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Class Action Suit Against RIAA Can Proceed 133

Posted by Zonk
from the nothing-but-net dept.
fourohfour writes "Ars Technica is running a story on Tanya Andersen, who was awarded attorney fees in September of last year after the RIAA dropped their case against her. The RIAA subsequently appealed that award, but a US District Court judge yesterday not only upheld the award, but also upheld the dismissal of her counterclaims without prejudice. They may now be heard as part of a malicious prosecution lawsuit against the RIAA. Andersen is seeking class action status for her lawsuit, so that anyone else who has not engaged in illegal file sharing but has been threatened with legal action by the RIAA may join in. This is the case that alleges that the RIAA attempted to contact Andersen's then eight-year-old daughter under false pretenses without her permission."
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Class Action Suit Against RIAA Can Proceed

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  • Well... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Artaxs (1002024) on Thursday January 17, 2008 @02:07PM (#22083602)
    ...even though the lawyers will take the lion's share of the money awarded in such a lawsuit, I hope that the sum awarded the plaintiffs is large enough to deter the MAFIAA from prosecuting under such dubious "John Doe" discoveries in the future.

    • Re:Well... (Score:5, Funny)

      by CodeBuster (516420) on Thursday January 17, 2008 @02:36PM (#22083964)
      Haaaaar! The cutlasses be honed an' th' boardin' hooks be ready, plunder an' plenty o' booty await us when th' mafiaa ship be finally taken a prize.
      • by spun (1352)
        Haaaar, matey, ye be wantin' none o' that mafiaa booty, yer be getting the drippy pox thataway! Thar mafiaa captains be spendin all thar ill gotten gains on ladies o' ill repute, I hear.
  • by Finallyjoined!!! (1158431) on Thursday January 17, 2008 @02:09PM (#22083634)

    so that anyone else who has not engaged in illegal file sharing but has been threatened with legal action by the RIAA may join in.

    Counts us all out then :-)
    • by mlwmohawk (801821) on Thursday January 17, 2008 @02:14PM (#22083682)
      It all depends on what is *really* legal vs what they say is illegal. These bastards have so muddied the waters that even judges don't know anymore.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Remember that you are innocent in the eyes of the law until you are proven guilty. Have you been convicted?
        • by xannash (861526) on Thursday January 17, 2008 @02:38PM (#22083994)
          Actually I think you have it backwards. You are guilty in the eyes of the law until proven innocent. Why else would they arrest someone and hold them in jail awaiting the trial. If you were presumed to be innocent then you would be free to go do as you pleased because everyone believes you to be innocent until proven otherwise. In fact the whole thing is an oxymoron, how can one say that "we presume you to be innocent, yet we must believe that you are guilty otherwise we wouldn't be trying to prove that you were guilty"
          • If people were really "guilty before proven innocent," then bail would not exist.
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by geminidomino (614729) *
              Ah, so you're "innocent until proven guilty if you've got an extra $500,000 lying around"

              Gotcha.
              • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                by milsoRgen (1016505)

                Ah, so you're "innocent until proven guilty if you've got an extra $500,000 lying around"


                Actually in most areas, if not all, you merely have to pay a percentage of the bail amount set by the judge. I believe 10% is the going rate.
                I'm from Oregon where they don't have bail bondsmen and you simply pay your percent to the jail itself. So I'm not sure how the rest of the country operates.
                • It varies from state to state, but in a lot of areas you pay 10% to the court or a bail bondsmen. Financing is sometimes available by both too.
              • by gormanly (134067)

                Yup. Just like the London Police Inspector (same rank as Lieutenant in the US) who was bailed [bbc.co.uk] in September - innocent until proven guilty, he paid £200,000 (~ US$400,000) to walk around free while awaiting trial for the strangling of his wife with a cable tie.

                He used the time to shoot dead his wife's mother, then kill himself with the same gun ...

                • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                  by ajs (35943)

                  He used the time to shoot dead his wife's mother, then kill himself with the same gun ...

                  So, you're advocating swifter justice? Locking people up without a trial? What?

