Someone Finally Fighting Back Against RIAA Lawsuits In Court

from the about-time dept

Ever since the RIAA started filing lawsuits directly against people for sharing music online, we've wondered why no one fought back and took the case to court in the US. As the courts in Canada have noted, simply having the IP address of someone you believe to be sharing an unauthorized file isn't enough evidence to prove that person was file sharing. Earlier this year, a US judge, trying to clean up some of the details in the old, old, old Napster case, also specifically noted that making files available is not the equivalent of distributing -- which is what all the RIAA cases charge. However, when presented with the option of just sucking it up and paying $3,000 to $10,000 and going on with your life, or spending time in court, paying lawyers' fees and risking huge fines nearing a million dollars, the prudent choice for many is to simply take the deal. It's almost a form of legalized extortion. Doing the right thing is almost always going to be more expensive and more painful than just giving in. However, Broadband Reports points to the case of one woman who is fighting back and says she's willing to go to court to fight the charges the RIAA has filed against her, because they're not right. She points out that she had never even heard of Kazaa. The details suggest that perhaps a friend of one of her kids was responsible for the file sharing -- but, that certainly suggests that the RIAA got the wrong person. While the internet account may be in this woman's name, the burden should be on the RIAA to prove who did the actual sharing -- not who owns the account. It's the same reason why they can't sue an ISP for someone doing unauthorized file sharing on their system. Meanwhile, the quotes in the article show that, once again, the RIAA (and the reporter) don't even seem to understand the issues being discussed. They repeatedly refer to "illegal downloading," when that isn't even what the RIAA has been filing lawsuits over. They're suing over uploading or sharing -- not downloading. Yet all of the quotes from the RIAA avoid the actual issues raised by this case (how do they prove the woman actually did infringe on their copyrights), and pops out the soundbites about how downloading is evil. In the past, unfortunately, when these types of cases have come up, the RIAA has simply dropped the case and moved on. Hopefully, they won't be allowed to do that in this case -- and will be forced to show how they can get actual evidence that the person they're accusing uploaded an unauthorized file to someone else.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Kevin Mesiab, Aug 16th, 2005 @ 10:49am

    Finally

    This case is paramount. What is required is presidence to clean up these kinds of bully tactics.

    I remember of a story about a lawyer in California who was disbarred after setting up a scheme where-by he threatened to litigate against hundreds of local mom and pop type shops over various minor and often obscure violations. In one case, he threatened several manicure shops for using the same fingernail polish brush on more than one customer.

    He was making tons of money offering settlements because litigation is intimidating and often these small shops didn't have the resources to persue a potentially expensive and lengthy judicial process.

     

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  2.  
    identicon
    Kevin Mesiab, Aug 16th, 2005 @ 10:50am

    Re: Finally

    Maybe it's time for a little peer to peer jurisprudence! ;)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 16th, 2005 @ 12:26pm

    about time

    it is about time that this has happened. I hope she doesn't drop the case and goes after these bastards.
    this is extortion and should not be allowed. the losing money that they claim is bullshit - they still are making gobs of money and meanwhile the people who steal their music will always find a way to steal their music no matter what.
    the only people that pay are the people who are honest and don't try to hide from them.
    it is about time all this nonsense comes to an end and gets them where it hurts - the pocket. I hope she goes after them and bars them from doing this crap to honest people.

     

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  4.  
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    Cliff, Aug 16th, 2005 @ 3:34pm

    Re: about time

    OK, so how about everybody on /. donate $5 to first person who actually gets the RIAA into court? Anybody want to setup the trust account? My PayPal funds are ready...

     

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  5.  
    identicon
    Cliff, Aug 16th, 2005 @ 3:37pm

    Re: about time

    OK, I was asleep at the newsfeed...

    How about everyone at TechDirt *and* /. donate $5?

