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RIAA Appeals Award of Attorneys' Fees 156

Posted by kdawson
from the first-up-against-the-wall dept.
Fishing Expedition writes in with a story in Ars reporting that the RIAA has decided to appeal a judge's decision to award attorneys' fees to defendant Debbie Foster in Capitol Records v. Foster. If the award stands, the RIAA could find itself in trouble in numerous other cases, and they know it. Their real fear, more than the attorneys' fees, is the judge's finding that the RIAA's arguments for contributory and vicarious infringement claims in cases like this one are not viable.
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RIAA Appeals Award of Attorneys' Fees

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  • I'm glad to see that the RIAA/MPAA's War on Customers is failing, and IANAL, but that article summary is terrible. Can you possibly make it any more confusing?
    • by spun (1352) <loverevolutionary@nOSPAM.yahoo.com> on Thursday February 22, 2007 @02:24PM (#18111302) Journal
      I'm glad to see that the RIAA/MPAA's War on Customers is failing, and IANAL, but that article summary is terrible. Can you possibly make it any more confusing?

      Feeshing Ixpedeeshun vreetes in veet a stury in Ers repurteeng thet zee RIEA hes deceeded tu eppeel a joodge's deceesiun tu everd etturneys' fees tu deffendunt Debbeee-a Fuster in Cepeetul Recurds f. Fuster. Iff zee everd stunds, zee RIEA cuoold feend itselff in truooble-a in noomeruoos oozeer ceses, und zeey knoo it. Zeeur reel feer, mure-a thun zee etturneys' fees, is zee joodge's feending thet zee RIEE's ergooments fur cuntreebootury und feeceriuoos inffreengement cleeems in ceses leeke-a thees oone-a ere-a nut feeeble-a. Bork Bork Bork!
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by purpledinoz (573045)

      Yes, instead of all these legal terms that I don't understand, I think he should have written the summary in pseudocode.

      All jokes aside, I thought it was standard for the loser of a court case to have to pay the winner's lawyer fees. Let me clarify what I'm saying:

      if (judge.decision().winner == defendant)
      {
      defendant.bankbalance += plaintiff.getmoney(defendant.fees);
      }
      • In the US, the basic standard is both sides pay their own costs and attorney fees. There are exceptions to the general rule in certain circumstances, for example, a statute might allow fee shifting in certain kinds of cases, suits deemed frivolous under the court rules may also result in fee shifting. So anyway, you should rewrite the code so that the default is not fee shifting, with exceptions that provide for fee shifting.
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by StarvingSE (875139)
          public void RIAA_court_case(Plaintiff pliantiff, Defendant defendant) {

          if (judge.decision().winner == defendant && case.frivolous)
          {
          defendant.bankbalance += plaintiff.getmoney(defendant.fees);
          ) else {
          defendant.bankbalance -= defendant.fees;
          plaintiff.bankbalance -= plaintiff.fees;
          }
          }

          i love pseudocode
          • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

            by Q-Cat5 (664698)
            PCC (PseudoCode Compiler) output--
            Compiler error: plaintiff does not exist in this context.

            Did you mean pliantiff?

            Compilers: the ultimate dictionary flamers.

          • by KiloByte (825081)
            You forgot about most of the money:

                }
                defendant.attorneys.bankbalance += defendant.fees;
                plaintiff.attorneys.bankbalance += plaintiff.fees;
            }
    • by cashman73 (855518)
      Here, I'll sum it up for you:

      RIAA PWNED!

  • by gEvil (beta) (945888) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @02:22PM (#18111282)
    Their real fear, more than the attorneys' fees, is the judge's finding that the RIAA's arguments for contributory and vicarious infringement claims in cases like this one are not viable.

    Well, when you put it like that I really hope the judge sees the light and overturns the previous ruling...
    • Re:seeing the light (Score:5, Interesting)

      by garcia (6573) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @02:32PM (#18111416) Homepage
      What I want to know is why the blurb includes that line. Is there documented evidence of that being their "fear"? It seems more like an opinion that has no bases in fact.