                  If you wish to protect the rights of the masses, then you must accept that you'll take some losses as a result. If losses are not acceptable, then take away the rights. Only problem is... it won't be YOU taking away said rights, it will be whoever can get their hands on the most power the fastest under a system of brutal repression... but if that's what you'd prefer, far be it for me to stop you from voting for whoever promises

                  • by gormanly (134067)

                    So, you're advocating swifter justice? Locking people up without a trial? What?

                    Um, swifter justice would be good, yes. As would locking people charged with murder up before - not the same thing as without - trial.

                    I wasn't advocating anything, just disapproving of those exceptional cases where someone with access to lots of money, or with a previously good character, can get bail despite being accused of a heinous crime.

                    And seriously? You think that by commenting on a foolish judicial decision (and ther

                    • by ajs (35943)

                      Um, swifter justice would be good, yes.

                      How do you get both swift and fair?

                      As would locking people charged with murder up before - not the same thing as without - trial.

                      The reason we don't do this, of course, is because it can take quite some time to get to trial. We can increase the pace of that phase, but then your example would have been that some killer went free and killed again because the prosecutor didn't have enough time to put together his case.

                      We tread a very fine line between trampling on the rights of the accused (who are often innocent) and putting the public at risk. There are many variables, and the only thing that's rea

                • by AGMW (594303)
                  Two things:-
                  1) He must have really hated his Mother-in-Law. Sure, she was apparently going to give evidence against him w.r.t. his wife's demise, but knowing he was going to top himself, it was above and beyond the call of duty to off the MiL first!

                  2) I guess we'll never know if he was guilty of killing his wife now!

          • by zotz (3951)
            "If you were presumed to be innocent then you would be free to go do as you pleased because everyone believes you to be innocent until proven otherwise."

            I get your overall drift, but this doesn't follow. Being presumed innocent has nothing to do with what everyone believes of the situation.

            Plus, even being found not guilty after a trial does not mean that you were in fact innocent.

            all the best,

            drew
            • by AGMW (594303)
              Plus, even being found not guilty after a trial does not mean that you were in fact innocent.

              The interesting flip-side to this is that being found guilty doesn't actually mean you are guilty! This is something people sometimes have trouble with, and yet the opposite is accepted.

              • by zotz (3951)
                This is certainly true, innocent people can be and are found guilty.

                So, being found not guilty or guilty speaks to your state before the law, not to your state in fact. Right?

                The law presumes you innocent. You may actually be innocent or you may actually be guilty.

                The law then finds you guilty... You may actually be innocent or you may actually be guilty.

                or...

                The law then finds you no guilty... You may actually be innocent or you may actually be guilty.

                all the best,

                drew
          • You must be found guilty before you can be sentenced to a punishment for a crime, which is what is referred to in the phrase "innocent until proven guilty". Being arrested and held before trial isn't a punishment, it's the means by which you are compelled to face trial. We do operate under the expectation that those suspected of crimes are forced to face trial. The force involved varies, but it mostly consists of taking control of your person, or of your money until the trial is complete.
            • Aaah, but then there's the other fun topics concerning the bail. Like how if you post a 10% bond for someone, even if they are proven 100% innocent of the crime, the clerk will then take 10% of the 10% you posted. Read that again to make sure you get it: Even if you're proven innocent, they take money from you because you didn't post the whole thing. I have heard they've started tacking a "tax" on full-cash bonds as well but I've taken to completely avoiding courthouses so I can't verify that.
              • by Zordak (123132)
                Criminal defendants do not prove that they are innocent. In fact, they do not have to affirmatively prove anything at all. It is fairly common for criminal defense attorneys to not present a case. Instead, they will simply argue to the jury that the prosecutor has not met his burden. The burden is always on the prosecutor to prove that the defendant is guilty. He either carries that burden or he doesn't. If he doesn't, then you are not found guilty (which is probably more accurate than "found not guil
            • by AJWM (19027)
              In fact, people are routinely released "on their own recognizance", ie, nothing more than a promise to show up for the trial, if the offense is relatively minor and they think you probably will show up.

