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RIAA Bullies Witnesses Into Perjury 385

Posted by Zonk
from the talk-short dept.
QT writes "A Michigan couple is counter-suing the RIAA after they learned that the RIAA had bullied their witnesses into lying. The story revolves around a 15-year-old girl who, when deposed, told how RIAA lawyers told her that she had to commit perjury just so they could win their case. From the article: 'Q - Did [the RIAA lawyer] tell you why he needed you to stick with your original false story? A - Because he said he didn't have a case unless I did. Q - So, he told you that he didn't have a case unless you stuck with the original false story?'"
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RIAA Bullies Witnesses Into Perjury

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  • Hmmmm.... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by gbulmash (688770) * <semi_famous@yaho ... m minus math_god> on Friday December 30, 2005 @05:43PM (#14367211) Homepage Journal
    I'm not sure I buy an industry lawyer telling a 15 year old girl he wouldn't have a case unless she lied. If he had the power to coerce her, he'd say "just do it or else."

    BUT, if it is the case that he did coerce her to commit perjury, I'd seriously suggest he be criminally indicted for contributing to the delinquency of a minor and any other child-harm charge they can use against him. Plus anything in the conspiracy vein.

    It would nice to see an RIAA lawyer disbarred and jailed. I seriously doubt it would happen (see /. article in two weeks where the local prosecutor declines to file charges as he doesn't believe the witness is credible enough to build a case around). But a boy can dream, can't he?

    - Greg

    • by RedNovember (887384) on Friday December 30, 2005 @05:50PM (#14367256)
      This is amazing. Every time you think that it can't get worse, it does. There are people on Slashdot right now saying that the RIAA are baby-eaters, and it's getting harder and harder to resist taking it to the extreme.

      Which RIAA moron thought this would result in good PR down the road? Stuff like this will always come out.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 30, 2005 @06:39PM (#14367514)
        There are people on Slashdot right now saying that the RIAA are baby-eaters

        That's a completely unfair allegation. I'm sure that very few members of the RIAA eat babies on a regular basis.
      • Re:Hmmmm.... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Antimatter3009 (886953) on Friday December 30, 2005 @07:51PM (#14367876)
        If this is the kind of stuff that comes out, imagine how much more (and worse) remains hidden.
      • Re:Hmmmm.... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by canuck57 (662392) on Friday December 30, 2005 @08:15PM (#14367989)

        Which RIAA moron thought this would result in good PR down the road? Stuff like this will always come out.

        Your kidding right? It is all about numbers, extortion, PR and hope people cave in. Lets face it that this is extortion tax. RIAA tax. Get 200,000 people just to pay a $200 (pseudo) fine and that equates to $40,000,000. How many people can afford a lawyer and time off from work to defend themselves for $200? It is corporate extortion against the public. These legal parasites don't care about families.

        The courts should hammer the RIAA where they have no case, or cannot prove their accusations or are otherwise negligent in their behavior. RIAA are baby eaters and worse, professional extortionists backed by a legal system with no guts.

        They be glad I am not sitting on a jury. If they could not prove their case I would award expenses plus punitive damages that would make them take a second look while they spin uncontrollably. Treating the general public like criminals is not going to solve anything.

        The fact of the mater is that the technology today allows for rapid distribution of media and entertainment that the established mega monopolies can no longer control. So like prohibition, the monopolistic control of the entertainment industry must change. Allow movies to be legally downloaded for $1 and the block buster might net $200M in a weekend without the middleman and retail costs. And it does not require Sony/BMG, Arista or any other RIAA memebr company.

        Resistance is futile, the Internet will roll over the RIAA in time.

      • by Robber Baron (112304) on Saturday December 31, 2005 @02:36AM (#14369168) Homepage
        There are people on Slashdot right now saying that the RIAA are baby-eaters

        The Association of Baby Eaters just called...they're thinking of sueing you for making that libelous false association.
    • Re:Hmmmm.... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 30, 2005 @06:16PM (#14367397)
      How about we start naming this evil by its true name.

      Everybody is thinking the Riaa is the bad guy. Take a look at who they are though, its Sony, Warner music, Walt Disney Records, EMI Records and so on. All the Riaa name is for is to make sure there wont be a newspaper headline saying something like "EMI Records sues granny" or something like that.

      So no its not a rogue lawyer for a faceless organization. Its Sony, its EMI, its Disney and they are trying to not get their name dragged through the mud by hiding behind the name Riaa

      Full list of members of the Riaa http://www.riaa.com/about/members/default.asp [riaa.com]
      • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 30, 2005 @06:36PM (#14367498)
        I hate to be the one to break the news, but that list is inaccurate. I know for a fact that Fat Wreck Chords is *NOT*, and has never been, a member of the RIAA. In fact, they had to fight for over a year to get the RIAA to stop claiming that they were a member. It looks like the RIAA has gone back to their old ways, though.

        Simply put, the RIAA will list every single label it can find, and add them to a master list. Why? So that it appears that they have more backing than they really do.
        • He's right. Fat Wreck Chords may not be thrilled if you copy every CD they have without buying it, and I'm sure Fat Mike would call you a dick and spit on you or something, but that's pretty much as far as it would go. What does suing someone do for you? Not a whole lot but make you look like a money hungry bastard. Spitting on someone makes you look unclean and unprofessional, and let's face it, that's what "punk" is supposed to be about.
        • by metricmusic (766303) on Friday December 30, 2005 @10:22PM (#14368456) Homepage Journal
          Here's their say on that from 2000:


            Date: Thu, 03 Aug 2000 14:14:23 -0700
          From: Fat Wreck Chords mailbag@fatwreck.com
          To: Adam Fogler afogler@---.---.edu
          Subject: Re: Fat Wreck Chords a member of the RIAA? Say it ain't so!