      What the RIAA *is* worried about is other people winning, for whatever reason, and there being prior judgments against them charging for attorney fees -- which means that people will be happy to go to court against them and possibly win meaning that the RIAA can't play the extortion game as well as they have been.
      • Re:seeing the light (Score:5, Informative)

        by H8X55 (650339) <jason DOT r DOT thomas AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday February 22, 2007 @02:42PM (#18111556) Homepage Journal
        These actions indicate RIAA doesn't want to take part in a fair fight.
        Makes me want to keep not buying CDs.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by robogun (466062)
          If everybody stopped buying CDs, the RIAA would still be in business because of its parasitical derivation or royalties from just about everything you buy and every bar/restaurant/club you go to. This is ASCAP/BMI if you want to look into it further - the same people you legally owe if you sing "Happy Birthday," to someone at a birthday party, a song which was written in 1921 and is copyrighted by Time Warner.

          I always wondered if hearing-impaired persons should get a refund of their portion of the fee when
        • by Pakaran2 (138209)
          I'm sure they'd be perfectly happy to have you not buy CDs, so they can sue you and you can settle for 5K instead of facing greater legal bills. They could do just fine and never sell anything again.
        • by mgblst (80109)
          You now, that fact that you don't buy CDs has very little effect on the RIAA. Now, if you convince your friends to not buy CDs as well, (with a reasoned arguments, threats can so often get taken the wrong way), then you start to get something.
      • "It seems more like an opinion that has no bases in fact."

        You must be new here ...
        • Re:seeing the light (Score:4, Interesting)

          by jedidiah (1196) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @03:08PM (#18111926) Homepage
          While it may be opinion, and perhaps pure speculation, the notion that it isn't grounded in fact is highly specious. The nature of the US legal system and how the RIAA is operating makes the conclusion rather obvious actually.

          It's less "an opinion that has no bases in fact" and more like a declaration that the sky is blue.
          • by anagama (611277)
            Everyone is putting "bases" in quotes, but that is actually the plural form of basis.

            http://www.m-w.com/dictionary/bases [m-w.com]
            • by anagama (611277)
              Oops, wrong link. Just search for "basis" though and you'll see that "bases" is the plural form (say "basees")
              • Oops, wrong link. Just search for "basis" though and you'll see that "bases" is the plural form (say "basees")
                even so, using the plural "bases" would be appropriate if the quote were more like "these are just opinions with no bases in fact" rather than the case where this was being used ("an opinion that has no bases in fact"). it seems like it's understood that even multiple components of a root for a single item would be referred to as a singular "basis".
                • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

                  by Q-Cat5 (664698)
                  Am I the only one waiting for an "All your bases" joke?

                  Good.

                • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

                  by JoGlo (1000705)

                  even so, using the plural "bases" would be appropriate if the quote were more like "these are just opinions with no bases in fact" rather than the case where this was being used ("an opinion that has no bases in fact"). it seems like it's understood that even multiple components of a root for a single item would be referred to as a singular "basis".

                  I sometimes think that the moderatos don't have sufficient classifications for the work they do. "Pedantic" would probably get a LOT of starters if it were available, as would "Droll", "Boring" and "Provocative", but not necessarily on the same post. Perhaps "Off Topic but Funny" deserves a chance, as well.

            • by Maxo-Texas (864189) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @04:04PM (#18112784)
              However you spell it, all your bases are belong to us.. us.

              Go Zig, For Justice!
      • by elrous0 (869638) * on Thursday February 22, 2007 @03:27PM (#18112188)
        Not only that, but if lawyer fee awards become commonplace, people will be able to hire much BETTER lawyers (who will work on contingency). This will make it very easy for people to fight back with lawyers who can consistently win, which will break the RIAA's little extortion scheme VERY quickly.

        -Eric

        • by AlHunt (982887)

          Not only that, but if lawyer fee awards become commonplace, people will be able to hire much BETTER lawyers (who will work on contingency

          Most judges are/were attorneys - don't look for judges to do anything that might stem the tide of litigation in America.
        • Not only that, but if lawyer fee awards become commonplace, people will be able to hire much BETTER lawyers (who will work on contingency).

          Huh? A contingent fee is a percentage of a damage award; plaintiff's attorneys can get contingent fees, but defense attorneys never can (mutatis mutandis for counterclaims). This sort of award is based on a reasonable hourly fee.
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward
        What I want to know is why the blurb includes that line. Is there documented evidence of that being their "fear"? It seems more like an opinion that has no bases in fact.

