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RIAA Sues Stroke Victim in Michigan 328

Posted by Zonk
from the finall-a-case-they-can-win dept.
NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "The RIAA has now brought suit against a stroke victim in Michigan in Warner v. Paladuk. The defendant John Paladuk was living in Florida at the time of the alleged copyright infringement, and had notified the RIAA that he had not engaged in any copyright infringement. Despite the fact that Mr. Paladuk suffered a stroke last year (pdf), rendering him disabled, the RIAA commenced suit against him on February 27, 2007. Suing the disabled is not new to the RIAA. Both Atlantic v. Andersen in Oregon and Elektra v. Schwartz in New York were suits brought against disabled people who have never engaged in file sharing, and whose sole income is Social Security Disability. Both of these cases are still pending. The local Michigan lawyer being used by the RIAA in the Paladuk case is the same lawyer who was accused by a 15 year old girl of telling her what to say at her deposition in Motown v. Nelson. In the Warner v. Scantlebury case, after the defendant died during the lawsuit, the same lawyer indicated to the court that he was going to give the family '60 days to grieve' before he would start deposing the late Mr. Scantlebury's children."
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RIAA Sues Stroke Victim in Michigan

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  • And of course (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Timesprout (579035) on Saturday March 17, 2007 @01:11AM (#18383301)
    We all know the ill and disable are pure of heart, love their moms and are made of kitten whiskers. Slashdot is getting seriously pathetic trotting out extremist nonsense like this.
    • Re:And of course (Score:4, Insightful)

      by tsa (15680) on Saturday March 17, 2007 @02:15AM (#18383551) Homepage
      Who modded this flamebait? Disabled people can be criminals too you know.
      • by rolfwind (528248)
        Criminal? You know what, if the guy is alleged to commit murder before his stroke, I wouldn't be so willing to give him a free pass.

        But considering this isn't a criminal trial, and considering the charges, I am more than willing to give him a free pass. Maybe I'm a bleeding heart.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by tsa (15680)
          The guy being disabled should make no difference whatsoever to the case. It just has nothing to do with it. The fact that he is disabled should not make a difference in the outcome of the trial. And BTW, I agree with you that the RIAA are moronic retarded greedy bastards etc. I wonder if they have to pay the legal costs of the defendants when they lose cases like this.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by sumdumass (711423)
      This isn't the first time Slashdot has been a tool to rally the rightous. It won't be the last. Let the kids have their fun...

      And yes, Disabled people could do thing wrong. The objection is that they are on limited income and probably don't have the ability to defend themselves or pay the settlment. Also, people with disabilities are often seen as needing special exceptions. So take it for what it is worth. It does show how low RIAA will go but then again it reflects more on what society values or more like
    • by Weaselmancer (533834) on Saturday March 17, 2007 @03:26AM (#18383817)

      This is an Appeal to Pity. [nizkor.org]

      Yes, we all know the RIAA kills puppies and causes gout. But is it too much to ask to find articles about the RIAA that simply tell the facts as they are about them? They're bad enough, and they'll stand on their own.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Which part of the story isn't factual?
    • Yeah, really.

      This is sensationalist.

      Gosh, I was fired from my job while still not allowed to drive for a few more weeks due to surgery. Call the presses!
  • Evil much (Score:5, Interesting)

    by zeroharmada (1004484) on Saturday March 17, 2007 @01:11AM (#18383303)
    It is times like this that I wish America would switch over to a system where blank media is taxed and they don't prosecute piracy. Sure it might stretch the bottom line for the Mafiaa, but wouldn't it be beneficial to society at large? Hopefully in a decade or so it will be a big enough hot-button topic to spur actual political change. Until then keep it up RIAA... if you stop being the stereotypical evil corporation all we will have left to overthrow when the revolution comes is Microsoft :-)
    • by bconway (63464) *
      It is times like this that I wish America would switch over to a system where blank media is taxed and they don't prosecute piracy.

      Why not do both? I'm surprised we're behind Canada on this one.
      • It is times like this that I wish America would switch over to a system where blank media is taxed and they don't prosecute piracy.