          Adam,
          We our not part of the RIAA. We are a label that uses RED (though not exclusively) as a distributor, hence maybe that is why our name appears on the list. Still we've never signed anything with the RIAA. That being said, FAT WRECK CHORDS does believe in copyright and is against piracy.

          Now on a side note, I hope you are running your computer on LINUX or some other open source software?

          floyd


          http://ask.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=6826&thres hold=1&commentsort=0&tid=141&tid=4&mode=thread&cid =882333 [slashdot.org]

    • by twitter (104583) on Friday December 30, 2005 @06:19PM (#14367409) Homepage Journal
      It would nice to see an RIAA lawyer disbarred and jailed. I seriously doubt it would happen

      Why not? Do you think an industry that screws it's clients and treats it's customers like criminals would care about their lawyers? If one of them gets caught, the people who ordered, "win any way you can," will be the first to repudiate them, "Bad buzz Bob. You know how it goes, you're fired."

      I'm not sure I buy an industry lawyer telling a 15 year old girl he wouldn't have a case unless she lied.

      Why not? They don't have any evidence to begin with, what makes you think they won't create the details by threats? The fine article said he threatened the witness with all the costs of the case and that the costs would get greater unless she burnt her friend and capped the friends losses at $4,000. If you can believe a 15 year old girl was talking to the RIAA thug without a lawyer, you had better believe the thug had his way with her.

      The results are what you see, the case is shit and has blown up in their face. Obviously, the thug has screwed up.

      • by Rebelgecko (893016) on Friday December 30, 2005 @07:08PM (#14367665)
        Do you think an industry that screws it's clients and treats it's customers like criminals would care about their lawyers?
        The first industry I thought of was I read that sentence was prostitution.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 30, 2005 @09:12PM (#14368245)

        As a general rule, lawyers are never disbarred, no matter how egregious the offense. When they are, they are usually re-admitted to the state bar within a few years. The only way a lawyer serves jail time for suborning perjury in a civil case is if the case involves millions of dollars or the loss of human life, and even then it's as rare as hen's teeth.

        Judges are unwilling to convict lawyers of technical offenses (and in this kind of case defendants always waive their right to a jury trial). Prosecutors are unwilling to even bring charges, partly because of the low conviction rates.

        Remember, the legislators and administrators writing the laws are lawyers. The judges administering the laws are lawyers. The prosecutors enforcing the law are lawyers. Welcome to government of, by, and for the lawyers. What kind of idiot lawyer sends another lawyer to jail in a situation like that? Just causes trouble for everybody.

        • by Anonymous Coward
          There is a lawyer near my hometown who faked his own death, collected the life insurance, kept the money and now is re-admitted to the bar and practicing law (wicked good divorce lawyer)
        • by HD Webdev (247266) on Saturday December 31, 2005 @02:54AM (#14369211) Homepage Journal
          As a general rule, lawyers are never disbarred, no matter how egregious the offense. When they are, they are usually re-admitted to the state bar within a few years. The only way a lawyer serves jail time for suborning perjury in a civil case is if the case involves millions of dollars or the loss of human life, and even then it's as rare as hen's teeth.

          When it does happen, it's pretty sweet justice.

          Case in point, the two attorneys working with Al Sharpton on the Tawana Brawley [wikipedia.org] hoax were soon disbarred.
    • Re:Hmmmm.... (Score:3, Informative)

      by adam613 (449819)
      Why bother with any of the conspiracy/delinquency of a minor charges that may or may not stick? Subordination of perjury on its own is a disbarrable offense.
    • Re:Hmmmm.... (Score:4, Informative)

      by crmartin (98227) on Friday December 30, 2005 @07:31PM (#14367775)
      Specifically, he should be indicted and disbarred for "subornation of perjury" [lectlaw.com].

      Just figured you'd want to know.
    • Perjury (Score:3, Informative)

      IANAL, but I pay plenty of them. A lawyer is an officer of the court. Solicitation of perjury by an officer of the court is some serious shit. If this young lady is credible and there is some corroborating evidence, we just might see an RIAA lawyer disbarred and jailed. Like the parent article writer, I am cynical enough to doubt it will happen, but yes, we can dream.
  • all for $4000 (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Crudely_Indecent (739699) * on Friday December 30, 2005 @05:43PM (#14367216) Journal
    The transcript of the deposition that followed this motion gives us a glimpse into exactly how far the recording industry is willing to go...


    I doubt that the recording industry had much to do with coersion....that sounds like a lawyer trait to me. Some people will never learn. The recording industry could spend their money much more wisely. Win or lose, lawyers are the only ones who really win in court.



    ' Plaintiffs' representative further threatened that unless Mr. Nelson paid $4,000.00 immediately, his client authorized him to conduct extensive discovery which would only increase the amount that he would eventually owe.



    I'm sure that the law firm was paid much more than $4000 to win this case illegally.

    • Re:all for $4000 (Score:3, Insightful)

      by happyemoticon (543015)

      . . . that sounds like a lawyer trait to me . . .

