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Teen Accuses Record Companies of Collusion 393

Posted by samzenpus
from the sue-me-sue-you dept.
evilned1 writes "A 16-year-old boy being sued by five record companies accusing him of online music piracy, accused the recording industry on Tuesday of violating antitrust laws, conspiring to defraud the courts and making extortionate threats."
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Teen Accuses Record Companies of Collusion

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  • NO WAI!!!! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tomstdenis (446163) <tomstdenis@@@gmail...com> on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @07:45PM (#17836288) Homepage
    They're not competing? NO WAI!!!

    Can't wait till studios figure out this isn't the 19th century...

    There is a way to make money in music/movies. Selling mass copies of media is not it.

    Tom
    • by Lord Prox (521892) on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @07:49PM (#17836340) Homepage
      I'm a lookin for this kids web site (if he has one) and I think i'll paypal him a couple of bucks. Not standing up and saying "NO" to the RIAA is as good as saying OK. I'm glad someone is returning fire.

      Silulu. Hot Polynesian Geek Chick. HPGC [scitechpulse.com]
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by tomstdenis (446163)
        While I support pissing off the RIAA, I wouldn't give him money. Ultimately, he did break the law by copying music he didn't have a right to [as stupid as that is illegal...].

        Why not send your money to FLOSS projects, or sponsor a stipend for a budding developer to give a talk at a conference or something instead.

        Or just keep your money...
        • by Daniel Dvorkin (106857) * on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @07:57PM (#17836438) Homepage Journal
          Ultimately, he did break the law by copying music he didn't have a right to

          And your source for this claim is ... ?

          Oh, the RIAA. Right.
        • by doktorjayd (469473) on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @08:23PM (#17836742) Homepage Journal
          i thought this {legality | prosecution | persecution} hadnt been thoroughly tested in the courts, because when the 800 kg gorilla that is the *iaa team of lawyers descends on unsuspecting accused, they take the _much_ cheaper option and pay the protection money demanded as 'settlement'. the few cases where the accused has said 'thems fighting words, lets step outside', the *iaa backs off.

          just 'cause the *iaa keeps bleating 'youre stealing, its illegal, etc' doesnt make it so.

          i'd throw a few gold coins his way too, as this looks like a pretty good vector to prise open the *iaa shenanigans

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by tomstdenis (446163)
            i'd throw a few gold coins his way too, as this looks like a pretty good vector to prise open the *iaa shenanigans

            Another vector would be to stop giving gold coins to the RIAA in the first place. Of course that requires convincing the mass population of sheep that they should be wiser with their money and stop following payola tunes all around the place.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Speed Pour (1051122)
          I'm not an idealistic type...at least not often. I do think sometimes the right thing to do has to be done in the wrong way. Sort of the Robin Hood thing. Sure he was stealing, which was illegal, but he was stealing from manipulative people who perpetuated wrong at every turn. And the end result of his theft was to help far more people.

          This kid, in my own opinion, isn't trying to "fight the machine". I believe this kid is simply trying to weasel his way out of getting in serious trouble, and the bes
        • Did you RTA? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by the_REAL_sam (670858) on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @09:10PM (#17837244) Journal
          He was 11 when it happened, and the statute of limitations is up. Furthermore, his sister already had rights to everything he downloaded, since she owned the CD's.

          I think the RIAA is going to lose this case, and it's going to set the stage for how the RIAA's patterned lawsuits start failing, time after time.

          The last argument, in particular, should be able to defeat any RIAA lawsuit in court, since people buy and sell CD's all the time, and the RIAA can't prove what the person owned the rights to at the time they downloaded copyrighted music.

          "His defenses to the industry's lawsuit include that he never sent copyrighted music to others, that the recording companies promoted file sharing before turning against it, that average computer users were never warned that it was illegal, that the statute of limitations has passed, and that all the music claimed to have been downloaded was actually owned by his sister on store-bought CDs."
          • He was 11 when it happened, and the statute of limitations is up. Furthermore, his sister already had rights to everything he downloaded, since she owned the CD's.

            Huh? Apropos of anything else, why would the court give a flying fuck if his sister had rights to everything he downloaded? How is that even remotely relevant? "But Your Honor, my client's cousin had already bought some of the CDs ..."?

