already Slashdotted (4, Funny)

Whuffo (1043790) | more than 6 years ago | (#22761706)

The server saw all the nerds coming and had an emotional breakdown.

Re:Already Slashdotted (1)

Shadow-isoHunt (1014539) | more than 6 years ago | (#22762754)

Sorta like a woman! Only, we can fix servers. We can't fix women... There's, no fixing what can't be fixed - Only god can fix them! But, the New York Times said god is dead.

if i sign this can i get money (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22761774)

if i sign this can i get money

Technicality, but still... (3, Informative)

Bombula (670389) | more than 6 years ago | (#22761820)

"The world's four major recording studios had devised an illegal enterprise intent on maintaining their virtually complete monopoly over the distribution of recorded music."

That would be an oligopoly, not a monopoly. "Monopoly" means "one seller". We have four fish to fry here.

Re:Technicality, but still... (1)

niceone (992278) | more than 6 years ago | (#22761966)

And they are not "Recording Studios", they are Record Labels or Media Conglomerates or something.

The RIAA and Mullah Omar are one and the same... (-1, Flamebait)

crovira (10242) | more than 6 years ago | (#22761860)

they have the motivation to the same ends (I'm sure that they look admiringly, and possibly with envy, at the images of some poor burkha-clad woman having her brains scattered all over some stadium floor for whatever offense the mullahs accused her of.)

I like the solution that Schlock Mercenary [ http://www.schlockmercenary.com/ [schlockmercenary.com] ] espouses for the litigious snakes.

(I'd like to see a YouTube video of somebody fuckin' one of their decapitated bodies in the neck.)

They own all noise on this planet...

"virtually every state"? (1)

ais523 (1172701) | more than 6 years ago | (#22762002)

From the PDF: "This personal invasion is a crime in virtually every state in the country". So which states do allow unlicensed private investigators to remotely investigate someone else's hard drive to look for music recordings? If none of them did, then the lawyers would likely have been stronger in their claims.

Re:"virtually every state"? (1)

mdenham (747985) | more than 6 years ago | (#22762080)

To answer the question, the states that don't require private investigators to be licensed.

I don't mind lawyers getting rich. (1)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 6 years ago | (#22762068)

Normally we bemoan that with class-action suits, lawyers get rich and the plaintiffs get very little.

In this case, I think I'll be happy as long as the RIAA gets badly bruised. The only way this could turn out badly is if the class-action lawyers accept a payoff by the RIAA before discovery happens.

Re:I don't mind lawyers getting rich. (4, Interesting)

NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) | more than 6 years ago | (#22762310)

In this case, I think I'll be happy as long as the RIAA gets badly bruised. The only way this could turn out badly is if the class-action lawyers accept a payoff by the RIAA before discovery happens.
Well, if there were a quick settlement which included a consent decree against bringing any more of these stupid cases, and the dropping of the cases that are out there.... that would be okay with me. The main thing in my book is to stop this evil thing.

Re:I don't mind lawyers getting rich. (1)

freedom_india (780002) | more than 6 years ago | (#22762994)

Nope.
The RIAA is just a front company for the media companies.
If a judgement were to be made against them financially, one particularly costing millions of dollars, this RIAA would file Chapter 11 and be dissolved.
A fresh new RIAA would then arise from same set of people with same tactics.

Pray... (1)

OneMHz (1097105) | more than 6 years ago | (#22762102)

I'm hoping this goes well and the lawsuits stop... I'd really love to actually be able to buy music again. Till then, I'm off to mininova...

Comments (2, Insightful)

debrain (29228) | more than 6 years ago | (#22762346)

I imagine this will take twice as long to resolve as the SCO litigation, unless the RIAA lawyers weasel out of it. I hope she is well supported, financially. A few comments that may be interesting for someone. :)

It may be difficult to enforce judgment against the "Big 4" directly. If I understand it correctly, the RIAA operates as a separate entity from them, and unless it is shown that the corporate veil can be pierced [wikipedia.org] . This is typically difficult, though I imagine there is a smoking gun somewhere in the RIAA-Big 4 correspondence that shows that the RIAA is a front.

Class actions are much more difficult to get a judgment on than regular actions. In general (and in essence), for a Judge to feel comfortable ruling on the class, they must be convinced that the issues particular to individuals in the class are not more difficult to figure out than that of the issues in common. The standard typically ranges from "a class action is the best way to resolve the common issues" to "a class action is the best way to resolve the dispute". The latter is significantly more difficult to prove - the Court must be satisfied that the issues specific to each individual do not outweigh the overall issues the members of the putative class have in common (and there is no way cheaper-than-individual-litigation to resolve these individual issues). That's a mouthful, but class actions inherently balance the rights of many people who do not have legal counsel against a defendant with a substantial interest.

The court will also want a very clear and well defined class of people. Because the judgment of the court may preclude people from bringing future actions against the RIAA, there is typically a requirement of notice to the members of the class. This notice typically includes instructions on how to opt out of the class proceeding so that you can bring your own action (for mandatory opt-in jurisdictions; some are optional opt-out). If you fail to opt out within a specified time period, you may be bound to the judgment. In this case, the class is pretty trivial - people who have been wrongly sued.

That leads to an interesting point: Will the members of the class are people who have been wrongly sued, or those who have been wrongly sued and where the RIAA has already lost.

This action is a minefield for nuanced issues, like the above and others. I wish counsel the best. You can rest assured that if the Big 4 defendants perceive any exposure, they are dumping their excess resources into a legal defence.

I have a dream (1)

inifinite dilation (1257034) | more than 6 years ago | (#22762914)

I have a dream of a land where you can listen to music in libraries just like you read books. A library which instead of being filled with encyclopedias, atlases, hard backs and paper backs is filled with records, compact discs and mp3s. Why should there be a price on music while most books are free to borrow? Why should we accept this? What makes music any different than information, stories and poetry?
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