Judge Makes Feds Pay Pocket Change To Two Lawyers It Wiretapped Without A Warrant

from the well-that-will-stop-them dept

Earlier this year, when a judge ruled against the US government for wiretapping some lawyers working with the Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation without getting a warrant, some people pointed out that the US government’s best response might just be to say “okay” and go on with its life. The court has now made that an even easier decision by effectively slapping the wrist of the government, ordering it to pay $20,400 to each of the two lawyers.

Yes, if you share a a few songs you love with others, you may get fined millions of dollars, but if you’re the US government, and you violate the 4th Amendment by spying on people without a warrant, you get fined $100 per day. And only for the two people who were able to bring a lawsuit because you screwed up and sent them the details of how you wiretapped them without a warrant. For everyone else who was wiretapped (or is still being wiretapped) without a warrant, you’re out of luck, unless the government makes the same mistake with you, and then you go through years of trials to get $100 per day of wiretapping for your troubles. That said, the court did also require the government to pay these guys’ legal fees, which amounted to about $2.5 million. But, still, the whole thing suggests it’s unlikely that there will be any other legal challenges, and the US government can and will continue to break the law in the way it handles its wiretaps.

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Comments on “Judge Makes Feds Pay Pocket Change To Two Lawyers It Wiretapped Without A Warrant”

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18 Comments
anymouse (profile) says:

Wait a minute here... was there any 'music' recorded in these illegal wiretaps?

Based on the fine and daily amount the feds were recording these guys for 204 days, I think we can safely assume (just like the RIAA/MPAA do) that in that time frame the Feds recorded some music in their wiretaps.

So while they may only be on the hook for $100 per day to the lawyers, we should be expecting to see a lawsuit by the RIAA against the federal government for copyright infringement for every piece of a song that was recorded on any of those 204 day’s recordings. This could open the Feds up to some huge fines based on what consumers would have to pay if they did the same thing (remember folks, recording music IS THE DEVIL, and you have to give the devil his due….).

Seriously though, lets say I setup a recording device in public near an area where lots of people play music (radios, CD’s, car stereo’s, etc) and recorded all the ‘sounds’ for 204 days. Lets assume that I only recorded one ‘song’ per day in my perfectly legal public recordings, how much would the fine be if I was taken to court and the recordings were presented as proof of my ‘copyright infringement’? $10,000? $100,000? $2,040,000?

I think it’s only fair that the Feds should be sued by the RIAA for any piece of music that they happened to record in their illegal wiretapping. Furthermore I think they should be slapped with Murder charges under the ‘felony murder rule’ since they are committing a crime related to killing someone, since ‘Home recording is killing the music industry’…….

yeah, I’m serious…. now where did I leave that tinfoil hat

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