        • by B.D.Mills (18626)

          Ultimately, he did break the law by copying music
          Just a bit of friendly advice. Don't misrepresent unproven allegations as facts unless you want to risk becoming the defendant in a libel lawsuit.
      • Donate to the cause (Score:5, Informative)

        by Harmonious Botch (921977) on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @08:05PM (#17836556) Homepage Journal

        I'm a lookin for this kids web site (if he has one) and I think i'll paypal him a couple of bucks.
        Here is his mother's site ( or so I believe - I can't guarantee you that it is not a scam )

        http://www.p2pnet.net/goliath/ [p2pnet.net]
        • by westlake (615356) on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @09:53PM (#17837672)
          Here is his mother's site ( or so I believe - I can't guarantee you that it is not a scam )

          Red-flagged by SiteAdvisor. Here is the report from McAfee for p2pnet.net:

          When we tested this site we found links to warezclient.com, which we found to be a distributor of downloads some people consider adware, spyware or other unwanted programs

          After entering our e-mail address on this site, we received 3.7 e-mails per week.

          I offer this purely as a suggestion, mind you, not legal advice:

          But if the heart of your defense is that know you "nothing, nothing!" about the darker side of the P2P nets, a jury might think that this is a mighty strange place to find you.

    • by tonyr60 (32153)
      And Reuters need to figure out what century they are working in. This at the bottom of the referenced article "© 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. "......
  • by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @07:47PM (#17836310) Homepage Journal
    No matter what side of the RIAA-wars you come down on, there's something endearing about a kid who stands up to bullies.
    • Maybe sort of... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Frosty Piss (770223) on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @08:02PM (#17836510)

      No matter what side of the RIAA-wars you come down on, there's something endearing about a kid who stands up to bullies.

      Well, sort of. There is of course a lawyer behind it. A 16 year old might have a gut feeling that these things are taking place, but I'm guessing his lawyer suggested this particular approach...

  • Ok... (Score:5, Funny)

    by TheRealFixer (552803) on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @07:49PM (#17836336)
    The record industry has suffered enormously due to piracy. That includes thousands of layoffs. We must protect our rights. Nothing in a filing full of recycled charges that have gone nowhere in the past changes that fact.

    Uh... yeah, no kidding. I thought the RIAA's past legal failures should have already taught them that. Oh, wait... were they talking about the kid's charges?
    • Re:Ok... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by pla (258480) on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @08:05PM (#17836550) Journal
      Oh, wait... were they talking about the kid's charges?

      Right - The kid's charges.

      After all, the US recording industry has lost three major price-fixing cases in the past 20 years, with absolutely no effect whatsoever on how they do business. CDs cost the same, radio stations still live and die by pay-for-play under various names, and the industry still rapes both the artists and the fans that let it exist in the first place.

      So why would just one more teaspoon make the ocean overflow?
  • by knightmad (931578) on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @07:49PM (#17836344)
    No one can wrestle the Media Cartel in the legal arena and win. They will beat him into submission, extending the suit until he has no more money (or will) to battle. What I really wish (wishful thinking, actually) is to see the DOJ getting involved, just like with Microsoft. Then we maybe can see some real action. Until them, better stick to WWE, american friends.
    • by Dr. Eggman (932300) on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @07:55PM (#17836424)
      That's what they said about Big Tobacco. Any attempt is a good attempt: It encourages and enboldens others, even when they fail.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by budgenator (254554)
        It occurred to me that this kid is going to rack up horrendous attorney fee's and court costs in a protracted legal battle in front of the jury, now the attorney fully expects that he'll never get paid if the kids counter suit fails and probably expects the good karma and publicity he'll recieve is enough. The court on the other hand has real costs like paying the jurors; if too many of these cases go through drawn-out the jury trial, lose the case, file bankruptcy cycles the courts are likely to lose patie
      • by westlake (615356)
        That's what they said about Big Tobacco.

        and Big Tobacco is still Big Tobacco. What, precisely, has changed?