              Consider traffic tickets, for example -- you sign a promise to show up for trial (or to plead guilty by mail and pay the fine) when you accept the ticket. If you don't sign, the cop can and probably will haul you off to jail.
              • by init100 (915886)

                In fact, people are routinely released "on their own recognizance", ie, nothing more than a promise to show up for the trial, if the offense is relatively minor and they think you probably will show up.

                I don't think that the severity is very relevant. What is relevant is that you are not a danger to other people, you are not in a position to destroy evidence, you are not likely to leave town and you are likely to show up in court.

                • by darthflo (1095225)
                  Severity is the most important factor of 'em all. If you're faced with a trial for some speeding under good circumstances your case isn't severe, so your punishment probably won't be either. If charges include mass murder, rape or copyright infringement, your expectancy to get out of it with less than a few life sentences are few to none. Chances are, you're not going to contine the life you've been leading. Many would probably prefer the life of a professional tequila drinker in Mexico to the one of a long
            • by AGMW (594303)
              We do operate under the expectation that those suspected of crimes are forced to face trial.

              Well, not always of course. It is perfectly acceptable to hole someone up in Gitmo for years without trial. But of course, that's different isn't it.

          • "You are guilty in the eyes of the law until proven innocent."

            "In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district where in the crime shall have been committed..." - 6th Amendment of the United States Constitution

            I can't see no "presumption" that court must give prosecuted the benefit of doubt with presumption of "innocent" nor presumption of "guilty". Matter of fact, that would be prejudice in both regards.

            Why else w
            • Jury of your peer will say, "Hmm... this jury duty really sucks."

              I've been called for jury duty twice but wasn't picked either tyme to serve on a jury. And I was hoping to be picked to serve on a jury deciding a drug case. I wanted to use the third box in protecting liberty, the first two being the soap and ballot boxes and the fourth the ammo box.

              Falcon
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by Oddster (628633)
            The phrase "innocent until proven guilty" is not a statement of what is the truth. It is a statement of legal status.
        • by Dr_Art (937436)

          Remember that you are innocent in the eyes of the law until you are proven guilty. Have you been convicted?
          These cases are in civil court, where matters are decided "by a preponderance of the evidence" (i.e., defendants must prove innocence as much as the plaintiffs must prove guilt). The "innocent until proven guilty" and "conviction" applies in criminal court.

          Regards,
          Art
          • by plague3106 (71849)
            Its not as clear cut anymore, when they consider a traffic violations a "civil" offense.
          • No, even in civil trials, the plaintiff still bears the burden of persuasion. If he cannot make a prima facie case, then the defendant wins by default. What is different is that the standard changes. In a criminal trial, he must prove his allegations beyond a reasonable doubt in order to make the prima facie case; in a civil trial, the standard is far lower, and he only has to show that his allegations are more likely than not, even if only infinitesimally so. Since it's easier to show that modest amount of
      • by Gadgetfreak (97865) on Thursday January 17, 2008 @02:25PM (#22083832)
        Well, it depends on what the meaning of the word 'is' is.

      • by matria (157464)
        I occasionally download books of interest, but all I ever have "available" in my shared folder is a set of Edgar Rice Burrough's Mars books. So if "distribution" is the illegal act, I'm not doing anything illegal.
      • by arbiter1 (1204146)
        that is so true they have made it so that almost every type of digital copy of music is illegal less it was bought from like itunes or some other store. Most judges don't even know the difference if they were anymore so i hope they win the case even if the lawyer takes most the money it would stick a sword were the sun don't shine on the riaa and maybe make them think twice on their lawsuits upcoming.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        It all depends on what is *really* legal vs what they say is illegal. These bastards have so muddied the waters that even judges don't know anymore.

        Claim what you will of the RIAA. There's no doubt that they have lied and mislead to their utmost ability. But to claim that THEY are the ones who are responsible for the muddied waters misses the fact that the Judges are the ones who are making a final determination in many cases. It is the Judges whom are to blame even more than the RIAA. The Judges do not nee

    • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

      by wall0159 (881759)
      Does making those kind of confessions on a public (and probably traceable) forum bother you?
      • by Firehed (942385) on Thursday January 17, 2008 @02:37PM (#22083976) Homepage
        He was modded funny rather than insightful, so it can't be used as evidence.

