Another Way To Get The RIAA To Drop Case And Run: Hire A Lawyer Who's Beat Them Before

from the the-latest-in-our-series dept

We’ve had a series of posts lately about ways in which people seem to be beating the RIAA when they’re sued without much real evidence, such as pointing out that the IP address does not identify who actually was involved in file sharing. Ray Beckerman, who is the source for so many interesting posts on these types of cases, now has one about how the RIAA is running scared after they discovered that a lawyer who beat them before (and made them liable for the attorney’s fees of the person they falsely accused of file sharing). The interesting part here is that they’re trying to drop out of the case they already filed, but are asking the judge specifically to have the case dropped “without prejudice.” Why? Because in the last case, the case was dropped “with prejudice,” which was the reason they are on the hook for legal fees. So, now, when they see the same lawyer, they know they don’t want to go through with the case, but they want to make sure they can drop it in a way without admitting they made a mistake and without paying the legal fees for the person they dragged into court incorrectly.


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Comments on “Another Way To Get The RIAA To Drop Case And Run: Hire A Lawyer Who's Beat Them Before”

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45 Comments
Joshua says:

Why is there not a way to force the plaintiff to continue the case until a judgment is made? It seems that simply forcing a reckless litigator like the RIAA to stand behind their claims would do a great deal of good. Even if there isn’t a way to do so, why aren’t they held in contempt of court for blatantly wasting the court’s time?

Dilbert says:

Re: Re:

In any other case (one that was not so blatently abusive) the plaintiff might decide that based on the trials current track it they would be better off not continuing – even if they’re in the right.

In this case I wouln’t be surprised if the defendant could sue the RIAA for something, harassment, etc., based on thier history of bullying and win.

Any lawyers out there that can shed more light on this issue?

DittoBox (user link) says:

Re: Re:

Not the solution. Just force the RIAA (plaintiff) to pay *all* of court’s costs (right down to utilities and salaries of all involved) as well as the defendant’s legal bills, they should also be reimbursed for time taken away from their job.

Tax payers shouldn’t have to bear the brunt of retarded RIAA policies. If the RIAA had to pay court costs when they gave up, this kind of crap wouldn stop after about two dropped cases.

Ryan (profile) says:

one more law

we need a law that says “if you file a false lawsuit or criminal charge, you pay the consequences that the victim would have suffered under a default judgement”

Example: you cry rape when it wasn’t, you get 25 years.
Accuse me of file sharing without evidence, you pay the fee you sued me for to me. Hell, even split it with the courts.

It’ll stop all this stuff dead before it begins.

Wizard Prang (user link) says:

Re: Wouldn't work...

…in the above case, the “victim” has a good reason to never ‘fess up.

I say let the civil courts sort that out – It worked for OJ. Instead of a few years in a Country-club jail, followed by celebrity and book deals, he is an international laughingstock for the rest of his life.

We don’t need another law so much as we need to tear up a heck of a lot of the ones we have….

Joshua says:

Re: Re: Wouldn't work...

I agree that the whole “do unto them as they tried to do unto you” thing is definitely not the way to go. Be held responsible for your actions, yes, but lets not go overboard.

I have always liked the middle ground where this is concerned. It uses a sort of reverse golden rule of “do unto others as they do unto you” (distinguished from the former quoted rule by the fact that they have to succeed). Unfortunately this quickly becomes unusable as assigning blame for false conviction is really hard to do fairly (how much is the jury to blame? the plaintiff? the judge?).

So basically all we are left with are lawsuits against those that wronged people. Which doesn’t seem fair to me but is better than anything else I can think of.

ScytheNoire says:

start shooting them

i agree completely, when filing false lawsuits, those who make the false claims SHOULD suffer the full penalty as what those accused would. the RIAA is one good example.

another is the Duke Lacross rape case, where it’s been shown, with evidence, that the woman is making false claims, the one guy is even on camera at a bank proving he wasn’t there. she should be going to jail, not to mention the lives she’s destroyed, the coach’s, the students, the school. i hope the students and coach sue both her, the school, and the state for this wrongful case.

same with that woman who found the finger in the Wendy’s chili. she should be serving jail time and owe Wendy’s millions of dollars.

lawsuits in the USA are just out of control and so many are just complete bullshit.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: start shooting them

The Wendy’s Chilli finger couple are in jail:

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,182008,00.html

“Anna Ayala, 40, who said she bit into the digit, was sentenced to nine years. Her husband, Jaime Plascencia, 44, who obtained the finger from a co-worker who lost it in a workplace accident, was sentenced to more than 12 years.”

eric says:

Re: start shooting them

another is the Duke Lacross rape case, where it’s been shown, with evidence, that the woman is making false claims,

So we don’t need trials anymore? You’re going to convict someone without their day in court? Without hearing ALL the evidence?