      Cue indignant rant from an attorney /.er who's convinced it's only the corrupt, fallen state of the capitalists in this country which allows lawyers to act against their true nature of liberalism and prevents them from the pursuit of the public good.

      Well, while I am no expert on British legal history, I will tell you that Jonathan Swift certainly believed in the statement,

      Win or lose, lawyers are the only ones who really win in court.

      In Gulliver's

    • Re:all for $4000 (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Thuktun (221615)
      I doubt that the recording industry had much to do with coersion. [...]
      I'm sure that the law firm was paid much more than $4000 to win this case illegally.


      How do you reconcile these two statements?
    • Re:all for $4000 (Score:5, Insightful)

      by pintomp3 (882811) on Friday December 30, 2005 @06:50PM (#14367569)
      it's not the $4000, they can't afford to lose any cases. if they did, it would cause future defendants to stand up for their rights and not just be bullied into settling. their costs would skyrocket if each case was actually contested. right now it's a double bonus; they get thousands of $s out of ppl and scare a lot of ppl from downloading music.
  • by brokencomputer (695672) * on Friday December 30, 2005 @05:44PM (#14367221) Homepage Journal
    Wow, I can't decide if this might be more embarrassing than when they sued a stone-dead grandma. [betanews.com]
    • by Transdimentia (840912) on Friday December 30, 2005 @06:15PM (#14367393)
      What is even more embarassing is how the RIAA believes it IS the law: said RIAA spokesman Jonathan Lamy. "We will now, of course, obviously dismiss this case.

      I could have sworn that you ask a judge to dismiss a case, you don't just do it yourself.

      • by LexNaturalis (895838) on Friday December 30, 2005 @07:29PM (#14367765)
        IANAL, but since this is a civil action, the plaintiff can, at any time, drop their case against the defendant, which is the same thing as dismissing the case. The language might be slightly different, but it is within the plaintiff's rights to drop the case entirely without asking a judge's permission. You CAN ask a judge to dismiss a case againt YOU, but you don't have to ask the judge if you're the one bringing the case to begin with.

        It's just like a district attorney or federal attorney can drop criminal charges against a person without asking the judge's permission. The only time a judge is involved is if there is a plea bargain, in which case the judge has to approve the plea bargain. So in this (limited) case, the RIAA is very much within their rights and the law. That's not to say their other tactics and actions are lawful or ethical.
        • IAAL, and you're probably not quite right. In most (if not all) Australian jurisdictions a plaintiff can usually discontinue (not dismiss) an action it brought as of right up until trial, however the discontinuance gives the defendant the right to an award of its costs incurred to date.

          A plaintiff who wishes to discontinue once the trial has commenced can usually only do so with the court's leave, as a plaintiff who discontinues still has the ability to re-commence (again, usually only with the court's lea

    • by commodoresloat (172735) on Friday December 30, 2005 @07:07PM (#14367663)
      Hey, that dead grandmother was illegally listening to downloaded mp3s! Copyright laws apply for a good 70 years after the death of the artist -- the law says nothing about the death of the listener. What, you think some grandma gets a free ride just because she committed her crimes in the afterlife?
  • Good (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Lord_Dweomer (648696) on Friday December 30, 2005 @05:46PM (#14367232) Homepage
    I have to say, as much as I wish this stuff never happened...I'm kinda glad its unfolding the way it is. They're doing everything they can to be as overtly evil as possible. And all it does is piss off Americans more and more and more...and now its pissing off judges and lawyers.

    Change takes time, thank god they're doing us a favor by speeding up their own demise with stunts like this. I'd love to see someone make a website with info on the lawyers who represent them. Lets dig up all the crap we can find on them and post it on the web (nothing illegal of course) and make sure people realize what kind of lowlifes they're considering dealing with if they are a potential client and Google one of the lawyers.

  • If Im not mistaken (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 30, 2005 @05:46PM (#14367235)
    Perjury in the US comes with a sentence of at least a few years in prison. Are we finally going to put some of these RIAA assholes where they belong?
  • ouch (Score:5, Informative)

    by hostingreviews (941757) on Friday December 30, 2005 @05:48PM (#14367244) Homepage
    So the RIAA bullied a little girl? Unthinkable. They would NEVER [boston.com], ever EVER [theregister.co.uk] do something so... okay so they do.
  • by TheBogie (941620) on Friday December 30, 2005 @05:49PM (#14367247) Journal
    It just goes to show that 99% of lawyers give the rest of them a bad name.
  • Coercion? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by brokencomputer (695672) * on Friday December 30, 2005 @05:49PM (#14367251) Homepage Journal
    Q. It wasn't true. And you felt that Mr. Krichbaum was trying to get you to say something that wasn't true?
    It seems like the interviewer is the one telling the girl what's true and what isn't. "It wasn't true" doesn't sound like a question to me. Although I'm sure the RIAA has done stuff much worse than this.
    • Re:Coercion? (Score:3, Informative)

      by EvanED (569694)
      I believe there are times when lawyers can make statements. Probably if something is not in dispute. For instance, in testimony a lawyer can have earlier testimony read back and say "Freddy Freddinson earlier said this. Do you agree?" and stuff like that. Probably this was something like that, and if he was more precise he would have said something like "And you say this isn't true. And you felt that..."

      Though it does sound like the actual question is leading... rules must be different for depositions than
    • Re:Coercion? (Score:5, Informative)

      by pgpckt (312866) on Friday December 30, 2005 @06:07PM (#14367354) Homepage Journal
      Q. It wasn't true. And you felt that Mr. Krichbaum was trying to get you to say something that wasn't true?