        Why not do both?...

        Or most of both: tax the media and prosecute large scale piracy.

        It works with books. People who illegally do large production runs of coprighted material are almost almost always prosecuted, but those who xerox a few pages - or even a whole textbook - seldom are. Prosecute the large scale copiers and the small scale copiers will be discrete. Publishers don't suffer much from the small copier.
        And while there is no significant tax on paper, the intrinsic cost of it functions much like a tax.
        The US b

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by sumdumass (711423)
          Do you understand this logic?

          Distributing something across the internet would be considered large scal productions. If you have a torrent and there are 20 people leaching from your half downloaded song and then you leave the torrent for a week, you have effectivly let several thousand people have the song. You are a large scale producer/pirater. And you need to get it from somewhere so you will need to have some large scale pirating system set up to get the ball rolling.

          Otherwise, you have exactly what we h
    • Re:Evil much (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Seumas (6865) on Saturday March 17, 2007 @01:30AM (#18383381)
      I should totally be taxed on something I intend to store family photos on or backup my legally purchased digital downloads on and that profit should go right to the RIAA and MPAA and BSA who have nothing to do with the medium and content I'm placing on it.
    • by idobi (820896)
      Blank media is taxed. Google Audio Home Recording Act of 1992.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by cpt kangarooski (3773)
        But since the AHRA is so rarely applicable due to all of the conditions that go with it (it only works if you use certain, uncommon, media or devices, and only for certain types of works, and only for one type of infringement) that virtually no one is ever shielded by it. It's just not that much good in the modern real world.
    • by bky1701 (979071)
      The RIAA doesn't want that. Personally *I* don't want that (I think I would start buying CDs from Mexico if that happened).

      The RIAA doesn't want it because then they CAN'T complain. They LIKE to complain. In fact I'd dare say that's why they exist.

      The user doesn't want it for obvious reasons.

      Perhaps Canada's *IAA is simply not quite as evil, or more shortsighted, or maybe the government is just less in the pocket of companies.
      • by sumdumass (711423)
        RIAA doesn't want it because their job is to justify why artist aren't getting paid and cover for the record companies taking all the profits.

        Canada passed the law and tax before it became such an issue. It wasn't a direct reaction to internet pirating but rather home recordings. They may have increased it since internet Pirating became an issue but it had nothing to do with it originaly.
    • by sumdumass (711423)
      In the past 10 years I have puchased 3 cds. Before that probably 20 tapes and records. Half of those were used to boot. I don't download any music, I have what I nee and listen to the radio for what I don't have.

      In the same time span, I have went through over 2000 CDs, more floppies then I can count, About 200 DVDs and I don't know how many flash memory cards for various devices. Why should I have to pay more for them so a tax could be collected and given to RIAA, MPAA and whoever else? And What is to stop
    • by MadJo (674225)
      Taxes on blank media to stop these lawsuits? That won't do you any good. It won't stop, they'll just say "well, it's to allow you to make a personal backup copy of a disc you legally own." not to stop suing 'piracy'.

      We in The Netherlands are being taxed on our blank cds and dvds (and they wanted to add taxes on mp3-players, hard drives and flash media as well, though that's been stopped for now by the Dutch government).
      And the only thing that has stopped the rights groups to sue people is this thing called
    • where have you been?

      Copy all the CDs you want, legally!

      17 USC, Chapter 10 [house.gov], Subchapter A, Section 1008 specifically states:
      No action may be brought under this title alleging infringement of copyright based on the manufacture, importation, or distribution of a digital audio recording device, a digital audio recording medium, an analog recording device, or an analog recording medium, or based on the noncommercial use by a consumer of such a device or medium for making digital musical recordings or ana
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by cpt kangarooski (3773)
        No, you can't give them to your friends. That would infringe the distribution right due to an extremely careful bit of rewording of the bill that RIAA got through without anyone really thinking about the effect. You see, the big exception to the distribution right is the first sale exception, which applies to any copy lawfully made under the Copyright Act. But AHRA compliant copies are not lawfully made, technically, they're just not actionably made. That is, they're infringing but no lawsuit can be brought
    • They want a tax on blank media AND prosecute file sharers. That at least is the case in the netherlands and you can see them trying to do the same in canada. Just because the judges have made it "legal" to download in the frozen wastelands of north america does not mean it is legal to upload.