        Um... you have a four digit UID. Did you log on to slashdot in 1998, think it sucked, and recently found it again?

        I mean, ordinarily I'd say "you must be new here"

        (Mind Reading Capcha says "tribute")
      • Re:seeing the light (Score:5, Informative)

        by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Thursday February 22, 2007 @04:48PM (#18113488) Homepage Journal
        The RIAA uses the high cost of defending against one of their lawsuits as a tactic to get people to fold. This is a common approach by plaintiffs with deep pockets: Bring a lawsuit that will cost a fortune to defend, and cause the defendant to either fold or be financially ruined. It's a matter of intimidation by lawsuit.

        It seems fair to me that the loser in a nuisance suit is forced to pay the winner's legal costs. A countersuit for damages would be even better.
        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by ClamIAm (926466)
          It's a matter of intimidation by lawsuit.

          see also:

          ex - tor - tion
          noun
          1. an act or instance of extorting.
          2. Law. the crime of obtaining money or some other thing of value by the abuse of one's office or authority.

          (source [reference.com])
  • by freedom_india (780002) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @02:27PM (#18111358) Homepage Journal
    In this case the victim's innocence has been proven beyond guilt.
    Hence no upper court will overturn attorneys fees as RIAA has been proven wrong.
    • Risky, too (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Weaselmancer (533834) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @02:36PM (#18111468)

      If they lose this one, it sets a precedent.

    • by UnknowingFool (672806) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @03:52PM (#18112608)

      In this case the victim's innocence has been proven beyond guilt.
      Hence no upper court will overturn attorneys fees as RIAA has been proven wrong.

      IANAL but being wrong in a lawsuit does not mean attorney's fees. In most cases no fees are awarded. Why the judge is awarding fees in this case is that despite proof that the defendant's daughter and not the defendant was the infringer, the RIAA chose to pursue the case further against the defendant. Nearly a year later on did they dismiss the case. There is a difference between being wrong after filing a suit and knowingly pursuing a suit that you know is wrong. Also the American Association of Law Libraries (AAL), American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), ACLU of Oklahoma, Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), and Public Citizen joinly filed an amicus brief supporting the defendant's right to attorney fees. Their point was that attorney's fees are appropriate to remind the plaintiff that they cannot abuse the judicial system by suing people they know to be innocent.

      • Not quite. It's true that the normal rule here is no fee awards, but in the Copyright Act, there is a provision allowing the prevailing party to recover reasonable fees and costs. It has nothing to do with being a message to the plaintiff, it's just that the defendant prevailed, and can thus ask for fees and stand a decent chance of getting them.
  • Poor arguements! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RingDev (879105) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @02:32PM (#18111418) Homepage Journal
    From TFA: "The RIAA also argues that should the attorneys' fees award stand, it would deter other copyright owners from pursuing infringement claims."

    So let's get this straight, if the Judge sticks to his initial decision it will deter other copyright owners from filling more frivolous lawsuits? Heck, that sounds like a good reason to NOT change his mind!

    -Rick
    • by sulfur_lad (964486) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @02:43PM (#18111572) Homepage

      Translated: "Please help us to maintain our litigation business model."

      I can feel what I hope is the collective "oh crap" eminating from the RIAA's 'new revenue' dept.

    • Re:Poor arguements! (Score:5, Informative)

      by gstoddart (321705) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @03:07PM (#18111904) Homepage

      So let's get this straight, if the Judge sticks to his initial decision it will deter other copyright owners from filling more frivolous lawsuits? Heck, that sounds like a good reason to NOT change his mind!

      Nope, they're going to claim that their "justified, in-good-faith suits, against people who they have evidence of infringement" (not a real quote) could see some impediment if they have to pay the legal bills of people for whom they have been unable to prove wrong-doing.

      They want their cake, and to be able to eat it too. To date, their (and I agree with you) frivolous suits could be brought without proof, and without consequences if they are wrong. If they were wrong, they could just say "ooops, we tried", or, if someone hadn't the resources to even attempt to fight it, I bet they forced more than a few innocent people into settling and accepting blame -- because it would be cheaper than defending yourself.