      It seems like the interviewer is the one telling the girl what's true and what isn't. "It wasn't true" doesn't sound like a question to me. Although I'm sure the RIAA has done stuff much worse than this.


      You are quoting it out of context. Look to the prior question and answer:


      Q. -- Jim and yourself had ripped the music off?
      A. Yes.
      Q. And that wasn't true, was it?
      A. Correct.
      Q. Correct that it wasn't true?
      A. It wasn't true, yes.
      Q. It wasn't true. And you felt that Mr. Krichbaum was trying to get you to say something that wasn't true?
      A. Yes.


      You can clearly see from the dialogue that the questioning lawyer is merely repeating the answer the witness gave immediately prior.

      This is a common speech error among lawyers. Many people when they speak "fill gaps" with "Uh-huh" or "Um" and the like. Many lawyers also use these space fillers. With lawyers, of course, it is Q&A, so one of the most common space fillers is to repeat the prior answer as part of your next question.

      Really poor lawyers do this in EVERY QUESTION. It gets annoying quick. But even good lawyers do it from time to time. It's just the way people talk.

      There is nothing dirty about this. You might also note from the record that there was another lawyer there, a Mr. Miller, who objects from time to time. He is working for the other side, and would have objected if this was improper (which didn't happen, because it wasn't).
      • Re:Coercion? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by BrynM (217883) * on Friday December 30, 2005 @06:23PM (#14367434) Homepage Journal
        With lawyers, of course, it is Q&A, so one of the most common space fillers is to repeat the prior answer as part of your next question.
        A group of old attorney friends of mine used to call it Matlocking: "Everything was going fine, until Nate started matlocking during the depo. I thought the court reporter was going to kill him after 20 minutes of typing everything twice". Kind of like monologueing in the incredibles.

        Some think it lends a know-it-all air of authority to the questioner, but after many a drunken discussion with them it's just a way for the questioner to get time to think or (in the case of one friend) remember what the witness actually said. These guys were work-comp attorneys, so they were a bit oddball and irreverent in the first place. Boy, did they havesome great parties ;)

        • by HTH NE1 (675604)
          And it isn't exclusive to lawyers:

          "Ah, hello Captain Prostetnic, and how are we feeling today?"

          "I appear to have wiped out half my crew."

          "So you appear to have wiped out half your crew, have you?"

          "That's what I said."

          "So, that's what you said, is it?"

          "That is what I said."

          "I see, so that is what you said, is it?"

          "Yes."

          "So your answer to my question, 'That is what you said, is it?' is yes."

          "Yes."

          "I see. Well, this is very interesting."

          "Mr. Halfrunt, I have just wiped out half of my crew."

          "So you have just wi

  • by Spazntwich (208070) on Friday December 30, 2005 @05:50PM (#14367252)
    In recent days, it seems like more and more stories about the RIAA royally fucking up are getting picked up by the major media outlets. All of this bad press will (hopefully) finally get the American populace aware of how bad these companies really are, and possibly mobilize the sloth-like public to actually do something about it.

    Rejoice, slashdot nerds and trolls. The time of revenge may finally be at hand.
    • What's wrong with this fucked up country of America, suing little girls because they did what every teen does and has always done record some music and share it. Be it 8 track tapes, casettes recorded from radio, MD's, CD's or mp3 the principle is the same. If we can see it or hear it, we can record it and share it. Now fuck right off RIAA you pillocks.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 30, 2005 @05:51PM (#14367262)
    Now they're suing the 15 year old for copyright infringement for reading their statement outloud in public.
  • by voice_of_all_reason (926702) on Friday December 30, 2005 @05:52PM (#14367265)
    The RIAA would go to customers' houses, brutally murder them, and grind up the body as organ meat for third world countries if they could get away with it.

  • Amazing... (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 30, 2005 @05:53PM (#14367275)
    sixteen comments so far and no industry shill has stepped up to defend them.

    RIAA shills, you're slipping. WTF do you think they're paying you for?

    (MRC="disarm")
  • label lawyers (Score:4, Insightful)

    by BushCheney08 (917605) on Friday December 30, 2005 @05:54PM (#14367282)
    I used to work for one of the major record labels. The lawyers that were on staff were the kinds of people that partied way too hard and barely graduated from law school. If any of them were presenting the case, this wouldn't surprise me in the least. However, I would figure that the RIAA would have competent lawyers working for them. I guess maybe they don't.
  • Bad guys ?! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Chaffar (670874) on Friday December 30, 2005 @05:55PM (#14367292)
    all they're doing is forcing the actual file sharers further underground where they're harder to find, which leads to the next round of lawsuits hitting an even lower ratio of bad guys to innocent people

    And who exactly would those "bad guys" be? Hmmm? You don't see them breaking the law and using mafia-style racketeering techniques to win cases...

    Remember, this is a war of rights... civil disobedience is a way of showing your discontentment with a law. Some take it to extremes, some are just casual downloaders, but WE are not the bad guys.

    P.S: I know that the guy who wrote the article didn't mean what I'm trying to infer from what he said, but these "slips of tongue" can be significant and "used against" the involved party, because it does mean that of all the people sued for downloading copyrighted materials, SOME were "bad guys", which IMHO isn't true...

    • Re:Bad guys ?! (Score:3, Informative)

      by EvanED (569694)
      And who exactly would those "bad guys" be? Hmmm? You don't see them breaking the law and using mafia-style racketeering techniques to win cases...