      So no a tax on blank media would NOT be good, not until the RIAA and the likes learn to accept that they cannot have it all.

      What you have to remember is that the RIAA is not so much against file sharing but against an

    • Really, someone should make a documentary or movie about all these lawsuits. I think there is *enough* material for a good documentary and I am sure people in USA would pay more attention if the information was spoon fed by TV.

      Were are the "The Corporation" guys or Michael Moore when he is needed? ...
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by schizoid4 (1062340)
      Let me get this straight: you hate the RIAA, so you want to tax me and give my money to the RIAA? Could you please stop hating the RIAA and hate me instead?
  • by koreth (409849) * on Saturday March 17, 2007 @01:12AM (#18383311)

    Having a stroke and/or receiving disability payments renders one incapable of copyright infringement? Does the BitTorrent client refuse to install if it detects a Social Security check in the vicinity?

    Being disabled isn't evidence of innocence, unless the disability is such that one is incapable of even using a computer. If the guy broke the law, he broke the law. I happen to think the law sucks and needs to be changed post haste, but it sucks for everyone, not just stroke victims and the handicapped.

    In short, the RIAA is as within its rights here as it is in any of its other cases.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by synjck (1069512)
      i generally agree that disability, to a certain degree, does not exempt one from guilt in these cases.

      check out that lawyer, though. ten bucks says he's on the naughty list.
    • by CompMD (522020) on Saturday March 17, 2007 @01:39AM (#18383423)
      I know this because this is slashdot, people rarely actually RTFA, but come on and RTF post at least.

      "...suits brought against disabled people who have never engaged in file sharing..."

      and then RTFA, the guy in this case is half paralyzed, do you think he is spending a lot of time sitting at his computer downloading Christina Aguilera or something? There needs to be a preponderance of evidence in order to proceed with a case. So far you have a guy who probably can't use the bathroom himself who didn't live in the state in which he is accused of committing infringement. Where's that preponderance of incriminating evidence?

      "Evidence of innocence" is pure idiocy, and contrary to the tenets of the judicial system. It is NOT this man's burden to prove his innocence, it is the RIAA's burden to prove him guilty.

      Heh, and the captcha for this is "falsify."
      • by whoever57 (658626) on Saturday March 17, 2007 @01:57AM (#18383475) Journal

        "Evidence of innocence" is pure idiocy, and contrary to the tenets of the judicial system. It is NOT this man's burden to prove his innocence, it is the RIAA's burden to prove him guilty.
        This is not a criminal case and the RIAA are not prosecuting him: they are suing him and the standard is "the balance of probabilities (BOP) also known as the "preponderance of evidence." So, it is up to him to prove his "innocence".
        • by aepervius (535155) on Saturday March 17, 2007 @03:07AM (#18383751)
          How do you prove you did not commit anything ? Find an alibi ? That's right : in most of the case you won't be able to prove you DID NOT commit anything. Proving a negative/absence of crime is illogical and neigh impossible. That should be the RIAA job to prove you commited infringement without reasonable doubt.
          • by digitig (1056110)
            It sucks lsee than any alternative that I know of. The defendant only has to "prove" themselves innocent better than the prosecution proves them guilty; that's what "Balance of probabilities means". If he can prove he wasn't in the State in which it happened, what are the RIAA going to have against him that trumps that?
          • How do you prove you did not commit anything ? Find an alibi ?

            According the way the US justice system is supposed to work - you don't have to prove anything - the prosecution has to prove you committed the crime.

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Kierthos (225954)
          You are correct in that a civil trial uses "preponderance of evidence" rather then "beyond a reasonable doubt", which is the burden in criminal trials.

          However, it is still the burden of the RIAA to prove him civilly liable. It is assumed that the defendant is innocent of any charges leveled against him in a court of law. Not just a court of criminal law, but civil law as well.
        • by mpe (36238)
          This is not a criminal case and the RIAA are not prosecuting him: they are suing him and the standard is "the balance of probabilities (BOP) also known as the "preponderance of evidence."