        Which is a good thing, since it would be evidence against all of us.

        No, I'm not worried.

        Seriously.
      • Firstly I'm in the UK, the RIAssA et al can stuff themselves.

        Secondly I don't share music. (Yep, that's a full stop!) I'm able to afford to buy any that I take a fancy to. Haven't bought a CD for almost a year now though, prefer to switch on the radio.

        Pr0n OTOH :-)

        Bonus: We now have the BBC streaming iPlayer, who could ask for anything more?
        • Better watch out about the Pr0n. Apparently a bunch of the larger production companies have started prosecuting PornTube and a couple others that I've never heard of. Hope they don't hit my favorite pr0n torrent site.
  • by blind biker (1066130) on Thursday January 17, 2008 @02:10PM (#22083646) Journal
    I was waiting for this to happen, and finally, it did. Now, my mind races forward, to the end of the suit, maybe decades ahead: up to how much money can the RIAA be held accountable for? What I mean is, how much money can they be fined till they are bankrupt? Can (or should) the RIAA member companies actually pay the fine - in which case we're talking much larger sums?
    • End Result (Score:5, Funny)

      by sconeu (64226) on Thursday January 17, 2008 @02:17PM (#22083718) Homepage Journal
      The end result?

      RIAA loses. Everyone gets a coupon worth $1 off the latest (DRM laden) Britney Spears CD.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Gadgetfreak (97865)
      how much money can the RIAA be held accountable for?

      Just ever so slightly more than the lawyers will charge for their services...

    • by Gat0r30y (957941) on Thursday January 17, 2008 @02:22PM (#22083796) Homepage Journal

      Can (or should) the RIAA member companies actually pay the fine - in which case we're talking much larger sums?

      This is a great question. Will the member companies use the RIAA like an umbrella company saying that the liability is the RIAA's or will they take responsibility for filing these frivolous suits?
      More to the point, these suits are filed as Record Label vs. some poor joe not as RIAA vs. right? This case is Atlantic vs. Anderson, is Atlantic responsible for the damages? It would certainly seem to me that the RIAA cant claim all the liability when Atlantic's name is on the suit. Any Lawyers out there who know whether the RIAA can be used as an umbrella to protect the label from liability in this kind of litigation?
      • by Doc Daneeka (1107345) on Thursday January 17, 2008 @03:41PM (#22084862)
        IANAL, but if the RIAA were to claim liability for the damages to minimize the losses taken by Atlantic, wouldn't that make all member organizations culpable?

        The way I see it is Atlantic and the RIAA have two choices:
        1) Atlantic takes full responsibility for being a part of an organization that brings spurious claims to court and is the only business to be responsible for damages.
        2) The RIAA attempts to intercede, or Atlantic tries to shift blame towards the RIAA, and forces all members of the RIAA to be culpable due to collusion.

        Just one last note, the RIAA cannot bring the cases against the alleged copy-right violators because they do not have standing to sue as they are not directly harmed financially by the "infringement". If they did have standing to sue in place of their member businesses then that would make the argument for collusion, price fixing, and monopolization essentially set in stone.
    • by riseoftheindividual (1214958) on Thursday January 17, 2008 @02:30PM (#22083908) Homepage
      This is going to be the best litigation show on slashdot since the Sco vs. Novell chronicles.
      • I hope you're right. Let's hope it actually does begin (the suit has not been filed, yet), and that it ends fairly quickly. That is, before the end of the next decade.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by lucky130 (267588)
      Something to remember is that RIAA isn't a company, as such, but a collection of companies.
    • I have a letter from CA Attorney General Bill Lockyer from Feb 1994 posted above my desk telling me how pleased he is to bring settlement to the CD pricing antitrust litigation that was brought against the record companies as a class-action suit. Basically, they decided to settle rather than fight the allegations in court. The result was that I got a check for $13 after I entered a claim, which supposedly offsets the millions they made in illegal collusion on pricing. I'm sure the biggest expense was the la
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 17, 2008 @02:14PM (#22083690)
    Trying to contact the young daughter without permission, what did they do, offer her candy to get into a van with them? RIAA-pedos.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Trying to contact the young daughter without permission, what did they do, offer her candy to get into a van with them? RIAA-pedos.