     

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  6.  
    identicon
    John, Aug 19th, 2005 @ 1:34am

    Re: about time

    I wish the artists themselves would get smart. All of the money RIAA gets goes not even go to them as they claim but goes to extort more people. The artists should do as the EFF recommended... Release their music directly to P2P and the P2P companies charge $5 a month for unlimited access. Then the artists have almost no overhead cost since it is recorded digitally and released that way. They save having to pay labels and RIAA to promote and protect them. There are already agencies who monitor which files are most commonly downloaded so each artist would get a portion according to how many people are downloading...the more popular the more available. Then RIAA and the labels can quietly go the way of the dinosaurs. I say everyone write their favorite artists and suggest this as they would get all the money they deserve then. They want money from us then they should get it the right way instead of through scare tactics. Hitler and Stalin tried that method and look where it got them.

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    Jeff, Aug 30th, 2005 @ 9:53am

    RIAA and filesharing

    Here's some commentary from someone who really knows what she's talking about ... a performing songwriter with a financial stake in this, Janis Ian says filesharing does NOT hurt business.
    http://www.janisian.com/article-internet_debacle.html

     

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  8.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Aug 30th, 2005 @ 1:04pm

    Re: RIAA and filesharing

    Yeah, we've written about Janis Ian a few times before...

     

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  9.  
    identicon
    Renae Makoto, Jan 19th, 2006 @ 7:57am

    The RIAA sueing targets are not the people

    In my own opinion, though profound this may seem to you, but listen to what I must say on behalf of other frequent shareholders on the 'free' basis when it comes to finding the right music to enjoy.

    I believe RIAA should lay off on companies if not also the people who are hosting such sharing. Sharing is not actually illegal, from my point of view. It's more of a trade. Like cards. People in the households, spend already enough money to have the service provided to them. (Technically, that's just to get on the highway of Internet.) If downloading child pornography is wrong, why should music? Artists take the risk and I believe they should be thankful that they are popular today. Otherwise, why would we not love their music if we can't hear it ourselves and then be the judge of that? If we love the songs so much, we can go and get the cd if that be it the case, but why spend 14-22 dollars on a CD with just one song you like, when you can get that one song that someone is basically 'sharing' it with you? It's almost like saying we couldn't record songs from the radio onto a tape because that's 'stealing', when we did it all the time?

    If they want to sue someone, sue the person who invented the recordable DVD's and CD's.

    Thank you.

     

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  10.  
    identicon
    foofdawg, Feb 18th, 2006 @ 3:17pm

    Who?

    I keep hearing about the RIAA and now that I think about it, who the heck are they? The way it's reported, they represent all of the recording companies, or almost all of the important ones anyways. I'm not quite sure how all of this works.

    My question is: When the RIAA sues someone, and settles with a fee, does it go back to the original artist, I mean, the one who had their music stolen? I strongly doubt it. It just goes back to the RIAA, so they can sue others and as they put it "foster a business and legal climate that supports and promotes our members' creative and financial vitality". That sounds a lot to me like they are going to sue the shit out of anybody they can to turn a profit, on the behalf of these other people, that have rightful claim to the moneys.

    And how can they sue someone for "file-sharing" if they as a whole are not the ones with the purported damages? Shouldn't each individual recording artist or company with the rights be suing? Maybe I missed something.........Lost in Florida

    -foofdawg

     

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  11.  
    identicon
    Aimee, May 19th, 2006 @ 11:29am