          The plaintiff still needs to prove their case. The difference is that the standard of proof is lesser than in a criminal case.

          So, it is up to him to prove his "innocence".

          Since proving "innocence" may require proving a negative this isn't very practical. Instead what the accused does is to defend themselves (hence the
      • "...suits brought against disabled people who have never engaged in file sharing..."

        No doubt they claim never to have engaged in file sharing, but that doesn't automatically make it true.
      • by koreth (409849) *

        RTFA, the guy in this case is half paralyzed, do you think he is spending a lot of time sitting at his computer downloading Christina Aguilera or something?

        If I were half paralyzed and unemployed, I'd probably be in front of my computer most of the day. (Hell, I already am, and I'm physically able to get up whenever I want.) Doesn't seem like that outlandish a possibility to me.

        Not saying he's guilty, of course, just that his condition isn't grounds for automatic dismissal of the case the way the story se

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Jekler (626699)

        They're not claiming he pirated music AFTER he had the stroke. The fact that he had a stroke and his alleged pirating could be completely unrelated.

        I don't believe pirating music should be illegal or a civil offense, but I take the laws as they're given to me, and the disabled are not exempt from them.

      • by Quantam (870027)
        I'll let you in on a little secret, but you have to promise not to tell (it's certainly not something that many people know): there is only one truth; regardless of whether anyone knows it, or how many people think how many different things, there is only one truth. "Presumed innocent until proven guilty" is nothing more than a formality to attempt to minimize the probability that an innocent person will be found guilty, given that it isn't always possible for us to know the truth. A criminal is still a cri
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by PhotoGuy (189467)
        and then RTFA, the guy in this case is half paralyzed, do you think he is spending a lot of time sitting at his computer downloading Christina Aguilera or something?

        Ummmmm, the guy is housebound? Do you think he'd do more playing, downloading, etc, on the computer, or less, than the person who has a full time job, kids, goes to the gym, etc., etc.? Of course he probably uses the computer more, as a great outlet considering his disability.

        And while I disagree with current fair use policies, and movie pri
    • by bky1701 (979071)
      The reason it's news is because the RIAA uses the "poor artist" appeal to emotion so much. Poor artist parallelized guy.
      • by bky1701 (979071)
        Gah, the less-than symbol didn't come out, stupid me for not remembering to use the HTML code.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by devnulljapan (316200)
      Of course, this guy's main crime is being poor. If OTOH he was a highly [wikipedia.org] paid [forbes.com] CEO [google.ca], his disability would have automatically disqualify him from legal problems just like this lady [slashdot.org].
    • Being disabled isn't evidence of innocence,

      Gosh, then I guess it's a good thing that innocence doesn't require evidence. Only guilt does.

    • by fyoder (857358)
      They shouldn't be suing their customers AT ALL, never mind the legal shit. When they sue children, the disabled, the dead, and so on it's even worse. It really gets my goat that people will defend these bastards. They have reduced my purchasing of CD's dramatically, and I'm sure I'm not the only one who checks riaaradar.com [riaaradar.com] when considering a CD purchase. What they're doing is not only wicked, it's stupid.
    • I guess (a) you didn't read the article, the part about the guy not having done any file sharing, and (b) you don't know anything about copyright law if you think the RIAA is "within its rights". Who pays you to write this stuff, the RIAA or the MPAA, or both?

      Calling all Slashdot readers: the RIAA trolls are really out in force on this one.

      This is going to be fun.

    • by Lumpy (12016)
      Glad to see you are with the rest of the sheep and ignore that you are supposed to be INNOCENT until proven guilty.

      the RIAA should have to have the burden of proof, but since you support the current legal system of he who has the most money to fight wins..... Well we all know that the poor are evil.

      How dare they soil the air of us that are more fortunate!