      Everybody knows that no amount of counseling will cure a person, unless that person's a congressman, then he'll go through rehab and be cured.
  • by The Queen (56621) on Thursday January 17, 2008 @02:18PM (#22083744) Homepage
    From TFA: "Her complaint contains some very disturbing allegations, including one that labels attempted to contact her then eight-year-old daughter under false pretenses without Andersen's permission."

    Hi, Sally, this is Mr. Nice calling, is your mommy home? No? Good... I mean, uh, well then can I just talk to you for a minute instead? Tell me Sally, how would you feel about living with a foster family after we toss your mommy in the clink? I mean, she's subjecting you to gangsta rap, for Heaven's sakes, we'd be doing you a favor!
    • Taking advantage of an eight year old girl, which is about as innocent a it gets in the eyes of a jury, and especially when those taking advantage are weaselly lawyers working for the entertainment industry, is about as low as one can go. If I were on the legal team bringing the class action against the RIAA and their big label backers then I would hit this weak spot again and again and again during the trial until they cry uncle and agreed to settle.
    • by thomas.galvin (551471) <slashdot&thomas-galvin,com> on Thursday January 17, 2008 @04:24PM (#22085494) Homepage

      From TFA: "Her complaint contains some very disturbing allegations, including one that labels attempted to contact her then eight-year-old daughter under false pretenses without Andersen's permission."
      If memory serves, mommy explicitly denied them access to her daughter, and the RIAA then called the school, pretending to be her grandmother or something, hoping to get her to confess over the phone.
    • From TFA: "Her complaint contains some very disturbing allegations, including one that labels attempted to contact her then eight-year-old daughter under false pretenses without Andersen's permission."

      Hi, Sally, this is Mr. Nice calling, is your mommy home? No? Good... I mean, uh, well then can I just talk to you for a minute instead? Tell me Sally, how would you feel about living with a foster family after we toss your mommy in the clink? I mean, she's subjecting you to gangsta rap, for Heaven's sakes, we'
  • by Ohio Calvinist (895750) on Thursday January 17, 2008 @02:19PM (#22083750)
    I would hope that the Malicious Procecution judgement would make it easier to procescute under RICO statues, given that the extortion has been proven in a court of law, and that the class action suit would further canonize the scope of their extortions into case law. I'm not a lawyer, but it seemed like the Federal case against Michael Vick made the state's case and open and shut event. This seems like the same kind of thing.

    Then they should hammer the media companies on conspiracy charges because they are the ones knowingly financing the RIAAs shenanagins, that have already been proven illegal.
  • Unless those RIAA Jerkoffs are eventually dressed in orange jumpsuits. If current Class Action precedent holds, the plaintiffs will all get coupons for a free Britney Spears album as compensation while the lawyers clean up!
    • by RingDev (879105) on Thursday January 17, 2008 @02:31PM (#22083914) Homepage Journal
      Depending on the scope of the penalty, it may make more individual labels re-evaluate the risk-to-reward ratio that being a member of the RIAA represents.

      IOW, this could be yet another nail in the coffin of the RIAA. The bright side is that it could lead to a wider variety of marketing schemes, competition, and better prices for the consumer. The dark side is that it will likely just turn into a series of buyouts until we wind up dealing with the 'Ma Bell' of the recording labels that owns everything that used to be other major labels. But that's capitalism for ya, surf on.

      -Rick
  • by Weaselmancer (533834) on Thursday January 17, 2008 @02:32PM (#22083940)

    We have an article about how a class action suit can proceed against the RIAA. Scroll down a bit and there is a story about Microsoft opening up their binary formats. For free. Download them from their webpage. Scroll down a bit more and there is an article about a trial finally being set to see what SCO owes Novell.

    What gives?

    Did I slip through some wormhole in space and land in a universe where wishes are granted? Is it April 1st? Next thing I expect to see is a release date for Duke Nukem Forever.

    I may just buy some lottery tickets on the way home tonight, just to see if the streak continues.

    • Did you see the rain last night? All those donuts are rotting in the street!
    • Well the DNF team did release a new teaser at Christmas, and had previously stated they wouldn't start releasing media until they were within a year of release...