You’d sing another song if you were on the other end of things.

Ted McCarty says:

Re: start shooting them

Don’t forget the crooked prosecuting attorney in the case. He is the real villain in the whole deal. From the very beggining all of the evidence pointed to the innocence of the guys involved and he just won’t do the right thing, apologize and drop the charges. The sad thing is that he and judges are usually above the law, they cannot be charged with their wrong doing in a case like this. And the idiots in the town re-elected him, they don’t realize that they could be his next victums!

Cee says:

...I think it called frivolous lawsuit

There is such a law for such “frivolous lawsuits” but not sure if that is federal law or individual state by state law.

I think the way it works is that it doesn’t prevent someone from filing a lawsuit like this, but it provides a remedy to the defendant to go after a plaintiff for filing such a lawsuit — should the defendant choose to do so (but the defendant has to prove then it was frivolous).

C

Ryan (profile) says:

yes..

yes, if you accuse me of murder, my life is ruined. Once I make the news chances are I’m never going to get another job, or get married, or what not. Nobody wants to be with a murderer.

You know as well as I do that public opinion is guilty until proven innocent, and that accusitions are front page news… retractions are last page news.

Murder doesn’t really apply here though, cuz you can’t get a charge without evidence (or shouldn’t be able to)

I’m talking more about rape, or the RIAA cases here. Things where you can get a search warrant based on “he said she said”

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: two cents worth

Yes indeed, here in the UK if you are taking to court for almost any crime which every party loses pays ALL costs, both their own and the party who won.

Whilst this can suck if you are a private individual, it works pretty well because we also have legal aid. But the very good part of it is when a big company like the RIAA loses at least the defendant is not out of pocket, well not too much.

Axi0n says:

Bottom Line

Despite all this being funny… It would be better if the RIAA and MPAA had to publically open all their financial records…

They say their bottom line is hurt and sales / revenues are down…

However I don’t explicitly remember if the #’s they reveal are net or gross after paying an army of lawyers, retainer fees, court costs, the advert and publicity fees of trying to emphasize their plight while also having an army of PR drones do damage control / management burying the stuff that ended less than advantageously to them…

I bet if you took away all the overhead, and they embraced a newer more dynamic business model, got with the times and offered better, cheaper product there would be little issue on either side of the fence…

Anonymous Coward says:

Lawsuit reform

Another thing that would help out the litiguous situation …

Don’t give penalty fees to plaintiffs or their lawyers.

You do something to me. I sue you for 100 Mill. For some reason, I win. I need 50K to pay for damages to me personally, fine. My layer charges 500 an hour and has 100 hours of work in – so he gets 50K. Then there’s the 99.95M to deal with – don’t give it to the plaintiff! You want to penalize the defendant, fine. But give the money to society. Give a few mill to the homeless shelter, to the schools, to the battered women’s shelter, to the parks & rec dept, to the museum, to the library, etc.

Imagine what a better world it would be – and how many less frivilous lawsuits there would be knowing that there is zero chance of winning the lawsuit lottery.

Jerry says:

"Prejudice" doesn't mean what you think

“With prejudice” means the case is dismissed with prejudice against the plaintiff (RIAA) bringing it again. “With prejudice” is better for the defendant because it means they can’t be sued again. “WP” and “W/OP” have little to do with whether fees are granted.

Someone wrongly sued should insist, when RIAA offers to drop the suit, that the dismissal be “With prejudice” – meaning with prejudice against the plaintiff filing again. When RIAA offers dismissal without prejudice, the defendant should ask the court for “with prejudice,” because it’s a better defense against RIAA misbehavior in the future.

The reason “without prejudice” dismissals are usually cheaper for RIAA is that they usually occur before the wrongly sued party has had much time to incur a lot of fees.

As to the “hold RIAA’s feet to the fire and make them litigate to a conclusion” school of thought – forget it. Judges like to get rid of cases as fast as possible and generally resist allowing cases to go on when the plaintiff has stated it wants to stop.

Davey says:

Countersuits

As far as I know, countersuits are quite common in cases where a plaintiff is accused of filing a frivolous or abusive lawsuit. There should be criminal penalties as well. American justice has gone back to the Middle Ages, where those with the money explicitly used the power of the law for their private ends.

