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RIAA Drops Case, Should Have Sued Someone Else 195

Posted by Zonk
from the well-why-didn't-you-tell-us-you-were-innocent dept.
NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "Once again the RIAA has dropped a case with prejudice, this time after concluding it was the defendant's daughter it should have sued in the first place. In the case of Lava v. Amurao, mindful that in similar scenarios it has been held liable for the defendant's attorney fees (Capitol v. Foster and Atlantic v. Andersen), the RIAA went on the offensive. In this case there was actually no attorney fee motion pending, making their motion all the more intriguing. The organization argued that it was the defendant's fault that the record companies sued the wrong person, because the defendant didn't tell them that his daughter was the file sharer they were looking for."
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RIAA Drops Case, Should Have Sued Someone Else

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  • by KublaiKhan (522918) on Wednesday January 30, 2008 @02:06PM (#22236456) Homepage Journal
    "It wasn't me! It was her!"

    How often do you suppose they hear that? And has it -ever- worked?

    Out of curiosity...I know that there's a principle where spouses cannot be forced to incriminate one another; does this sort of thing extend to children?
  • Re:Stupid RIAA (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Archangel Michael (180766) on Wednesday January 30, 2008 @02:13PM (#22236538) Journal
    How about a class action lawsuit against RIAA. I don't care what we call it.

    Its time to fight fire with fire ... scorched earth warfare! May they all burn in Hell (apologies to all the atheists and agnostics).
  • by DCTooTall (870500) on Wednesday January 30, 2008 @02:22PM (#22236648)
    Ya know, I was just sitting here thinking. Has anybody ever thought to check some of the lawyer's computers to see if they have "illegal copies" of music on their HDD? or even the RIAA execs? Be interesting to see what would happen if someone....say, and actual Artist... were to go after them and see what kind of defense they'd use.
  • by Migraineman (632203) on Wednesday January 30, 2008 @02:30PM (#22236756)
    If you ask me "did you download this file/commit this crime/say this phrase yesterday?" and I answer "no," I am under no further obligation to assist you. I may know that Joe over there is who you're looking for, but you failed to ask the proper question. You asked a specific question, and I gave a specific answer. Don't get all pissy at me and start claiming that "lie of omission" bullcrap. There is no such thing (more specifically, it's an ethical issue rather than a legal one, but that's a rant for another thread.) Ask the proper question next time. I can't read your mind, and until I can, there's no way for me to know what information you really want unless you ask for it.
  • by swschrad (312009) on Wednesday January 30, 2008 @02:33PM (#22236792) Homepage Journal
    "your honor, I'm an asshole because the defendent didn't tell me to behave! I demand a hearing on this issue!"

    some day, some where, somebody is going to take them up on that offer. they can be fined and jailed for abuse of the federal court system.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 30, 2008 @03:27PM (#22237500)

    How about we stop buying their shit?

    Done. [riaaradar.com] I haven't knowingly purchased RIAA affiliated music in years. Yet I still buy and download quite a lot of non-RIAA music. I don't even listen to those radio stations anymore. You know the ones... they play the same 50 RIAA songs all week long. I listen to my local college station. Not every song they play is a hit, but you're guaranteed to hear different music every day. Don't have a decent college station? You can even listen online! Here's my local station. [wknc.org] They're awesome. They even stream in ogg. Their playlist [wknc.org] is online too, so when you hear a song you like, it's easy to check for RIAA-ness. [riaaradar.com] If the RIAA bastards have anything to do with the music, just don't buy it. According to iTunes, I've purchased 12 songs this month. Not one thin dime went to RIAA affiliates.

    PS. Fuck You U2. After reading your press release of late, [slashdot.org] I will never buy your shit. EVER. Nothing you can say or do will change that. You've joined the ranks of Metallica. Go straight to hell. I hope you get hit by a bus the next time you cross the street. You have the gall to ask "Who's got our money and what can we do?" Allow me to answer that here, since I'm required to join you website to send you feedback: "Who's got our money" The customer has the money. It isn't yours unless earn it. "What can we do?" You can drop dead. I'll never buy your music. I'll never support you in any way. I will will actively discourage anyone I know who might. Big mistake assholes. One happy customer might tell one person. One angry customer will tell everyone he knows.

  • Re:Squeal or else! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) * <ray@beckermanleg ... m minus language> on Wednesday January 30, 2008 @04:51PM (#22238508) Homepage Journal

    So now the RIAA can just sue anyone who happens to be in the vicinity of illegal file sharing and blame the defendent when they don't rat out the real offender?
    That's their philosophy in a nutshell.
  • Re:Stupid RIAA (Score:3, Interesting)

    by laird (2705) <lairdp@@@gmail...com> on Wednesday January 30, 2008 @11:08PM (#22242324) Journal
    Let's ignore how we feel about the RIAA, and look at this as a technical issue. There's illegal file copying going on, and the RIAA wants to sue people who are doing it. What can they determine?

    The RIAA knows that someone at a given IP address at a given time was making songs available to others for free, because they can query the computer at that address and get back a list of songs on that computer, and they can download the songs and listen to them. So they can prove that IP address X had copyrighted files Y at time Z.

    So given that's what they can prove, they face two challenges (IMO, IANAL).

    First, they have to prove that there was illegal file copying going on, or that simply making files available is illegal. I'm not a lawyer, so I don't know where the second issue stands. But I think that they can prove that illegal file copying was probably going on, because the alternative is extremely unlikely.

    As far as copying goes, if they download identical files from multiple people, that pretty much proves that file copying was going on. This is because, surprisingly enough, when two people RIP the same track from the same CD using the same CODEC and settings, they pretty much always generate unique files, because of random variation in the CD read. Heck, if you RIP the same track repeatedly on the same computer you pretty much always generate unique files each time, for the same reason. So if you see multiple people with a song with the same checksum, it's pretty good evidence of copying, though simply finding the same file on multiple computers doesn't prove who copied from whom.

    To figure out who's making the copies, the RIAA could monitor the contents of various PC's over time (file sharing networks broadcast a lot of information) so they could watch as the identical file appears on more PC's, which pretty much documents that illegal file copying was going on, and who was going the copying.

    So they can make a petty good case that illegal copying was going on. It'd require them to capture a ton of data, of course, so it'd be expensive, but they could do it.

    Second, they have to figure out the identify of the person made the illegal copies. Keeping in mind that all they know is an IP address and a time, about all they can do is to ask the ISP (or sue them, etc.) to determine the identify of the owner of that IP address (or who DHCP assigned that IP address to at that time, etc.), and then sue that person.

    This runs into the problem that in a household there are often multiple people behind that IP address. So whenever they sue "whoever was using IP address X" they need to translate that into suing a specific person, and fairly often that specific person won't actually have done anything illegal, because someone else in their household did. They look like the same person to the internet, but are different people in real life.

    I think (again, IANAL) that this is similar to a car with license plate X being issued a speeding ticket because it was photographed speeding. There's no doubt that there was speeding going on, and the presumption of the law is that the owner of the car with license place X is responsible for the use of the car unless he can prove that someone else was driving it.

    The question is whether the owner of an IP address is responsible for the use of that IP address the way the owner of a car is responsible for the use of the car. Either a "yes" or a "no" answer is problematic. If the answer is yes, then it becomes quite dangerous to operate an open Wifi gateway (for example) or internet cafe, because people can use your IP address to do illegal things that you would be liable for. if the answer is no, then it becomes impossible to punish any illegal online behavior that is "anonymous" but can be tied to IP address (e.g. downloading child porn, extortion, etc.) because of the potential ambiguity of the user's identity.

    Thoughts?

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