      If anything, this might finally give them some burden for evidentiary responsibility, and they can no longer use their tactics unless they are in posession of real evidence. To date, they can claim anything, put together sketchy evidence ("I have a screen shot"), and bully ISPs into handing over information. I think we all agree they need to be reigned in and given some better ground rules.

      Lord only knows how the judge will view this, but let's hope you're right. :-P

      Cheers
  • Afraid of losing (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Hrodvitnir (101283) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @02:33PM (#18111430)
    The mere fact that the RIAA is afraid to lose a case is proof in my mind that they are no less than extortionists.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by DrEldarion (114072)
      Wait, what? I guarantee you that just about everyone and every company, no matter what, is afraid of losing a lawsuit.
      • by bill_kress (99356) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @03:00PM (#18111812)
        If you blast out thousands of anything, you expect to lose a few--epically when you've been as careless as the RIAA has in bringing these cases.

        The issue here is that they need to win 100% or the cases will all start to unravel.

        The grandparent was implying, correctly, that this means they are living off fear to appeal rather than the law. If the law was absolutely on their side, they might allow for the fact that they are not going to get every sing case right and let things like this drop.

        The fact that they are not willing to let go of a single case implies they know their house of cards isn't all that steady.
        • Yes, sorry I wasn't more clear on that. I was trying to make the point that their primary concern is to never lose a case. Given the flimsy evidence with which they file, it has become drive-by litigation. They fire blindly and if they hit, great; if not, they gun it and get the hell out.
  • by Volante3192 (953645) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @02:37PM (#18111486)
    In it, the plaintiffs lay out their disagreement with the judge's reasoning while taking time to point out that the fees awarded far exceed any damages they could have recovered should their suit have been successful.

    And that's how it should be. Always. If you lose, you pay, with the theory that you'll learn your lesson and not do it again. Conversely, if they win, they get more money. It's a risk they took from the getgo, and have been getting away with it because there have been few real challenges against them.

    Now that their business model is starting to show cracks, they now want the risk removed yet keep the reward.

    Hopefully the judge would realize that removing paying attorney's fees would give even more insentive to lawsuits since they wouldn't worry about consequences if they lost.

    This is the RIAA pitifully grasping at straws...
    • by DamnStupidElf (649844) <Fingolfin@linuxmail.org> on Thursday February 22, 2007 @02:52PM (#18111694)
      And that's how it should be. Always. If you lose, you pay, with the theory that you'll learn your lesson and not do it again. Conversely, if they win, they get more money. It's a risk they took from the getgo, and have been getting away with it because there have been few real challenges against them.

      The problem is that no one would sue a large company paying $5000 an hour for attorneys, for fear of losing being more costly than any possible judgment from winning. The law should limit the loser to paying only as much as his or her own attorney fees to the winner. That way it only depends on how seriously each side takes its case, and realistically it will have the same effect where it matters, namely where individuals need to sue large corporations. If they lose, they're only out twice as much as they would have paid their own lawyer, not $millions. If they win, the corporation almost certainly spent more than they did on lawyers, so they'll pay the whole bill. It makes even more sense when you consider that the corporation can essentially throw as many lawyers on the case as they want just to frighten an opponent with huge attorney fees because the lawyers are employees and they'd be paying them no matter what they were working on.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by MindStalker (22827)
        Actually in the US we do not have a true loser pays rule. Partially for this very reason, no one would dare sue a large corporation if they had to pay their fees. Currently any loser pays fees rules are completely up the the judge, and I've never heard of an individuals forced to pay a corporations fees outside of filing fees.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by CowboyBob500 (580695)
          And that's why the US legal system is so unfair - those with the money always win. Here in the UK, for example, if I had a genuine case against anyone - no matter how large they were - I could and would be able to afford to take them to court because I would know that if I won then I would not be paying any legal fees. This allows a much better balance of justice IMO.

          Bob
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by MindStalker (22827)
            Yes, but if you lost would you be forced to pay millions in their lawyers cost?
          • by nasch (598556)

            Here in the UK, for example, if I had a genuine case against anyone - no matter how large they were - I could and would be able to afford to take them to court because I would know that if I won then I would not be paying any legal fees. This allows a much better balance of justice IMO.