      And cops and prosecutors often present questionable evidence, lie about how it was obtained to keep it in, etc. in order to get a conviction. That's certainly wrong. But does that mean that most of the people they're trying to get a conviction against isn't a 'bad guy'?

      Just 'cause one side is in the wrong doesn't mean that the other side is in the clear.

      it does me
    • by Nom du Keyboard (633989) on Friday December 30, 2005 @06:14PM (#14367385)
      Remember, this is a war of rights... civil disobedience is a way of showing your discontentment with a law.

      Civil disobedience. I like that thought. File downloading and sharing as protest. Protected First Amendment speech. Bring on the ACLU!

      Wouldn't that be a W00t!

  • by ShibaInu (694434) on Friday December 30, 2005 @05:56PM (#14367294)
    Since the RIAA is clearly an evil organization, I suggest that everyone stop purchasing music. And, stop downloading it as well.

    Think about it, if no one even "illegally" downloaded music, the RIAA would go away in a big hurry. What would be worse for them, piracy or no one on earth giving a shit what they did?
    • yeah, let's become a nation without music, that is doubleplusgood All we need is the telescreen ;)
    • There are many sources of music not associated with Riaa.

      I suggest you check out magnatune.com as a start.

      Another great place with riaa associated music that irritates Riaa is allofmp3.com.

      But you're right- most music that is ethically* under copyright DOES suck.

      * I draw the line at the new "forever" copyright laws they are buyi. er.. getting passed.
    • by necro2607 (771790) on Friday December 30, 2005 @07:02PM (#14367629)
      I think you're failing to realize that there are MANY MANY musicians out there whose music is NOT being sold by any affiliate of the RIAA.

      There is NO REASON to cease purchasing music by these musicians.

      The RIAA doesn't own the entire music industry. They might own an unbelievable percentage of the pop music industry, but I assure you, to say that no more music should be bought is completely ludicrous.

      Instead, before making a purchase, check to see that the record label you're purchasing from is not RIAA-affiliated.

      Check out RIAA Radar [magnetbox.com] to search albums and see if they are released by RIAA-member record labels or not.

      I fully support boycotting all RIAA-affiliated products but trying to kill the music industry is, to say the least, going a little overboard.
    • That didn't work (Score:4, Interesting)

      by jgoemat (565882) on Friday December 30, 2005 @11:13PM (#14368619)
      When Napster came into being, music sales shot up over 20% and the recording industry had their most profitable year ever. The year after they shut down napster, CD sales droped 30%, and they blamed it on file sharing. Go figure. I know I bought more CDs when napster was around, it let me listen to songs I would have never heard otherwise and find artists I didn't mind shelling out $15 for. When they shut Napster down, I pretty much stopped buying CDs, partly because the greedy bastards ticked me off.
  • by glomph (2644) on Friday December 30, 2005 @06:01PM (#14367321) Homepage Journal
    RICO [wikipedia.org]
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 30, 2005 @06:04PM (#14367336)
    The fact that RIAA is willing to bring a 15 year old witness into the case at all shows how low they are going. What was she expected to tell the jury?
  • by mmell (832646) <mike.mell@gmail.com> on Friday December 30, 2005 @06:07PM (#14367357)
    The sperm cell has a one in ten-million chance of eventually becoming a human being!
  • by elpapacito (119485) on Friday December 30, 2005 @06:13PM (#14367378)
    learning which companies [riaa.com] do support RIAA. Let them know what is RIAA doing so that they can do some image-issues calculus.
  • by cdrudge (68377) * on Friday December 30, 2005 @06:21PM (#14367419) Homepage
    <Lawyer hat on>
    But my client, Mr RIAA Lawyer, never explicitly said that she must say that. He mearly said that it would be benifical to his case which was non-existant based on the facts. Any culpability must rest with the one who actually commits the perjury. My other client, the RIAA, will immediately be filing a counter-counter suit against this female for dragging the RIAA's already tarnished name through the mud (again).
    <Lawyer hat off>
  • by mmell (832646) <mike.mell@gmail.com> on Friday December 30, 2005 @06:23PM (#14367428)
    whaddya suppose all those sub-$100 machines that Mr. Negroponte wants to distribute in the third world will do to this? I mean, these people are absolutely suit proof (referring to their utter lack of things to take by due process). I can't believe it'll take 'em long to figure out how to use their new-found technologies (machines and a pipe to connect 'em) to do something else than visit the 4-H's website.

    What can the {MP|RI}AA take from some Sudanese farmer's kid for downloading the latest N'Stync single? For that matter, what court will exercise jurisdiction for this?

    Having said that, why do I have the creeping feeling that this is all going to end very badly?

    • the obvious answer is to take their $100 laptop away. Then there's always imprisonment, maiming or execution for stealing in some parts of the world. What court would do it, why the kind you can buy for a little money in many third world shitholes.
  • by Theatetus (521747) on Friday December 30, 2005 @06:25PM (#14367443) Journal

    RIAA's (along with several famous musicians') problem is that technology has rendered their way of doing business obsolete.

    Why does RIAA hate file-sharing? They're not stupid; they know the actual "loss" is nowhere near what they claim they lose (whether it's a loss at all is debateable). They aren't worried about losing customers: they are worried about losing musicians.

