Tonya Andersen Trying To Turn Her Lawsuit Against The RIAA Into A Class Action

from the might-not-be-the-best-idea dept

Tanya Andersen has been fighting back against a bogus RIAA lawsuit for a while, and got some attention earlier this summer when she accused the RIAA of breaking the law with its investigation technique. It's also one of a few cases that have questioned whether or not the RIAA's settlement offer process can be considered illegal racketeering. However, she's now looking to turn her lawsuit into a class action case, covering all of those who have been sued by the RIAA. It may be quite difficult to convince a judge that this really deserves class action status, but if it gets that far, it'll certainly be fun to watch. It's been pretty clear for quite some time that the RIAA is abusing the process by making it cheaper to settle than even to defend your innocence (which sounds mighty similar to the classic shakedown). However, whether or not you can build a class out of those offered settlement deals (or sued) isn't entirely clear. But, if it can actually get somewhere, then it might finally make the RIAA recognize that it's practices are questionable. So far, every time someone has accused them of anything like this, they just try to get out of the case and move on to suing others who are less likely to fight back.


Reader Comments (rss)

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  1.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 17th, 2007 @ 2:06pm

    lol, RIAA.

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 17th, 2007 @ 2:07pm

    Good luck Tonya!

    This is how you fight back, instead of blaming some one else like in the other recent related article.

     

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  3.  
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    Killer_Tofu (profile), Aug 17th, 2007 @ 2:13pm

    Most Class Action

    From everything I have read, if she is like most class action suit front runners, she will end up taking 20-50% of the winnings to cover herself, then give the rest only to those who come forward, and keep whatever isn't claimed. Or maybe the RIAA can be like Verizon, and instead of actually giving money back to those who were ripped off, just give a small discount to those who claim it. Friend was in a class action once against Verizon. He was dropping them. Verizon's penalty was to simply give people 5$ of next bill. What did he get? Absolutely nothing.
    Class actions seem like mostly just another lawyer milk run.
    Somebody please refute this so I might hate lawyers a tiny less.

     

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  4.  
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    JGM, Aug 17th, 2007 @ 2:21pm

    Where do I send a donation?

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 17th, 2007 @ 2:25pm

    Re: Most Class Action

    Somebody please refute this so I might hate lawyers a tiny less.
    I can't really refute it but I can say that not all lawyers are like that. My own lawyer, for example, seems to be quite honest and ethical. If I were to ever ask him to do anything dishonorable, even if legal, he'd probably tell me off before showing me the door.

     

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  6.  
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    Phlatus the Elder, Aug 17th, 2007 @ 2:53pm

    Re: Re: Most Class Action

    There are a couple honest lawyers around. I know the other one.

     

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  7.  
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    J Attila, Aug 17th, 2007 @ 4:17pm

    Re: Most Class Action

    Well, if you want to know about a class-action where people actually got real money, do a web search for Vizcaino v. Microsoft. I was a temp employee for Microsoft for a couple of years. The reason I stayed a temp is because I was making about $85K a year, where full-time employees were starting at $40K a year. I eventually gave in and went full-time. The people filing the lawsuit were mad because they didn't get stock options and ESPP. They did get overtime and much higher salaries, though. The lawsuit was bogus. Still, when it was settled and paid, they sent me a check for $18K. Of course, the lawyers got some serious coin too.

     

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  8.  
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    Maychic.com/wealthology, Aug 17th, 2007 @ 4:52pm

    Tonya Andersen To Turn Her Lawsuit Against The RIA

    What comes around goes around. A class action lawsuit would be helpful to bring their heads out from the sand where they buried them.
    Maychic

     

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  9.  
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    Mike C., Aug 17th, 2007 @ 5:46pm

    Re: Most Class Action

    That's one way to look at it. Another is to remember that if she wins, the RIAA will have to come up with a completely new business model for what they're doing now. If she wins, the overall process of identifying and threatening with a lawsuit to get them to pay up will most likely be prohibited via court order.