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by StikyPad (445176)
        It encourages and enboldens others

        I believe the word you were looking for is embiggens.
        • by Furry Ice (136126)
          My thoughts exactly. I wish I had some mod points, and then I wouldn't have to reply with a "me too!" lame post.
  • Hate to say it... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nebaz (453974) on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @07:53PM (#17836388)
    IANAL, But let's say for argument's sake that the kid is right and the record companies are 'colluding'. That seems immaterial to the charge that he violated copyright violation. Statue of Limitations I can see, but you can't use wrongdoings of others as a defense for your own, unless they are directly relevant to this case (extortion claims? But isn't that how all lawsuits work? Sue or settle?) If the case had no merit, then it shouldn't go forward at all, but I don't see how this 'collusion' defense addresses the charges at hand.
    • by skorch (906936) on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @08:35PM (#17836858)
      Well, IANAL either, but my guess is his defence pertains directly to the case at hand: that being whether or not the RIAA really represents a monopoly and whether or not what they are doing is in fact extorsion. This would determine whether or not they even should have the legal right to sue anyone at all, or to act on behalf of any group of organizations that should be legally required to operate in competition with each other. If his claims are found legally true (I think it's pretty obvious that they are true, but from a legal standpoint does that hold water?) then their lawsuits are technically illegal themselves.

      If these five separate companies were actually acting individually, and not as a monopolistic cartel, then they should each have conducted their own investigations of wrongdoing, and each have filed their own separate lawsuits for the individual violations of their IP. But them all acting together as one big organization kind of gives the game away and removes any doubt that these are saparate companies only as a mere formality. They are acting as a single entity with no free-market competition in mind while holding these proceedings. But that's just my layman's view of the situation, and I just hope the common sense I hope I applied to this analysis parallels the actual law in some way.

      I just don't know if you can come up with a more textbook definition of monopoly (and all the reasons why they are bad) than what the RIAA seems to represent.
      • If his claims are found legally true then their lawsuits are technically illegal themselves.

        No they're not. An owner of a copyright can sue you for violating that copyright, and if they demostrate that you did in fact violate their copyright, they will win. An owner of a copyright acting in collusion with other copyright owners can STILL sue you for violating their copyright, and will STILL win if they demonstrate that you violated the copyright.

        Nowhere in copyright law does is say "Do not copy copyrighte
    • He's not using the claims of extortion and anti-trust violations as a defence. Instead, he's using them in a counter-claim.
      A counter-claim isn't trying to deflect the shots, it's shooting back and making the other side do some work.
  • recent statistics show kids are growing up 90% faster, the average age for a mid life crisis is now 25.

    seriously though, more power to him.
  • Magic money tree ? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Joebert (946227)
    If the recording industry is hurting soo badly, where the hell are they getting the money for all theese lawsuits & lawyers ?

    It's not like the people they win suits against can actually pay theese outragous fines.
  • by istartedi (132515) on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @08:03PM (#17836526) Journal

    Since he's under 18, can he even enter into a contract? Can he effectively use the court system by himself? If he can't, it's all in the hands of whatever attorney will help him (I'm assumig he's not an idle rich kid, and that he basicly has paper-route money).

    This is intriguing though. For adults like myself, who have little time to spare and much to lose, quick settlements and/or rapid capitulation to affordable terms are usually the only way out. In other words, if the *AA extorted 10 percent of my wealth, it might be enough to make them go away, and it would be more expedient for me to let them do that then spend half my wealth fighting them.

    OTOH, if I'm a 16-year old and I can legally ride my bicycle to the court house and file claims all summer as an "interesting lesson", then what could I lose? That has a certain appeal to it; but I doubt it will fly. They'll probably drag it out until he's 18, and can be subject to things that will bother an adult.

    Still though, the idea of a smart kid sitting there in the library putting up his time and zero money, pitted against corporate lawywers who charge their clients 100s of dollars an hour, is intriguing. Even if he loses, he wins, unless they force him to pay court costs--then he's screwed.

    • by TubeSteak (669689)

      They'll probably drag it out until he's 18, and can be subject to things that will bother an adult.
      He has a right to a speedy trial & that right also applies to civil cases.