      Time to check hells thermostat maybe..
    • by Kjella (173770)
      So the allegations weren't dismissed... big whoop, just like every other minor procedural error or mistake the RIAA makes is a "big win". SCO's case wasn't dismissed either, it's a wiiiiiiiiide needleeye to pass. Microsoft slowly gives an inch while they take a foot in securing new monopolies. Finally, SCOs death will be covered on a regular basis for several months to come. What's so new and unique about this? I saw the same last month and expect to see the same next month. Hopefully next *year* SCO will f
      • Ok. Bitter retorts, sarcasm, and soul crushing pessimism. We're back to normal.

        I was worried there for a moment.

      • Hopefully next *year* SCO will finally be dead, dead, dead but by then I figure it'll be replaced by some Microsoft patent FUD. In other words, business as usual.

        This is MS patent FUD, MS is just using SCO as a surrogate.

        Falcon
  • by Nukenbar (215420) on Thursday January 17, 2008 @02:39PM (#22084004)
    The title of the story seems to indicate that a class action suit is underway against the RIAA. That is not the case. The judge's dismissal of the case without prejudice simply means that she can now file a lawsuit and attempt to have her class certified. Class certification is a very complicated process and probably won't happen.
  • by Cathoderoytube (1088737) on Thursday January 17, 2008 @02:51PM (#22084140)
    Unfortunately with the ludicrous lawsuit the people of New Orleans filed against the federal government (I mean in terms of how much money they want), other lesser lawsuits will surely be ignored just on their lack of ostentatiousness.
    The only way the class action suit against the RIAA can make any progress is if they sue for One novemdecillion dollars!!
    Just the name of the number itself inspires awe.

    Think about it.
    • by lmpeters (892805)
      Let's see...that would be $1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000?
  • by iamacat (583406) on Thursday January 17, 2008 @02:51PM (#22084146)
    Contacting children for legal or financial matters without consent and presence of a legal guardian should carry mandatory jail time for those responsible, at least if their age was apparent at the time of the transaction. It's easy to see how an 8 year old can be persuades to give out parents' credit card numbers, incriminate themselves needlessly, give false testimony in exchange for promise of a shiny new gadget and otherwise be exploited by a malicious adult. This is a far more serious matter than copyright infringement which only results in a financial loss of trivial amounts of money.
    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      This is a far more serious matter than copyright infringement ... under a rational, just system of law (i.e. one which is understandable by the common man).
    • Think about the psychological damage to the child if there were negative consequences of such revelations - either directly or through the damage of the child-parent relationship.

      Yeah, jail would be nice - with a lot of soap that is just too slippery to hang on to in the shower..
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by freedom_india (780002)
      It does. If the child complains she was "solicited" then the FBI swoops in before you can say "my as..."
      I expect the mother to ask her child testify in court and the 8 yr old stating a male voice called her under false pretenses and "solicited" her. She does not even need to understand the meaning; Just say the voice called her about "soliciting" something...

      And then leave it to child molester lawyers and public prosecutors....

      Before the RIAA lawyers can board a plane to Brazil... they would be enjoying the
      • by splutty (43475)

        Before the RIAA lawyers can board a plane to Brazil... they would be enjoying the soothing attentions of bubba in a max-security hold up cell..

        That is a very dangerous things to say. I'd call this incitement to crime. I mean, why wouldn't a lot of readers of Slashdot commit a crime to be rewarded with 1 month in prison with these RIAA lawyers..

        Seriously. You should think before making these kinds of comments. Very very dangerous here.. Probably more dangerous would be giving out the actual prison they'd be

  • by CF4L (1072112) on Thursday January 17, 2008 @02:56PM (#22084220)
    From TFA: "Her complaint contains some very disturbing allegations, including one that labels attempted to contact her then eight-year-old daughter under false pretenses without Andersen's permission."

    RIAA: Hello little girl...

    Chris Hansen: I'm Chris Haaaaansen ... what are you doing? Why don't you have a seat over there.
  • by Nom du Keyboard (633989) on Thursday January 17, 2008 @03:02PM (#22084302)
    All of a sudden, being sued by the RIAA might turn out not to be a bad thing at all.