            Doesn't that also mean that if you sue them and lose, then you have to pay their legal fees? You could argue that actually provides less balance - you pay either no legal fees or double (or more?) rather than each side payi

            • by Lord Crc (151920)
              Doesn't that also mean that if you sue them and lose, then you have to pay their legal fees?

              AFAIK, we have a similar system in Norway, but I'm fairly sure I've read about several cases where the judge ruled that the plaintiff should not pay the legal fees (all of it, or the defendants part). So it would be a bit like a slap on the wrist to the defendant, in case they'd been good at covering their asses or something.
            • Doesn't that also mean that if you sue them and lose, then you have to pay their legal fees?

              Yes, which means that you don't get corporations filing frivolous lawsuits. Lawsuits are only filed when the complainant knows they have a genuine case - otherwise their just throwing their cash down the drain.

              If I think I'll be on the hook for Megacorp's million dollars of lawyer fees if I lose, how willing would I be to sue in the first place?

              You'd only do it if you have a genuine case and have suffered g
              • by nasch (598556)

                You'd only do it if you have a genuine case and have suffered genuine loss

                First off, let me just say I'm not trying to start a fight, I really want to understand how it works and what the reasons are. So... just because I have a genuine case and have suffered genuine loss doesn't mean I'm certain to win, right? Is it acknowledged that this system discourages people from filing legitimate but non-slam-dunk lawsuits? It seems like that would be the effect - even if you have a strong case, you may not want

                • So would that include the legal fees of my opponent if I lose? Because I guess that would solve it, but could (not would but could) introduce the possibility of poor people suing more because they have nothing to lose.

                  Under the legal aid system you don't have to pay a penny win or lose. However, you have to have a pretty strong case in order to be able to claim it. It's there for people who have suffered injustice but cannot afford a solicitor - but they will not support you in a frivolous lawsuit,

                  Her
      • by Ibag (101144)
        This sounds like a decent system. However, in some situations (e.g. someone sues a large corporation and loses because the letter of the law is not on their side, even though the spirit of the law is), forcing the loser to pay anything besides their own fees is still somewhat unjust. I have heard that, in some countries, the judges have full power to decide who pays what fees and sometimes have the winners pay the losers fee, depending on specifics of the case and specifics of both sides financial states.
      • by msslc3 (846991)
        No court would award fees of $5,000 per hour in a copyright case, even if the winning party actually paid that much. The law provides for a "reasonable" attorney fee, and that isn't reasonable.

        Exorbitant fees are usual in cases where a fund of money is recovered for distribution to a class. The lawyers for the class can get a percentage of the fund (maybe 20%, but it depends on the judge) even if the resulting hourly fee is very high. But this can't happen when defending against a copyright infringement act
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by cpt kangarooski (3773)
          No court would award fees of $5,000 per hour in a copyright case, even if the winning party actually paid that much. The law provides for a "reasonable" attorney fee, and that isn't reasonable.

          Shut the hell up. As a copyright lawyer, I think that fee is entirely reasonable. Perhaps even too reasonable.
      • I was thinking about this from my mind's perspective as a semiconductor engineer. I started to run through various logic combinations of win/loss for $LARGECORP and $NORMALGUY to figure out what is fair. At first, I was thinking that loser pays the lesser of the two court costs would work, but then I did come up with one more variable that needs to be figured in. If you say loser pays the lesser of the costs, you don't want to allow the self-representing pro se litigants to file frivilous cases and then
      • by syousef (465911)
        You're _almost_ there. Take it a step further. There should be a limit to what you pay for legal representation, so that whoever wins isn't who has the most expensive lawyer. Some things don't work well in a free market. Megacorp vs JoeAverage is just one.

    • by deblau (68023)
      In it, the plaintiffs lay out their disagreement with the judge's reasoning while taking time to point out that the fees awarded far exceed any damages they could have recovered should their suit have been successful.

      Actually, there's something else going on here. If the amount they're paying their lawyers exceeds their possible recovery, then why are they suing in the first place? They'd have more money at the end of the day if they never sued at all. There is a decent argument that the lawsuits are v [wikipedia.org]

  • Why fight (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 22, 2007 @02:39PM (#18111512)
    FTA
    "The record labels say that Foster failed to take advantage of the plaintiffs' offers to "end this litigation without paying anything." Instead, she chose to fight the lawsuit vigorously in hopes of clearing her name completely."