I don’t understand why outfits like the EFF, ACLU and others don’t go on the offensive and sue the RIAA for all they’re worth. It would be hard to find a jury that didn’t agree that their random lawsuits were anything more than harrassment and bullying by means of superior resources.

Methuss says:

Another tactic

If you downloaded a music file for something that you’ve already paid a license for on LP, 8-track, cassette, or any other hard media, you’ve already paid your license fee for the music. The Home Recording Act authorizes you to have the same media in another format at no charge.

Technically, if you owned an old LP or cassette, the recording industy is supposed to give you a CD for cost of materials only because you already paid the license fee.

Something they’d rather people not know about.

mixlplix says:

Safeguards in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act

The DMCA protects Internet Service Providers (ISPs) from liability for copyright infringement by their users. In exchange, the Act obligates the ISPs to provide copyright holders with the identities of suspected copyright infringers subject to the following safeguards:

The complaining party must swear under penalty of perjury that he or she is a representative of the copyright holder and provide this sworn oath to the clerk of the U.S. District Court.

The complaining party must provide the Court clerk with a sworn statement, again under penalty of perjury, that the information obtained will be used for no other reason but to protect the copyright.

The complaining party must give written notice to the ISP identifying the copyrighted work including sufficient information for the ISP to identify and contact the user.

The notice must contain a statement of good faith that a copyright infringement is believed to have taken place and that the information in the subpoena is accurate.

The clerk of the Court is required to determine that these safeguard criteria have been met before issuing a subpoena directing the ISP to disclose the identity of a suspected user.

The DMCA states that such subpoenas shall subject to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure governing subpoenas. The rules provide opponents with a means to ask the court to quash the subpoena.

The Act also states that any person who misrepresents allegations of copyright infringement is liable for damages, including attorney’s fees.

Marcus Christian (profile) says:

Lots of confusion here...

I agree with the “if you file a lawsuit without merit, the penalty your defendant would have incurred falls upon you as punishment” approach.

The one who said, “yeah but why should someone who accused someone of murder get the death penalty!!” err, death penalty is NOT a given. It might be 25 to life depending on previous infractions. Perhaps in the case of major corporations it’s a fine equivalent. So for example, if you bring a case against me for grand larceny, and I’m found not guilty, you as a corporation should be fined the equivalent of what you said I stole – if it’s grand larceny that’s in the millions.

Now, as far as the “without prejudice” clause, I think all of these cases that get successfully dismissed should be with prejudice. Especially the ones where there really is no proof of the theft.

jin choung says:

false accusations

actually, if you accuse someone of murder when you KNOW they did not do it, if you DELIBERATELY and FALSELY accuse someone, you SHOULD be liable for the same penalty!

by accusing someone else (falsely), you are subjecting them to potential DEATH!

the punishment DOES fit the crime.

actually, this is brilliant. i suspect we don’t have such provisions in the law because it will become precarious in determining who is accusing who of something deceitfully.

jin

Robert Jones says:

Vexatious Litigant

Hi,

I’m a Brit that works in Law in the U.K. Over here if someone (companies included) continually start false legal actions there is provision to make application to the court to have them declared a Vexatious Litigant. The effect (if successful) is they cannot bring further legal actions of any kind without first obtaining court approval I think on notice to the opponent.

Maybe you guys have something similar.

annonymous says:

riaa

the riaa is comprised of a bunch of bloodsucking jews.
What did the music industry think was going to happen when the double cassette deck boom boxes
were being produced in the late 70’s? Black cd’s
are being produced nowadays 10 fold over the actual
industry artist made cd’s. Why would a young person
who is computer savy want to blow $16 on a new cd.
The music industry is suffering simply because of its
greed and now they are paying for it. If they had
any brains at all the industry would compete with
file sharing and sell their cd’s worldwide for only $2 a pop. If they did, they wouldnt be able to keep up with the demand for them. But realistically, I never
knew a Jew to drop prices on anything. lol I hate sounding so anti-semetic but screw the music industry
and all of its avaricious capitalistic assholes.

Lisa Burney says:

RIAA

I am in Memphis, Tennessee and need to locate an attorney. They have not only contacted me at my home phone number and address but contacted my mother’s home phone and left a recording threatening to drop the charges against me and bring them on my daughter and this would effect her hardship classes. Which I assume that they are speaking about her future in school.

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