    Professional-quality audio production software can now be bought for a few thousand dollars. Peer-to-peer networks as well as other Internet protocols allow musicians to distribute music without a label. Anyone with the talent, time, and guts can market his or her music without the need for a label, and get people to go to his or her concerts which is where musicians make money anyways.

    A lot of my favorite bands don't have labels: they distribute their music through p2p, on the web, and through tape/CD/mp3 swapping. That's what keeps RIAA up at night: the idea that musicians (and then consumers) would see that RIAA doesn't actually serve any purpose. (A&R? Yeah, maybe if they actually did that... heck they outsource A&R to reality TV shows now...)

    I'm sure musicians who are addicted to album sales want to use the legal system to fix the world at the stage of early-90s technology -- I'm also sure horse stablers wanted to fix the world at the stage before the internal combustion engine. You don't have a "right" to make a living in any particular way, though you have a right to try.

    • by pUr3d0xYk (936029) on Friday December 30, 2005 @06:49PM (#14367565) Homepage
      You have a right to try, but not to sue people for getting in your way. To quote a wise old fool:

      "There has grown up in the minds of certain groups in this country the notion that because a man or a corporation has made a profit out of the public for a number of years , the government and the courts are charged with the duty of guaranteeing such profit in the future, even in the face of changing circumstances and contrary public interest. This strange doctrine is not supported by statute nor common law. Neither individuals nor corporations have any right to come into court and ask that the clock of history be stopped, or turned back, [for their private benefit]." --Robert Heinlein, in the short story "Life-Line".

      I took a class at Harvard (online) last year, taught by the man heading up the Berkeley Center for Internet & Law (one *very* intelligent J. Palfrey), and he made this point so GLARINGLY clear that you wanted to give him standing ovations.

      There are several viable alternate business-models to the RIAA's, now that we no longer need their trucks to deliver CDs to Wal-Marts around the country. All of them would be far better for musicians AND consumers than lining the slimy pockets of a handful of wretched assholes up top of a crumbling pyramid...the trick now is to make the public, and especially the musicians, aware of them.

      -K*

  • by wouterke (653865) on Friday December 30, 2005 @06:26PM (#14367444) Homepage
    This is hardly surprising, is it?

    We all knew the RIAA uses mob tactics to get what they want. This is just another proof...

    I'm actually surprised nobody's tried to sue them under the RICO act yet. I wouldn't be surprised if they'd win.
    • by digitac (24581)
      Tried and failed. RICO requires violence or the threat thereof. See here [theregister.co.uk]. Unless someone can catch one of their lawyers threatening physical violence to get someone to settle, RICO is out. ::Digitac
  • *evil grin* (Score:5, Interesting)

    by torstenvl (769732) on Friday December 30, 2005 @06:34PM (#14367493)
    I think it would be nice to slip in state legislation in as many states as possible that does a little death-by-a-thousand-cuts on corporations who do this kind of thing.

    Maybe by making it illegal for any party contributing to the delinquency of a minor, and all their members, agents, and partners, to sell their wares to minors or in stores accessible by minors.

    I imagine that you'd see everyone withdraw from the RIAA pretty quick. No music label wants their CDs to be available only in porn shops.
  • by Gary Destruction (683101) * on Friday December 30, 2005 @07:26PM (#14367751) Journal
    They already admitted [theregister.co.uk] that CDR's are a bigger threat than P2P.
  • by Eric Damron (553630) on Friday December 30, 2005 @07:50PM (#14367873)
    A lawyer tells a 15 year old girl that she has got to stick with her false statements because if she doesn't, he doesn't have a case?

    That doesn't even make sense to me. "You can't change your story because if you do I can't hurt you!" Does that sound like it would motivate anyone into sticking to their original story?

    I could be wrong but something doesn't add up here.
  • by ewhac (5844) on Friday December 30, 2005 @07:51PM (#14367880) Homepage Journal
    I would very, very, very much like to believe this is true.

    On the other hand, I very, very, very much wanted to believe that the Department of Fatherland Security was harassing college students who were checking out copies of Chairman Mao's Little Red Book. Because if it had been true, it would have served as further evidence of the Bush Administration's mendacity, and how desperately they need to be stopped yesterday.

    But, as it happened, the story wasn't true (which in no way exonerates the Bush Administration).

    The RIAA are clearly a bunch of amoral, unethical assholes. But before I get worked up about a single teenager's vague accusation against a RIAA lawyer and add this event to their ever-lengthening list of misdeeds, I'm going to wait for further corroborative evidence. 'Cause if it turns out the kid is making it up, It Will Not Look Good For Us.

    When you are engaged in what is fundamentally a battle of ethics, it is absolutely critical your hands remain spotlessly clean.

    Schwab

  • Who cares? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by dada21 (163177) * <adam.dada@gmail.com> on Friday December 30, 2005 @08:10PM (#14367966) Homepage Journal
    Here's the way we should handle these and every case thereafter in every court:

    1. Explain to the jury the details of the trial: what the prosecution is alleging, and what the law states.

    2. Explain to the jury the details of the crime: what the burden of proof is, and what the penalty is if the defendant is found guilty of violating the law.

    3. Explain to the jury their 9th and 10th Amendment rights to nullify abusive and unfounded laws, especially laws that restrict a person's basic rights as protected by the Constitution and inherent in every person. Let the jury know it is not only their right but their responsibility to judge the law as well as the defendant. Let them know that abusive laws should be found illegal, and to punish prosecutors who abuse these abusive laws.