      Even if they do drag it out, would it matter? The Judge isn't deciding the case & the punishment based on the defendant's current age, but on his age at the time of the alleged infringement.
    • by ookabooka (731013)
      IANAL, but if I remember my high school business law class correctly, it is possible for a minor to enter into a contract, and hold an adult to the contract. The minor, however, also has the ability to dissafirm or back out of a contract. So basically, a minor can hold an adult to the contract, but the adult cannot hold the kid to the contract.
  • Thousands of layoffs (Score:3, Interesting)

    by r_jensen11 (598210) on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @08:06PM (#17836570)

    The Recording Industry Association of America, which has coordinated most of the lawsuits, issued a statement saying, "The record industry has suffered enormously due to piracy. That includes thousands of layoffs.

    Of course they've done layoffs. That's because once a star gets too big, they cost too much. It's not that hard for the record industry to create a new sensation and not have to pay them squat. Re: New Kids On The Block, Backstreet Boys, *NSYNC, The Monkees, Boyz II Men, 98 Degrees, 4ORCE, Hanson....

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by luckymutt (996573)
      No... they were all laid off because they suck. Because they get too big??? Oh, like how the Rolling Stones were laid off? Like how Ozzy can't seem to find work? Like how Dave Matthews needs to start flipping burgers?
  • RIAA mets RICO? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by fluffy99 (870997) on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @08:29PM (#17836790)
    Looking http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/18/usc_sup_01_18 _10_I_20_96.html [cornell.edu], if they can prove that RIAA is violating any of a multitude of State fraud laws, they can also be charged under the RICO Act. Might be quite a stretch though. They may have a better case persuing this under anti-trust laws to break up RIAA.
  • by chromozone (847904) on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @08:31PM (#17836818)
    "The papers allege that the companies, "ostensibly competitors in the recording industry, are a cartel acting collusively in violation of the antitrust laws and public policy" by bringing the piracy cases jointly and using the same agency "to make extortionate threats ... to force defendants to pay."

    The labels were actually found guilty of this once before:

    States settle CD price-fixing case
    By David Lieberman, USA TODAY

    NEW YORK -- The five largest music companies and three of the USA's largest music retailers agreed Monday to pay $67.4 million and distribute $75.7 million in CDs to public and non-profit groups to settle a lawsuit led by New York and Florida over alleged price-fixing in the late 1990s...

      Former FTC chairman Robert Pitofsky said at the time that consumers had been overcharged by $480 million since 1997 and that CD prices would soon drop by as much as $5 a CD as a result.

    In settling the lawsuit, Universal BMG and Warner said they simply wanted to avoid court costs and defended the practice.

    "We believe our policies were pro-competitive and geared toward keeping more retailers, large and small, in business," Universal said in a statement."

    http://www.usatoday.com/life/music/news/2002-09-30 -cd-settlement_x.htm [usatoday.com]

    Maybe some of those jobs being lost should never have been there to start with

  • Court docs (Score:5, Informative)

    by FienX (463880) on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @09:09PM (#17837236)

    Fresh from Pacer

    14 - Defendant's Answer [PDF] [fienx.net]
    14 Exhibit A [PDF] [fienx.net]
    14 Exhibit B [PDF] [fienx.net]
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Haha... makes for a good read!

      TWENTY-FOURTH AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSE

      Plaintiffs have crafted at least two additional and alternative forms of damages, which forms have not been offered to this Defendant, even though similarly situated. One alternative, explicated by Warner Music's CEO, Edgar Bronfman, is for a parent to talk to his or her children: "I explained to them [his children] what I believe is right, that the principle is that stealing music is stealing music. Frankly, right is right and wrong is wr

    • The defendant's attorneys have no idea what they're doing. Citing case law in a freaking pleading? Clearly, the attorneys do not expect to win the case, and they're just trying to make a point. I mean, do you even know what statutory damages are-- they're supposed to be in excess of actual damages.