  • How Long... (Score:4, Funny)

    by FiniteElementalist (1073824) on Saturday March 17, 2007 @01:15AM (#18383321)
    How long until they start suing dead people? ... They haven't sued dead people, have they?
  • by User 956 (568564) on Saturday March 17, 2007 @01:17AM (#18383333) Homepage
    The RIAA has now brought suit against a stroke victim in Michigan in Warner v. Paladuk.

    And by "stroke victim", they don't mean someone with a medical condition. That's just what they call someone who gets caught downloading a Billy Squier [wikipedia.org] album.
    • by metlin (258108) *
      Or a Sylvester Stallone movie. =)
    • by ArcherB (796902) *
      And by "stroke victim", they don't mean someone with a medical condition. That's just what they call someone who gets caught downloading a Billy Squier album.

      Of course, they could also get Michael Jackson's "Beat It" for the same effect.

      In either case, their next download will have to be "Lick it Up" by Kiss.
  • you know... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by defy god (822637) on Saturday March 17, 2007 @01:21AM (#18383349)

    I've read articles where the RIAA have sued a person who had no computer. Even then, they don't get as much sympathy as someone who has a disability.

    What I really want to see is the RIAA sue someone that is deaf (and MPAA sue someone that is blind). If reported properly, then maybe the general public will finally realize how stupid all these lawsuits are. Instead of being outraged by a nipple on TV, we (the collective we, as a nation) can rise against something that is worth it.

    I know it's a slimeball move to exploit someone with a disability, but if they were to be sued, I'm sure they'd love to go after the MAFIAA as well. You have to fight slimeball moves with slimeball moves.

    • Instead of being outraged by a nipple on TV, we (the collective we, as a nation) can rise against something that is worth it.
      Haha! Oh, defy god, you're so naive.
    • Dream On! (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Look at all the bullshit this nation is willing to put up with!

      Do you really think this means anything?

      The American ideal is dead. We are all just trying to keep our heads down and to survive the machine we have built.
  • Straight to hell huh (Score:4, Informative)

    by pembo13 (770295) on Saturday March 17, 2007 @01:27AM (#18383365) Homepage
    Satan must be a pirate too, cause these guys seem to be trying to get an express ticket to his crib.
  • The "RIAA" (Score:5, Insightful)

    by twilight13 (981666) on Saturday March 17, 2007 @01:28AM (#18383375)
    The more I hear "RIAA" the more I wonder what it's really for. It seems like whenever stuff like this happens, we say the RIAA is suing a stroke victim. The RIAA sues dead people. It seems like the RIAA is doing a great job redirecting all of the bad press for this campaign. To me it looks like Warner is suing this guy, not the RIAA. Let's at least identify who is calling the shots here. Maybe if more people heard about Warner's actions, they would buy CDs from other record labels. (Yes, I know other labels sue people just as much, but it'd be nice if there was some bad press to come with stuff like suing disabled people.)
    • Re:The "RIAA" (Score:5, Insightful)

      by sumdumass (711423) on Saturday March 17, 2007 @03:25AM (#18383813) Journal
      RIAA's job is to create a smoke screen. It is to hide the artist getting screwed by record companies. It wouldn't be too far out there to think they would be protecting the image of the recording companies.

      Artist:"why am in not getting a bunch of money?"
      Record industry: "because everyone is downloading your songs without paying for them instead of buying the CD!"
      Artist: "Are you doing anything about it?"
      Record industry:"Sure, we are going after them thru RIAA.".

      And then the record company laughs before depositing all their profits, They pause to light their cigars with burning 100 dollar bills.
      • RIAA's job is to create a smoke screen.... They pause to light their cigars with burning 100 dollar bills.
        Well, they gotta get the smoke from somewhere...
  • Ob Simpsons (Score:4, Funny)

    by prakslash (681585) on Saturday March 17, 2007 @01:42AM (#18383431)
    The article summary reminded me of The Simpsons:


    Judge: Are you the Sony BMG lawyer who defended the root kit?

    Lawyer: No, that was the Warner lawyer.

    Judge: The same Warner lawyer who indicated to the court that he was going to give the family '60 days to grieve' before he would start deposing?