    Unless, of course, the settlement is 5 coupons for CD's.

    • Heh, more like coupons for DRM laden downloads of music for your .
    • by splutty (43475)
      Let's assume $750 per song. Let's assume a CD is 10 songs, so a CD is $7.5K.

      Now.. Say she gets a settlement of $7.5M. The RIAA only has to give her 1000 Britney CDs and their obligations have been paid.

      See. Easy. RIAA never loses.
  • Class elements (Score:5, Informative)

    by debrain (29228) on Thursday January 17, 2008 @03:10PM (#22084406) Journal
    That appears to be a good thing, but I do not think it will necessarily be an easy class to certify. While each jurisdiction with class action legislation has its own version of the following, often with rather concise tests for each element, the general idea is as follows:

    A court will certify a class proceeding where there is:
    1. An identifiable group
    2. With a cause of action that has a triable issue
    3. With an appropriate class representative
    4. Whom all have common issues
    5. and Whose conflict is best resolved by a class action.

    In this case, on 1:
    Is the identifiable group people who have been sued by the RIAA? The more it is a subset of individuals who have not just been sued by the RIAA, but a subset of that group that has suffered other behaviour and that other behaviour is key to the group, the less identifiable the group is (so to speak).

    On 2:
    Is there a cause of action for just being sued by the RIAA? If everything that the plaintiff pleads is true, and this would not give rise to a legal judgment, then the action may be dismissed at certification. This is often just a screener to certification of frivolous claims, and some jurisdictions do not have it.

    On 3:
    Is this lady the best class representative? Can she fund the litigation (in part, though not to the end)? Does she have any interests averse to that of the class?

    On 4:
    If the case requires more details of how the RIAA treated each individual, then there's an argument that the individual issues predominate over the common ones.

    The stronger the case that the RIAA bringing a suit against any individual gives rise to legal remedy,the more the RIAA had a documented pattern of behaviour, the better.

    On 5:
    If a class proceeding is not the "best" way to resolve a conflict, sometimes it will not be certified. Alternatives including bringing a test case, individual cases, and alternative dispute resolution.

    Again, the tests vary significantly from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, but that's the general framework of the hurdle that the plaintiff will have to get over in order to certify her action as a class action.
  • I wonder (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Dancindan84 (1056246) on Thursday January 17, 2008 @03:22PM (#22084556)
    The RIAA uses a ridiculous method of determining damages per violation. They value damages at $750/song. If the defendants use similar inflation, the RIAA could be accountable for a lot. Anyone know how many people they've accused? And how many songs? I hope the courts don't store damages in a 32-bit float.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      They do damages at $750/song because that is the bare minimum of damages per item that can be enforced in court when dealing with copyright infrigement. They could have gone much higher.

      They're still evil baby eaters, but just saying that the damages are the absolute least they can take in court.
  • by pyrr (1170465) on Thursday January 17, 2008 @05:39PM (#22086580)
    ...is to have the RIAA compensate this individual for the full copyright-violation value of every last song they alleged that she infringed on. The law should have no mercy, just as they've argued Jammie should have none, and they must pay around $10,000 per song for every song they alleged that Tanya downloaded and shared. Maybe even treble damages, in that their investigation and prosecution was allegedly malicious. After all, if they refused to listen to reason and harassed this woman and her daughter for months, and screwed-up their lives and forced the woman to risk what few assets she has to pay for lawyers, it's only right that the judgment stings the RIAA and the record companies that collaborated with them just as they were trying to sting the woman they victimized. There should be no lawsuits of the nature of what the RIAA pursues without substantial risk should they lose because they failed to do their due diligence in building an airtight case.
  • Isn't this everyone? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by mopower70 (250015)
    Aren't you, simply by virtue of the fact of being in possession of RIAA "controlled materials" constantly under threat of falling under one of their malicious and frivolous lawsuits? It's bad enough that I've started looking for their stamp on any music I buy and refusing to purchase anything with their seal of approval - solely based on the fear of becoming a victim of one of their lawsuits.

    I'll take my check in a large please.

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