Legal Issues

by Mike Masnick

RIAA Racketeering Charge Unlikely To Stick

from the good-luck-with-that-one dept

Earlier this week, we mentioned the New Jersey woman who was going to charge the RIAA with racketeering for their file-sharing lawsuits (she hasn't actually filed the suit yet). We pointed out that it would be a tough claim to support, and others seem to be agreeing. A variety of entertainment attorneys are pointing out that the lawsuit doesn't stand much of a chance. They also suggest, however, that she has a different (though, less interesting) argument: she shouldn't be sued, because she's not liable for the actions of her daughter. Of course, the RIAA can then just turn around and sue her daughter directly. Still, it does bring up the issue of whether or not it's the RIAA's burden to prove who was actually doing the file sharing. They may know the household, and who pays for the internet connection - but that doesn't mean they know who is actually responsible.

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  • identicon
    anonymouscoward, 21 Feb 2004 @ 8:13am

    Of course they can sue ...

    Quoting now:
    "It's so obviously illegal when someone steals another person's property. Of course they have every right to sue," added Cooper, who is the former president of the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences and the California Copyright Conference. "

    Whether sharing music is "stealing" is quite debateable, so we'll just leave that aside for now.

    Just because one has a "right to sue" doesn't give an entity a license to use the courts as the "strongarm" of an extortion racket.

    If it can be demonstrated that the RIAA never has had any intention of allowing any of these cases to actually come before a judge (and none has) by using the discovery process to dig up incriminating memos which might state explicitly this strategy, then suddenly this case isn't so preposterous.

    It is being alleged in the suit that this is the EXACT strategy of the RIAA (that is: filing suits ONLY as a way of extracting a settlement, with no intention of actually taking the thing to trial).

    If that can be proven (and I have no way of knowing if it can be proven) then the case doesn't really sound so preposterous now does it?

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

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