    If she wins and pushes it far enough, she can even force them to properly identify infringers and not even offer them a settlement until the lawsuit has been filed. This will add to their overhead since they will have to file a civil suit in order to even talk to a potential defendant.

    A class action win here could be devastating to their methods. However, she has a lot of hurdles to overcome. This will be an interesting case to watch.

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 17th, 2007 @ 6:09pm

    Re: Most Class Action

    Of course, it's important that plaintiffs in class action suits get paid; but the most importnat thing is to punish the wrongdoer.

    Big business and their political puppets want us to keep our eyes on how much the plaintiff's lawyers get, and how little the plaintiffs themselves get. They cry about the need for so-called "tort reform" so they can further screw the people they injure.

    Keep your eye on the ball. The guilty have to be punished severely enough to prevent them and others from doing it again.

     

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  11.  
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    |333173|3|_||3, Aug 18th, 2007 @ 4:57am

    Re: Re: Most Class Action

    Nonetheless, the lawyers should be upfront about how much they will charge, and the court should order the loser to pay a certain amount to the winner, separately from the legal fees. In any case, the guilty do not get punished enough.

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 18th, 2007 @ 5:48am

    Re: Re: Re: Most Class Action

    Upfront??? Give me a break. We're discussing lawyers here.

    In any case, kudos to Ms. Andersen for not backing down to the Mafia known as RIAA. (no offense to the Mafia!) I hope you win a huge judgement from those creeps, so they'll realize that their business model must adapt to new technology.

    And, maybe, the artists who live like royalty will have adjust too...

     

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    Tin Ear, Aug 18th, 2007 @ 11:09pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Most Class Action

    Come to think of it, I would have to assume that the Mafia of old is no longer organized or effective. If they were, I think they would have a problem with someone else thinking up a racket like the RIAA. I think we would have heard at least SOME news about RIAA high-rollers getting offed in some back alley or getting found in a river with cement overshoes.

     

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  14.  
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    |333173|3|_||3, Aug 19th, 2007 @ 8:10am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Most Class Action

    The solution to that would be a limit to the proportion of the winnings the lawyers could have.

     

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  15.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 19th, 2007 @ 1:42pm

    Re: limit to the proportion of the winnings the la

    Class action lawyers work on a contingency fee basis. Nobody pays them unless they win, and they pay all the expenses of fighting these cases out of their own pockets.

    They may not win the case. Even if they do win, the inevitable appeals cost additional tons of money.

    In class actions they are fighting immense corporations that have virtually unlimited money to spend on these cases.

    Limiting the amount that class action lawyers can earn will have the effect of limiting access to the courts for injured parties.

    Of course, you have nothing to worry about if you can match the corporation's ability to pay lawyers.

    Do you have that much money?

     

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  16.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 19th, 2007 @ 1:47pm

    Re: the lawyers should be upfront about how much

    They are upfront. It's written in the retainer agreemnet when the case is initiated. In addition, the trial judge can alter the fees if they are unfair.

    Everybody hates lawyers until they need one. It's easy isn't it? All you have to do is stop thinking.

    No - I'm not a lawyer, or the father, mother, sister or brother of one.

     

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  17.  
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    Anon2, Aug 20th, 2007 @ 9:18am

    Re: Re: the lawyers should be upfront about how m

    It's not a matter of the court "altering" the fees if unfair -- in a class action, it's the court that decides how much the lawyers will get paid at the end if they were successful, and the law requires the court to award only so much as would be fair and reasonable both to the lawyers and more importantly to the members of the class. Moreover, whoever above said that the named plaintiffs will take most, that's ridiculous -- it's impermissible under the law and the applicable rules, and recently some people in Florida that tried to do just that were hammered by the court and may even go to jail. Nor can they just take whatever is unclaimed at the end. All of this is subject to a court's close supervision in the class action context. Yes, the named plaintiffs will usually get a larger share to compensate them for the substantially greater amount of time and energy they've devoted to the case, but nowhere near the percentages someone above tossed around.

     

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