Legal Issues

by Mike Masnick


Filed Under:
lawsuits, mavis roy, music, settlements

Companies:
riaa



Woman Who Owned No Computer, But Got Sued By The RIAA, 'Settles'

from the some-kind-of-victory dept

With everyone talking about the Jammie Thomas case, someone who preferred to remain anonymous, alerted us to the fact that Mavis Roy, a woman who did not own a computer for a while, but was still sued by the big record labels, has "settled" her case with the record labels with neither side having to pay anything. We had written about this case earlier in the year. She did not own a computer on the dates she was accused of file sharing, and then when she got the legal threats from the RIAA she thought it was a joke and ignored them. Finally, some law students took up her case, and it appears they've worked out this "settlement." While Roy suggests this is a "victory" in that she didn't have to pay anything, she's right that it's not that much of a victory when the recording industry is still able to bring such bogus lawsuits to court with no penalty:
"I am still unsettled that the record companies are able to treat upstanding American citizens in this way. Invading people’s privacy and accusing people of things that don’t even make sense. It is such a sad waste of the courts time."
While it's great that she was able to get out of it without having to pay off the labels, nothing about this result provides any incentive for the labels to make sure they have actual evidence before filing future lawsuits.

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  • icon
    theskyrider (profile), 19 Jun 2009 @ 2:14pm

    Three strikes

    Would have worked in her case. She would have gotten a letter from the telco, saying that she was sharing files on an internet connection she didn't have.

    The second letter might have piqued her interest, and she probably would have went looking through the house in case there was some anonymous computer sharing random files.

    The third strike? Cut off the internet connection to the computer she didn't have.

    Except, when she got a computer, she couldn't get an internet connection because she was on a blacklist of 'copyright scofflaws' and would wonder why. She probably wouldn't be able to fly, either, because the TSA would have picked up her name from the 'copyright scofflaw' list, branded her a terrorist (Because we all know that file-sharing leads to terrorism,) and put her name on yet another list which punished her for something she didn't do.

    Great country, the USA.

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

  • identicon
    teknosapien, 19 Jun 2009 @ 2:25pm

    I dont get this

    if she didn't have a computer this would lead me to believe that the evidence in other cases is not what the the RIAA states. To me it is making the whole chain of evidence questionable.

    What of her time, was she compensated for this? pain and suffering /mental anguish couldn't she sue for wrongful "something or other". Doesn't something like this fall under liable or slander or something along those lines

    I mean if it doesn't, would that mean I could sue the RIAA for whatever I wanted to, ie.. That song drove me nuts and made me kill my dog type of thing?

    This whole Story is very perplexing

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

    • identicon
      Rekrul, 19 Jun 2009 @ 10:07pm

      Re: I dont get this

      "if she didn't have a computer this would lead me to believe that the evidence in other cases is not what the the RIAA states. To me it is making the whole chain of evidence questionable."

      Umm, that's already been proven. Researchers at one university spoofed an IP address and got the RIAA/MPAA to send copyright infringement notices to a networked laser printer, a device that can't possibly share files.

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

  • identicon
    Michael L. Slonecker, 19 Jun 2009 @ 2:27pm

    Merely FYI, I believe the individual did own a computer, but asserted that it was not at her home when the alleged downloads were made.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Jun 2009 @ 2:31pm

    "SODDI" - "two black youths" - what is the equivilant on the internet? Someone "hacked" me?

    Puh-leeze.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Jun 2009 @ 2:35pm

    A Few Words

    I would like for Congress to reform Copyright Law.

    Therefore, I am happy to donate money to the EFF for their expert testimony, or other identified folks that would champion Jammie Thomas' effort and throw the Copyright Act back to Congress.

    Bankruptcy is always an option, but why not appeal to the Supremes? I talked with at least 30 others today that will send some money in an envelope to support Jammie.

    Don't discount the amount raised for Ron Paul.

    Who will take the case?

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

  • icon
    The Infamous Joe (profile), 19 Jun 2009 @ 3:11pm

    No check marks..

    So, which part of our government is working as intended, exactly?

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

  • identicon
    Dave, 19 Jun 2009 @ 3:30pm

    things are still grim

    Yeah, the deck is still stacked in favor of government stupidity. The Gov will always lag technological understanding by at least a decade. It's always been that way, but now it's worse with more people using internet technology - there are more bad consequences from this technological cluelessness.

    And the government will usually favor some bureacracy over an individual every time, unless supporting the individual looks like it will get them votes.

    Indeed, it sounds like Jammie could have wriggled free, or at least gotten off more cheaply, if she hadn't looked evasive and suspicious. This does not make a sympathetic character for a jury. Being a bonehead shouldn't be prosecutable per se, but it often is, in practice.

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

  • identicon
    ajk, 19 Jun 2009 @ 4:42pm

    a broken system

    i'm sorry to say, but this whole situation just stinks. honestly, the depths to which the RIAA seems to stoop is indicative of an industry that has lost sight of its priorities. it is absolutely sickening, these kinds of "settlements" that they are doing, and for little or no just cause; preying on and destroying the lives of individual people simply to prove a point. i mean, jammie, how is she ever going to be able to deal with this (assuming they dont make an alternate "settlement")? by the end, she will simply be a bankrupt, disenfranchised individual who was taken advantage of by an ostentatiosly greedy industry.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 19 Jun 2009 @ 6:14pm

      Re: a broken system

      your assumption is that the people are all innocent. They are not. That's the problem.