    Yep, she could have settled for $0.00 and have a tarnished reputation. What a bargain; if you ask me. I think this falls under the category of "Duhhh".

    Just my .02 cents worth. Feel free to flame or mod me down.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by faloi (738831)
      So you're ok with letting someone walk all over you, as long as you don't have to pay any money? The sad fact is, that unless more people stand up against groups like the RIAA in cases like this, they'll continue their legal fishing expeditions forever.
  • by amigabill (146897) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @02:41PM (#18111544)
    The RIAA also argues that should the attorneys' fees award stand, it would deter other copyright owners from pursuing infringement claims.

    Maybe it's time to end the "let's sue innocent people" business model, and find a new one which has less risk of paying out instead of cashing in.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      What, you mean try to make money by selling CDs? But that would involve having artists put out CDs that don't suck. To do that you need talented artists. And you have to search for them, audition them, etc. That just takes too much time and effort.

      Besides, war-dialing for people to sue seems like it would be much more fun.
  • by Steve B (42864) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @02:42PM (#18111564)
    The RIAA also bemoans what it calls the premature end of the discovery process

    Newspeak-to-English Translation: The mean old judge didn't let us drag out the case until the defendant had to cave in because the legal bills ruined her.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jasen666 (88727)
      You'd think they'd WANT the discovery to end.
      They had no evidence to support their claims, which is one reason they lost.
      • If you know you're going to lose the case when discovery ends, and you know that there's a chance that the original defendent might run out of money to pay their bills if you drag the case on long enough, then you drag out discovery as long as you can get away with. When discovery ends, you lose.
    • The RIAA also bemoans what it calls the premature end of the discovery process

      More accurately, The the premature end to the fishing expedition attempting to locate the actual person who did the infringement because there's no evidence at all that the already sued Internet account holder ever even touched a computer keyboard themselves, let alone actually committed the infringement, if any!

      Remember: Providing files to hired Media Sentry investigators is not copyright infringement under the law!

  • When you consider all the frivolous lawsuits coming from the RIAA, hitting them for the defendant's attorney fees seems more than reasonable, IMHO. Perhaps if they knew paying the attorney fees was a possible outcome, they wouldn't be suing everything with two legs half as much.
  • The way it should be (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 22, 2007 @03:01PM (#18111822)
    What REALLY gets me is that if the RIAA had any chance of recovering the exorbitant $$ in "damages" they try to extort they would.
    But lets face it what chance does Joe Blow on the street have of paying them....6/10 of FSCH-all. All it does is destory a persons life finantially and emotionally.

    Its nice to see someone taking a stand and winning. I personally don't know how the judge could reverse his order.
    They initiated litigation and lost, (not)sorry but thats why you don't bring frivolous lawsuits in front of the court. Personally i hope that people DO use this in their own *IAA lawsuits and teach these guys that the destroying the "little man" is not how you stop piracy.

    Here in NZ we have even more draconian laws, as previewed in a previous /. article. We have no fair-use, no format shifting, heck even recording a TV show to VHS is illegal (currently, yes it *may change shortly). The *IAA equivelants have only prosecuted (from memory) 2 people, both were mid-sized operations that copied dvd's/music to sell at town/city markets. The average Joe downloader gets a cease and desist letter and thats it; why you may ask, well as in sweden, you can only sue for real damages i.e. 100 illegal mp3 = US$99, this is the way it should be. /end my 2c
  • by s31523 (926314) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @03:09PM (#18111944)

    The record labels say that Foster failed to take advantage of the plaintiffs' offers to "end this litigation without paying anything."

    So, basically, the RIAA picks a fight with someone, they lose, the person says you lost, pay my fees, and the RIAA calls "foul!"?!?! I reaaaally hope the judgement sticks, forget about the RIAA for a moment and think of all the other cases that could use an overturned decision to their advantage citing "precedence" from this case. If I ever get sued, fight it, win it, I would most definitely countersue for legal fees. We already saw that legal fees will typically outweigh the payout of a lawsuit [slashdot.org] which is cause for so many companies to settle... If you bring a fight, you had better be prepared to lose and pay up, end of story.
    • forget about the RIAA for a moment and think of all the other cases that could use an overturned decision to their advantage citing "precedence" from this case.