    Lawyer: No, that was the Motown lawyer

    Judge: The same Motown lawyer who was accused by a 15 year old girl of telling her what to say at her deposition?

    Lawyer: No, that was the Michigan lawyer

    Judge: The same Michigan lawyer brought suits against disabled people who have never engaged in file sharing, and whose sole income is Social Security Disability - a lawyer whose story that has just been posted on slashdot?

    Lawyer:Dohhh!!

  • by AndrewNeo (979708) on Saturday March 17, 2007 @02:05AM (#18383507) Homepage
    I just saw 'RIAA sues victim in Michigan' and thought crap, they're getting closer!
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      And next thing you know, with your website attached to this, and a nifty domain whois, they'll be marching through Saginaw to meet you.
  • RIAA (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ms1234 (211056) on Saturday March 17, 2007 @03:06AM (#18383747)
    Instead of using RIAA start calling it the record labels. Now they're just pushing the bad pr over to an organisation that has nothing to lose.
  • Suing the disabled is not new to the RIAA.


    Understatement of the year brought to you by Slashdot.
  • RIAA are terrorists? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by geoff lane (93738) on Saturday March 17, 2007 @03:57AM (#18383897)
    Why not? Their tactics are intended to scare people into changing their behaviour without regard to the victims involvement in the process. Isn't that the definition of terrorism.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by symes (835608)

      Why not? Their tactics are intended to scare people into changing their behaviour without regard to the victims involvement in the process. Isn't that the definition of terrorism.

      You have a good point here - except that terrorists don't tend you act within the law. But it does raise a related issue. Americans, in particular, have had a long and healthy tradition of taking up arms and fighting against organisations/people who have threatened their rights for freedom. As its beginning to look that the legal issues of downloading are just not what the majority of US citizens want I wonder how long before some slumbering giant is woken?

  • Has anyone ever compared the percentage of the people RIAA has sued that are disabled to the percent of disabled people in the general population?
  • Correction! (Score:2, Redundant)

    by Builder (103701)
    Warner Music are suing this person. Where does it say that the RIAA are suing ?
    • Summons says [ilrweb.com] :

      WARNER BROS. RECORDS INC.; UMG RECORDINGS INC.; SONY BMG MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT; ARISTA RECORDS LLC; and BMG MUSIC

      Those are the big boys of RIAA. Learn 'em, avoid 'em. There's plenty of artists out there who aren't sellouts. I am not a fan of music created in indentured servitude. It ends up sounding plastic and pathetic. And you're likely to disappointed in a live show when you figure out all the "enhancements" they have so blissfully done. Music should come from the heart and not from some c

  • I'm not completely familiar with the US disability system, but I know that in other countries, disability cheques are protected income...they can't be garnished or otherwise taken from the recipient by any means, as the money is legally considered to be the bare minimum the person needs to live. Can the sued guy not just say to the court "Yup, I did it. I'll send the RIAA a cheque as soon as I can afford it." (meaning never)?
    • First off some people have trouble admitting something in court that they did not do. Silly isn't it?

      It would also mean that he owes that money for the rest of his life (even presuming that in the US they have socialist protections against people being forced to live below the bare minimum, hell even in the EU these basic human laws are being torn apart by the servants of evil)

      Imagine he won the lottery or got an inheritance OR even managed to recover, he would then have to pay the RIAA whatever he got fo

  • Public Media (Score:3, Insightful)

    by nurb432 (527695) on Saturday March 17, 2007 @08:33AM (#18384887) Homepage Journal
    This is just insane but it doesn't do much good for us all to sit here and whine about it to ourselves. *we* are not the market that keeps funding these people. Howver, *we* have a responsibility to mobilize and get the word out to the *regular public*. Call every talk show you can print flyers.. Spread the word, while we still have the right of "freespeech" on our side.
  • 1. This story, for some reason, has the RIAA trolls out in droves.

    2. I don't know if it's several of them, or if it's one person with several ID's.

    3. But I'm finding it fun to spot the user ID's that are trolling for the RIAA, and marking them "foe", other than the AC's.

    4. I hope you'll all join in the fun.

    5. I hope those of you with moderation points will play, too.

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