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

      • identicon
        innocent until proven guilty, 19 Jun 2009 @ 6:22pm

        Re: Re: a broken system

        "your assumption is that the people are all innocent. They are not. That's the problem."

        and I thought it was some sort of law or something - oh well - guess that is not true huh

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 19 Jun 2009 @ 7:51pm

          Re: Re: Re: a broken system

          No, you missed the point: It isn't the law assuming innocent until proven guilty, it's people here assuming that, even after making a settlement, that she wasn't guilty.

          I would say that if I was confident that I didn't have a computer during that time frame and I could prove it, I would go to court. Apparently she didn't feel that confident.

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

          • identicon
            innocent until proven guilty, 20 Jun 2009 @ 7:46am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: a broken system

            "Apparently she didn't feel that confident."

            Apparently neither did the RIAA

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 21 Jun 2009 @ 12:56am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: a broken system

            It is much faster and less interruption to her life to have the case dropped prior to going into court... so it makes sense that she would not if it weren't necessary.

            Not everyone wants to champion fighting the RIAA. In her case I think she is happy to be done with it even if she is still troubled by the abuse of the system.

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

  • identicon
    Arrg, 19 Jun 2009 @ 6:24pm

    Well, it is obvious that since she did not have a computer at the time, it must have been her HP laser printer that was doing all the infringing

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

  • identicon
    Thomas, 20 Jun 2009 @ 3:17am

    Extortion

    Why should the RIAA worry about whether or not the evidence is genuine? If they sue x number of people who are willing to settle for $3000 to avoid proving innocence, they can make a nice pool of money. There's no reason whatsoever for the RIAA not to extort money like this. They pay enough to Congress for bribes to get away with it.

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

    • identicon
      Tyler!, 20 Jun 2009 @ 6:08am

      Re: Extortion

      You mean besides the legal and moral reasons not to extort, right? Or do you really advocate RIAA's frivolous law suits?

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

      • identicon
        Thomas, 21 Jun 2009 @ 6:10am

        Re: Re: Extortion

        I was being a wee bit sarcastic. I think the RIAA deserves to be targeted by the FBI the same way the Mafia gets targeted.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Jun 2009 @ 7:10am

      Re: Extortion

      Because all they need is one person to fight back and win, and they look like idiots, and you could end up with bigger legal issues. They won't go to the well without information.

      "Researchers at one university spoofed an IP address and got the RIAA/MPAA to send copyright infringement notices to a networked laser printer, a device that can't possibly share files."

      Here is a filler quote from their study:

      "Although successful, the yield of misreporting client
      attack is low. Of the 281 complaints generated by our
      May, 2008 trace, just 18 of these were for IPs that we
      were attempting to implicate. The remaining majority
      were targeted at the IP addresses"


      Effectively, they were sending out faked packets to point at other IP addresses on their own network, and only 6% even in this extreme case were detected as a false positive. No, they didn't get any DMCA notices, they were just testing the methods used to generate certain types of reports.

      Now, further, since there is nothing at those IP address to answer a second time, or to confirm a packet, it is very likely that nobody would consider it a positive. A single non-completed transfer doesn't generate a DMCA notice.

      Read up on it and learn before you go off spouting the lies.

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

      • identicon
        CleverName, 20 Jun 2009 @ 7:57am

        Re: Re: Extortion

        Are you implying that their method of detecting infringement is 100% ? No, I didn't think so. So, how many false positives does it take in order to make what they do inconscienable ? Only one if it is you, Tell me I'm wrong.

        I'm sure there are reasonable explanations for all the other highly questionable cases in which settlement letters where sent but then the case was dropped.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 20 Jun 2009 @ 8:49am

          Re: Re: Re: Extortion

          reasonable explainations? Let's see - the dog ate my homework. SODDI. Two black youths. ;)

          Seriously though, how often do you hear of people going to jail who were not guilty? Ask most people in jail, they didn't do it! There are a number of reasons technically that stuff could happen, not limited to someone installing a backdoor on another users PC and using nginx or similar as proxy / redirection. Possibly the person downloading the material was a guest. Perhaps they had an unsecured wireless, which was then fixed, probably "solved". The dropping of cases actually shows that the RIAA and other groups involved aren't just jamming this stuff no matter what.

          Are you perfect? never made an error? never called someone Bob when their name is Fred?

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

      • identicon
        Thomas, 21 Jun 2009 @ 6:11am

        Re: Re: Extortion

        Does no one understand sarcasm anymore?

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

  • identicon
    The Cenobyte, 22 Jun 2009 @ 7:58am

    Why did she settle?

    I am confused, why did she settle at all? I mean it seems to me that i fthe RIAA did not drop the case after discovery a very good argument could be made that it was infact extortion and could have filed a counter suit.

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


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