    This is why I don't care about these cases -- we've already lost. When the individual's right to judge the law is returned, I'll pay attention. Until then, just shove these criminals into jail with the non-violent drug users, prostitutes and other people who should be free, not imprisoned or fined by an unjust State.
  • by rspress (623984) on Friday December 30, 2005 @09:39PM (#14368348) Homepage
    This is from a group who does not want you to do illegal pirating but has no problems with its members being involved in payola to boost sales of their doggy artists, trust me I use the term artist very loosely and to also rip off these artists with very one sided contracts and are involved in price fixing the digital downloads they never wanted. They refuse to go after the real cause of their loss of profits, those who mass copy and sell their product.

    Let's face it, the RIAA and its members had a very sweet deal. The made boat loads of money from album from artists who one had one or two decent songs on an album but you were stuck buying the whole thing. Add to this the one sided contracts, the cocaine used to grease the disc jockeys to play their crap. They had a good thing going and here comes digital music to spoil the party.

    The people who made buggy whips probably felt the same way when that evil automobile started catching on with the public. Just imagine what would happen if someone started a digital only label and sold their songs for only 49 cents and gave most of that to the artist. Make the band responsible for their own advertising, the label would just make sure that the music got to the popular music download sites and took care of the transactions. Hey.....I just may patent that idea!
  • by dangitman (862676) on Friday December 30, 2005 @11:04PM (#14368587)
    The genesis and evolution of personal digital music appears to have tangential issues of legality, freedom and marketing - alll swirling around in an unholy mess. Precedents are also found in the analog wars over video recording and "home taping." But the advent of digital brought these issues into greater prominence.

    Consumer digital music started in a blissful age, with the wonderful CD standard rapidly replacing the mishmash of cassettes, vinyl LPs and singles on the market. At the same time, the music video industry was booming, and perhaps the number one threat to recorded music was actually the taping of music videos with VCRs.

    But the CD eliminated that threat quickly. It was a very attractive technology. It was durable and convenient. Did not wear out easily. Was an industry standard. High quality audio. Consumers embraced it. Companies promised that when CDs became popular, the price would drop sharply. But it never did. The miraculous CD technology inspired consumers and made them trust recording industry PR.

    And why not believe them? There was a massive catalog of still popular 80s pop music to be digitally re-mastered and released. Or 60s and 70s stuff for some. Current music was still innovating rapidly and diversifying. Presentation and quality was often paramount, with elaborate box sets and and many recordings that were actually meticulously re-mastered to improve on the original. Not just pushed through a processor and "converted."

    The main way of piracy of CDs was to use a CD-boombox or component system to record the CD to tape. Most audiophiles would want to listen to the original CD, and not bother taping (especially as they would demand expensive metal tapes for their copies). So most piracy was the shitty-quality boombox, and this just served as marketing for the CD version. Probably the main threat to CDs was from the Walkman - but that was neutralized very quickly (Sony's influence, perhaps?). Portable CD-walkmen were released very quickly, and were often cheaper than hi-fi component players, and price competitive with a high-end cassette-based Sony Walkman.

    Then CD burners came along, but the technology was quite esoteric and expensive at first. Blank media was expensive and authoring software rare. But it got the industry's attention, and the rumblings of the anti-digital crusade began in earnest. The honeymoon period with CDs was over. The industry took them for granted, because they were entrnched. When only a few years ago they were trumpeting the "freedom" of the CD medium.

    By the time CD burners became common, and the blank media cheap - a new threat was arising. So they never really started the battle on CD copying in earnest before they saw the threat of MP3s and the internet. then the shit really hit the fan, and the mass started really swirling.

    Napster. Oh original Napster, you cheeky devil. Don't think I have to elaborate on Napster and the resulting clusterfuck on Slashdot.

    So, fast forward a little. before the iPod, there was iTunes. This was not something that made the record labels happy. I'm not sure what prior negotiations, if any, Apple had with the RIAA before launching iTunes. But they went ahead with their "Rip, Mix, Burn" campaign. At the time Napster was floundering legally, and was doomed. So the RIAA, having defeated one opponent, felt that Apple must be the new threat.

    So, "Rip, Mix Burn" was attacked for supporting piracy. Apple tries its best to be diplomatic (even though they may have done this to ruffle some feathers) and gets into negotiations with the RIAA over how to legitimize iTunes and Apple's music strategy.

    So then the iPod comes out, with the "don't steal music" stickers to cover Apple's ass. But the criticisms keep mounting, and the industry at large sees this new device as a piracy threat. Competing hardware manufacturers are pissed at the iPod stealing all the attention. Significant corporate propaganda campaigns are launched against the iPod. But people keep buying them.

  • by zoglmannk (12757) on Friday December 30, 2005 @11:06PM (#14368600)
    I have an idea. It's either incredibly naive and stupid or brilliant. You have the RIAA logging onto P2P networks and scanning the network for people redistributing copy right material. Then they subpoena ISPs for the name's of those people using the IP address at the date and time they detected them redistributing their copy right material. Next they sue ma and pop for ridiculous amounts of money. Instead of going to court they effectively force them to settle out of court for a few thousand dollars. Why not just turn the tables on them with the same exact tactics? First get as many people to participate in this as possible. A 1,000 people would be a good goal. Next have everyone make a recording of something remotely sounding like music. And now comes the hard part; identify an RIAA IP address in advance. Subpoena their ISP for their identity. Next take them to court and sue for $1 million seeking damages for redistributing your copy right work. The only *evidence* is your word. With 1,000 individuals doing this, they would be mounting a collective $1 billion dollar lawsuit. Ironically, some of the cases would make it to court and in all or nearly all cases the plaintiff would fail. However, it would create a precedence that more evidence is needed than simple "computer evidence" being supplied by the plaintiff in P2P redistribution lawsuits. This would all be used to achieve a cookie cutter way of short circuiting their law suits against ma and pop. Stupid or not?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 30, 2005 @11:15PM (#14368627)
    You have to understand what a civil suit is actually about. It's about lawyers making money. It is most certainly not about obtaining justice. Lawyers bring suits because they believe they can make money. Both sides make money, winning is hitting the jackpot. You can be sure that the he bigger the prize, the more lawyers will do whatever it takes to ensure they win. What you're seeing here is child's play compared to what goes on in the big money lawsuits.