    lastest LAWSUIT

    Ok yes I am being dragged into court myself and I did not download music nor do I know how to. I am not paying to money because this is wrong. In my case someone used Kazaa in my house and pd for it and now I am being dragged to court as a crimminal. I will not pay 10,000+ to the RIAA for something I did not do. Also I feel that it is wrong for Kazaa, I think that is what it is called, should be held responsible because they make you think there is nothing wrong with what you are doing. I have gone to different sites since this has all happened to me and they all make you think that it is ik to download music. NOt only do they make you think it is ok by they keep sending you emails trying to get you to come back. This is wrong!!!! I am a mother of 2 young children and I know that when they get older they would think that would be ok. I know my little brothers would think that was ok, if I was not going thru this and I went to one of those sites I would think that was ok. If it is not leagle to download then it sould not be leagle to have the sites to do the downloading PERIOD!!!!. If it is illeage then WHY can they put it out there EVERYWHERE for people to think it is ok!!! Anyway, I need help, I need to get with people like me who are also being sued, I want to talk to you!!! please email me if you know anyone or if you are someone, gsaulters@jam.rr.com , also if you can give me any info or you know any web pages, any info my case is getting closer to going to court and I need HELP!!!! Aimee

     

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  12.  
    identicon
    mystery, Jun 23rd, 2006 @ 3:08am

    the above post

    Does it seem to you that the above post was submitted by the RIAA and they are "trying to hard" to sound like one of the members of the scum public.......

    Basic premise of the above post was "isn't it terrible the RIAA is suing PEOPLE...they should be allowed to sue the P2P sites themselves" (which the RIAA originally wanted........

    Be careful................

    Oh as a side note, jam.rr.com has NO LIST for a GSaulters@jam.rr.com registered with them on their member listing..........

     

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  13.  
    identicon
    Aimee, Jul 24th, 2006 @ 5:57am

    Re: the above post

    Why don't you go to public records for Ouachita Parish in Monroe, Louisiana and check it out for yourself. You will find that my next courtdate with these jackasses is in April of 2007. Moron

     

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  14.  
    identicon
    Aimee, Jul 24th, 2006 @ 6:02am

    Re: the above post

    Oh, and as a side note your an idiot. Feel free to send me an email to gsaulters@jam.rr.com. I promise I'll get it.

     

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  15.  
    identicon
    deb koch, Sep 27th, 2006 @ 1:52pm

    clothes

    hi- i paid 117.00 and so for clothes children,after i paid it said castlecrown no longer was a ebay user-this is the email that was sent for money-i nebver been jilted on items-but their has been no confirmations on cloths..deb-ll

     

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  16.  
    identicon
    Just another person, Oct 18th, 2006 @ 4:28pm

    RIAA PHONE NUMBER

    RIAA PHONE # FOR THERE HOT LINE
    (913)-234-8181

    Distribute this number and call them.
    Tell them how you feel.
    People that work for the RIAA are scumbags.
    Get a real job like the rest of us and stop raping the small guy.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    identicon
    Mr. Manicure, Jan 18th, 2007 @ 5:37am

    Lawsuits

    I will not pay 10,000+ to the RIAA for something I did not do. Also I feel that it is wrong for Kazaa, I think that is what it is called, should be held responsible because they make you think there is nothing wrong with what you are doing. I have gone to different sites since this has all happened to me and they all make you think that it is ik to download music. NOt only do they make you think it is ok by they keep sending you emails trying to get you to come back. This is wrong!!!! I am a mother of 2 young children and I know that when they get older they would think that would be ok.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    identicon
    Manicure One, Feb 1st, 2007 @ 11:05am

    Re: Finally

    I don't know if you'll believe me or not but this has actually happened to me, this time for unsanitary situations in my shop. Its the same suit thats more of bully tactics than anything else.

     

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  19.  
    identicon
    Major Threat, Mar 16th, 2007 @ 8:16pm

    Re: RIAA PHONE NUMBER

    Yes I am in the middle of it! I joined the operation PhoneStorm!

    And I am Calling and Calling and calling and calling and caliing and they had enought of me but I am still calling! When In am not calling I setup one of my computer to keep calling and calling and calling using the fax modem

    I do alot of crank call! It is a lot of fun What's a life! More and more people are calling!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    identicon
    Bored., Jul 24th, 2007 @ 8:22am

    Re: The RIAA sueing targets are not the people

    You are a flaming moron.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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