      Sorry. Nice idea, won't work. The fees were awarded under the specific tenets of The Copyright Act itself. The judge refused to award fees under the more general statutes regarding recovery of costs as the prevailing party. This logic only works under suits regarding copyright infringment.

  • June 1: Judge rules against RIAA in legal fee case June 2: Judge sued for illegal filesharing by RIAA
  • Deters Lawsuits (Score:5, Insightful)

    by s31523 (926314) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @03:12PM (#18111980)

    The RIAA also argues that should the attorneys' fees award stand, it would deter other copyright owners from pursuing infringement claims.

    No, it would deter copyright owners from bringing baseless lawsuits against innocent people.
  • No Precedent Here (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anna Merikin (529843) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @03:22PM (#18112118) Journal
    As I RTFA it seems to me although IANAL there is little precedent here except if you are a RIAA codefendant and your daughter has (by defaulting) in effect admitted to downloading the files without your knowledge.

    The judge said the RIAA can't go after an innocent (the plaintiff) as well as the known guilty, whose name she turned over to the RIAA early on.

    I doubt most of us would qualify for this precedent, but I'd like to hear what a real lawyer thinks.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by cpt kangarooski (3773)
      I'd like to hear what a real lawyer thinks.

      Okay, if that's what you want. Right now I'm thinking that it's a pain in the ass to graduate to the 'hard' level on Guitar Hero II. I'm having trouble getting used to moving my hand up and down the neck of the controller so that I can use the orange fret.
  • by Yvan256 (722131) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @04:09PM (#18112866) Homepage Journal
    You bring someone to court, you lose, you paid for the legal fees on both sides.

    If such a system were in place, we'd see less "I'm gonna sue his ass" crap, a lot less "if I threaten to sue they'll do as we want" crap, and a whole lot less of "we'll sue them into bankruptcy" crap.
    • You bring someone to court, you lose, you paid for the legal fees on both sides.

      If such a system were in place, we'd see less "I'm gonna sue his ass" crap, a lot less "if I threaten to sue they'll do as we want" crap, and a whole lot less of "we'll sue them into bankruptcy" crap.


      You are correct. My best friend is an attorney and I think it would be fair to say that he expressed dread at the idea of this becoming law, even though since he now specializes in bankruptcies this would have no impact on him if
  • I'd like to see the RIAA punished double for this. They don't know when to quit. They extort<<<<<< sue the wrong people who don't have their deep pockets, and then do everything possible to avoid responsibility for their mistakes when clearly proven wrong. Losing a case may not matter to them, however, anything involving the legal system costs the average consumer piles of money. The RIAA is pure Evil in this regard -- and that's without even going into their outright lies that: We're
  • 3 RIAA (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Well maybe not exactly. In fact, not at all.

    IMHO this is one of the few times the legal system HAS lived up to my expectations. If there is a civil lawsuit, the loser should pay court/atty fees. Yes, that puts some risk/reward into your decision to sue. GOOD. FUCKING AMAZING GOOD!

    I mean seriously, why do we allow a system to exist where you can sue someone into financial submission? It allows Big Company (tm) to threaten to sue Little Guy (tm) and then offer to settle for $1/4 of expected atty fees.
  • by fudgefactor7 (581449) on Thursday February 22, 2007 @05:00PM (#18113702)
    ...as determined by whom? Previously, the RIAA did things like sue for $150K per song. Now assuming each song is 10 minutes long (and we know that won't be true, but it works for the math), there would be 6 such songs in one hour; or $150K x 6 = $900K per hour. So, if her defending team worked, say, 100 hours on the suit (not unheard of), then the RIAA would be forced to pay legal fees of $900K x 100 = $90,000,000.00
     
    What's reasonable for the goose must be reasonable for the gander, right?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Adambomb (118938) *
      Sadly i do not see this flying, although it'd be a nice jab to the RIAA collective chin. If someone attempted that, all the RIAA would have to do is cite "reasonable and customary costs" with regards to the legal fees.

      Sadly, their music has a long history of being overvalued, and have a lot of "process" related costs they can use to confuse or distract from the true "cost" of the intangible good. This makes it possible for them to make ridiculous claims while being safe from feedback in return.

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