Accusing The RIAA Of Racketeering For File Sharing Lawsuits

from the interesting-strategies dept

We’ve covered the story of DirecTV suing anyone who ordered a smart card reader and telling them they should just settle since it would be cheaper than fighting the lawsuit (even if they did nothing wrong with the smart card reader). Some of the accused have realized that this seems quite a bit like extortion (“just pay up, it’ll be less trouble…”) and have sued DirecTV with racketeering. Now, one woman is saying that this same argument can be equally applied to the RIAA and their lawsuits against those accused of sharing file illegally. She’s now charging the RIAA with racketeering under RICO laws for trying to extort money out of her. It’s a tough claim – because the RIAA’s obvious response is that she (or, as she claims, her daughter) was doing something illegal. Still, the method of dumping thousands of lawsuits and then offering to settle them for a few thousand rather than going through the trouble of a lawsuit does sound an awful lot like extortion.

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Comments on “Accusing The RIAA Of Racketeering For File Sharing Lawsuits”

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Oliver Wendell Jones (profile) says:

It sounds like extortion to me.

If they send out a letter that says (in essence)

1) You’re guilty.
2) You owe us one hundred bazillion dollars.
3) We’ll accept $2K – $10K as a settlement.

That sounds like extortion to me.

If instead they send a letter that says (in essence)

1) You’re guilty.
2) You owe us one hundred bazillion dollars.

And you respond with a letter that says

“yikes, I’m sorry, but I can’t pay that much”

and then the RIAA writes back and says “we accept your sincere apology and if you’ll pay $2K – $10K and agree to never use file sharing software again to share copyrighted music files, we’ll drop the lawsuit”, that sounds a lot less like extortion.

Anybody know if the RIAA included item #3 in the first round of letters?

Milnesy says:

Re: Pepsi Commercial.

I thought that Pepsi commercial was great. It showed that the RIAA didn’t care who they sued. They should have had the grandparents that were sued by them. The Pepsi commercial has helped, in a way, tarnish the RIAA’s rep. Granted, they don’t agree that file swapping is legal either, it still gives the RIAA bad press.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: No Subject Given

Maybe, soon, americans will have rights too!

No, I don’t think it’s *right* to take a song off the net that you didn’t pay for (sometime down the road), but it’s not Illegal in the same sense as stealing.. mainly because it’s not, but also because it doesn’t feel the same.

Murder, assault and theft directly deprive a victim of rights to life, security and pursuit of happiness (not so much material, but that subtlety may be lost here). Getting another copy of osmething one’s already paid-for is vastly different.

Grabbing music for which someone hasn’t paid this overlording contract house that turns around and steals from the people it claims to protect and serve – like unicef only incroyably worse – that’s not stealing either so much as outsmarting it.

Anonymous Coward says:

No Subject Given

Difference. The RIAA has reasonable cause and typically some form of evidence to suggest that the person or persons associated with that computer were engaged in the probable illegal act of copying or sharing copy righted materials.

DirectTV on the other hand is stating simply that they had the means, yet no action or evidence to suggest they used the equipment in an illegal method. It’s kinda like being arrested for attempted armed robbery simply because you bought a gun.

So whether or not you agree with what the RIAA is doing or how they are doing it, they are still acting within the frame work of the US legal system.

The DirectTV cases on the other hand may wind up being a bigger headache for DirectTV than they think. While it may or may not be extortion, it could be argued at the very least that it’s harassment.

Oliver Wendell Jones (profile) says:

Re: No Subject Given

Difference. The RIAA has reasonable cause and typically some form of evidence…

Really? What kind of evidence? Did they actually download the files from the people they are suing to confirm that what the person is sharing is what they claim it to be?

Or, did they just do a search for “brittney spears +MP3” and target everyone who has a file matching that criteria and ASSUME they are copyright violators?

Evidence needs to be a lot more than just a file name that matches.

freedomfighter says:

holy loss of liberty batman!

Murder, assault and theft directly deprive a victim of rights to life, security and pursuit of happiness (not so much material, but that subtlety may be lost here). Getting another copy of osmething one’s already paid-for is vastly different.

life SECURITY and the pursuit of happiness?


Steven Maserang says:

Check Payment

I have the direct tv total choice package, I am new to direct tv, but they claimed to have better service than dish network, but factually, not at all. I have been a dish network customer for about two years and never had any trouble, but then i switched to direct tv, and everything went down hill.

I got it connected and paid for the installation, then shortly after i got my 1st bill. I promptly sent out my 1st payment by check. the payment got to direct tv on the 10th of september, well as they say on the 14th of the month my payment got returned.

The problem is that i had plenty of money in my account, and i have no stop payments or no blocks on my account. So for no reason should the payment have been returned. however i went to talk to my bank and they said that that check doesnt even exist in their files, pretty much it never went through the bank.

after talking to my father he said i should request a copy of the returned check, to make sure they got the right check, or to make sure they didn’t lose it. well i called direct tv, and their representatives couldn’t help me, and their supervisers treated me like poop. Pretty much they say they wont take checks from me, and ive never bounced a check, I have good credit, and thats the only way i want to pay them, i shouldn’t be forced to use my credit card. any ways, dont ever sign a two year contract with direct tv, I am running out of time or my story would go on forever.

Geroge Day says:

Echostar otherwise known for extorting money from their customers

I have been (was) a paying customer for 10 years. My satellite box stopped working and Dish Network replaced the unit. About 6 months after I received a letter from Echostar. They wanted me to pay them thousands of dollars for the box. They said the box was modified and I have been receiving all the channels without paying for it. Echostar wanted me to pay them money or they were going to sue me for $100,000. Of course, knowing that the box wasn’t modified I refuse to pay or settle for something I didn’t do. After a few months went by on my December bill there was a charge for a damage Box for $99.99. I called to cancel services because of the charge and said they were going to reverse the charge. After few days I called the automated customer service and the charge was still on there. When I called back they said that Echostar put the charge back on and they are not able to reverse it. I know for 100% that the box wasn’t modified in anyway. What I don’t understand is why Echostar (Dish Network) would falsely accuse a good paying customer of 10 years of a crime. As much as I enjoy watching TLC, discovery, AMC, TCM, and World Link channel. I have cancel service. They are now trying to still collect the $99.00 and they want $5000.00 for damages.

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