      Give the attorneys credit for effort (and racking up a huge legal bill) but this is really just a stupid, defective pleading. I mean, they cited to the kids of a Warner exec who were stealing music as waiver o
  • Good for him!!!! I am glad to see someone stepping up and naught stepping aside.. I have been wondering for the longest time "Who is questioning the Riaa's practices? Who is being paid off to NOT ASK THE RIGHT QUESTIONS? If none of the afore mentioned applies, why are people going down in flames?" I mean isn't it interesting that a) this offence happened over 7 yrs ago, back in a time when this type of stuff was not advertised as being illegal and/or evidence was found to the contrary "sister was found owni
  • by merc (115854) <slashdot@upt.org> on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @09:57PM (#17837716) Homepage
    This is exactly the kind of thing a 15-year-old kid would boast to his friends about... "Hey, if these fuckers came after me, why, I'd counter-sue their ass for defamation and slander, and .. and libel!". Except he's actually doing it. Yeah! That's funny! (you can +5 me funny and stuff for pointing that out!)

    *blinks*
  • Not good (Score:4, Insightful)

    by saladpuncher (633633) on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @10:50PM (#17838184) Homepage
    Dragging a 16 year old into court before a jury will hurt the RIAA more then anything. Most juries will side with the "poor" kid before they would hand judgment to a team of high priced lawyers.
    Think about it:
    people tend to dislike huge corporation
    people tend to hate lawyers for huge corporation
    No matter what happens the media will report it and public opinion will be on his side. Even if he is guilty this is a massive PR debacle. Setting an example works if the person can be portrayed as EVIL and VICIOUS (like for profit pirates) not young children. Whatever RIAA lawyer thought this was a good idea should be fired...into the sun.
    So I say please keep suing grandmothers and children. Come on RIAA...aren't there Eskimo retarded paraplegics in wheelchairs who have AIDS that you can go after? Please do.
  • by one_red_eye (962010) on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @11:00PM (#17838260) Homepage
    Why are the record companies chasing after people who will never be able to pay the fines? Why aren't they going after the REAL pirates, the people that burn copies of CD's and sell them for profit on the street cornet. I thought that was the definition of piracy.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copyright_infringemen t_of_software [wikipedia.org]
    • Creating a copy and giving it to someone else. This constitutes copyright infringement in most jurisdictions. It is not infringing under specific circumstances such as fair use and fair dealing. In some countries, such as Israel, creating a copy is completely legal, as long as it was done from non-profit intentions.
    • Creating a copy to serve as a backup. This is seen as a fundamental right of the software-buyer in some countries, e.g., Germany, Spain, Brazil and Philippines. It can be infringement, depending on the laws and the case law interpretations of those laws, currently undergoing changes in many countries. In the US, legal action was taken against companies which made backup copies while repairing computers (see MAI Systems Corp. v. Peak Computer, Inc. (1993)) and as a result, US law was changed to make it clear that this is not copyright infringement.
    And collusion sounds like what the oil companies do to maintain the high price of oil, working together for mutual benefit. Who needs monopolies when you have collusion. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Collusion [wikipedia.org]
    :wq
  • What I don't get (Score:4, Interesting)

    by bagsc (254194) on Wednesday January 31, 2007 @11:43PM (#17838628) Journal
    ..is if you steal a $15 cd from a store, you have a right to a trial by jury, but if you're accused of stealing $30,000 of music online, it's only a civil case, so there's no right to jury. Certainly, if these copyright infringement cases were tried by jury, almost no one would be prosecuted...

    Besides, what 16 year old has $30,000? That's more than most 16 year olds make in two years of working - why not throw him in jail for two years? The average bank robbery nets $5,000 or so - has he really done the equivalent of 6 bank robberies?
    • by gnasher719 (869701) on Thursday February 01, 2007 @06:27AM (#17841118)
      '' .is if you steal a $15 cd from a store, you have a right to a trial by jury, but if you're accused of stealing $30,000 of music online, it's only a civil case... ''

      He isn't accused of stealing $30,000 worth of music. He is accused of stealing $40 worth of music, and they want $30,000 in damages for that.
  • What now? (Score:3, Funny)

    by d0sb00t (993011) on Thursday February 01, 2007 @09:29AM (#17842602)
    -RIAA, order of events-


    *RIAA finds downloaded music*
    RIAA - "let's go sue the mother"
    *RIAA looses case*
    RIAA - "let's go sue the kids!"
    *RIAA eventually looses this case as well*
    RIAA - "hmmm... who are we going to sue next?.. Hey! They have a cat!"


    Good thing they didn't have a baby...

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