    There is no justice in courtrooms. There is winning and losing and making money. Justice sometimes is coincidental with winning and losing.
  • by ZachPruckowski (918562) <zachary.pruckowski@gmail.com> on Friday December 30, 2005 @11:45PM (#14368704)
    53. After being confronted with the falsity of Ms. Granado's statements, Plaintiffs' counsel refused to accept the truth and instead launched a counterattack accusing both Mr. Nelson and/or his attorney of a criminal conspiracy. (Exhibit 10, 11, 12, 13)
    54. In their efforts to cover up their own wrongdoing, Plaintiffs' counsel (1) harassed both the witness and her parents, (2) encouraged them to sign false declarations under oath, (3) threatened Defendants and their counsel to refrain from contacting Ms. Granado (4) participated in numerous meetings with the witness to re-establish her original testimony despite their knowledge and awareness that the testimony was false. (Exhibit 9, pp. 68-71, 79-82, 90-91; Exhibit 13)


    Not only did they break the rules, but they turned around and blamed the other guy. That reminds me of 12 year olds (mostly because I have to deal with that when I supervise them at the local Teen Center).

    Here's the kicker: On June 30, 2005, Plaintiffs deposed several additional witnesses who either lived with the Nelsons or had access to their computer. All of the witnesses confirmed that the Nelsons never participated in any infringing activity nor did they know about the use of the KaZaA program on their computer until receiving a notification letter from their internet provider.
    This teenage girl was the only witness who claimed that the defendants did it. Everyone else said she did it. Even if her original testimony was true, how is that a case. If 10 people say that Joe is guilty, and Joe blames Bob, why do you bring the case against Bob instead of Joe?
  • by Myopic (18616) on Saturday December 31, 2005 @04:33AM (#14369478)
    some people have suggested that album sales are off by seven percent because of the RIAA tactics scaring away customers. i can't speak for everyone, of course, but i can say that is definitely the reason i buy fewer albums. i used to buy, say, an album every week or two -- maybe thirty a year, or forty -- and now i buy maybe two or three a year. it's not worth it! what i want is to pay for music and have it in a free medialess format (MP3). since that isn't available, i am forced to either go without music (which i consider unacceptable) or to "steal" music by downloading it in the format i want (which i consider less unacceptable.)
  • Costs and copyright (Score:3, Interesting)

    by rdebath (884132) on Saturday December 31, 2005 @06:01AM (#14369651)
    What some people don't seem to realise is that music has now moved out of
    the realm where copyright works. Copyright is a state sponsered monopoly
    designed to aid small companies when competing against larger companies.

    The basic premise is that it costs $X to create a copy of an item, this
    item can then be sold for $X+P, however, Alice with her little company
    only has $Y available so she can make Y/X of these items to sell to Bob
    and friends. Alice's problem is that the demand is much larger than this
    so before copyright Mallory (the owner of the big company) could throw
    cash in a pot and make lots of profit selling to Carol and Dave before
    Alice can even get an appointment with Ivan at the bank. Copyright allows
    Alice some time to slowly build up her company so she can sell to Carol
    and Dave.

    If $X (the cost to copy) is very small or zero this breaks down
    completely. Take a tasty example, hamburgers, copyright could be
    considered to apply here there are all sorts of differences, special
    sauces and so on but the cost to copy (ie make another hamburger) is
    tiny so instead of trying to rip each other off the hamburger companies
    just try to make their product different then redefine this difference
    as 'better'. So Alice can easily join this market, she can talk to Ivan
    before anyone know what she wants to do and probably even has an advantage
    against the 'big boys' because she can change faster. Often Mallory will
    even welcome her because she is the 'honorable competittion' that keeps
    the monopolies department quiet.

    Both the music and the computer industries have spent considerable
    amounts to develop ways to reduce the cost to copy and they have been
    tremendously successful. Now they have to change their businesses to
    work in the environment they have created. Many individual companies are
    succeeding (IBM!) other are getting trampled (SCO!) but committees are
    (eg RIAA) are very slow.

    OTOH it would appear that the book industry were very happy with the
    status quo, they have treated books on disk with distain claiming that
    a book in the hand it better than a light on the screen. They go for
    tradition and the advantages that paper has; they may sink but the
    lifeboats are ready in the forms of demand printing, ebooks, custom books
    and so on until then appealing to the snob in people is working for them.

    The RIAA have driven themselves over a cliff and are now trying to
    legislate the law of gravity out of existance but they need to transform,
    if they don't they will splat. And I do not want to see them take any
    company that is as good at making tech toys as SONY with them.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Characters_in_cryptog raphy [wikipedia.org]

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