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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 Coraon (1080675) on Wednesday January 30, 2008 @02:04PM (#22236430)
    *waves hand* "I'm not the file sharer your looking for..."
    • by querist (97166) on Wednesday January 30, 2008 @03:17PM (#22237368) Homepage
      It's the Jedi _mind_ trick. It needs to be able to target a _mind_ in order for it to work.

      I'll leave the determination of the answer to the parent poster's question as an exercise for the reader.
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Coraon (1080675)
        well, they had to be smart enough to pass the bar exam, wait...Jack Thompson passed the bar...never mind.
      • by jd (1658)
        They're "minders" (trans: heavies involved in gruntwork and bodyguard duties), and I guess the mental exercises involved in their legal landmines could be considered a mindfield (sic).
    • Ours is the wisdom of solomon, the magic of Merlyn, the fall of Icaris.

      And the "solomon" typo of BumbleFinger.

    • by pwizard2 (920421)
      I think that force choke and/or lightning would be a more suitable thing to use against the RIAA.
  • Stupid RIAA (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Archangel Michael (180766) on Wednesday January 30, 2008 @02:05PM (#22236438) Journal
    Why should anyone tell them who anyone is? Shouldn't the RIAA be held for wrongful prosecution or whatever it is, for bringing suit against the wrong person?

    Why aren't judges allowed to look upon all RIAA suits with some level of mistrust. They've been proven wrong in so many cases that it is criminal. YES CRIMINAL. Someone should go to jail for all the crap they've put people through.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      IANAL.. but I believe wrongful prosecution is only valid in criminal, not civil cases. In this case, the defendant's recourse would be to mount a counter suit, and add some sort of charge involving malicious persecution of something...
      • 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).
        • Re:Stupid RIAA (Score:5, Informative)

          by mikelu (120879) on Wednesday January 30, 2008 @02:25PM (#22236686)
          One has already been filed, I think:
          http://yro.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/08/17/1728225 [slashdot.org]

          How successful it's going to be, well...that remains to be seen.
        • Re:Stupid RIAA (Score:5, Insightful)

          by nuzak (959558) on Wednesday January 30, 2008 @02:26PM (#22236698) Journal
          How about we stop buying their shit?
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Yetihehe (971185)
            They will hit pirates harder because they will se decline in their profits.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by garcia (6573)
            How about we stop buying their shit?

            You can do that, and I suggest that you do, but they will just use it against us by saying that the decline in sales proves that people are pirating.

            Win/lose situation?
          • by KefabiMe (730997) <garth@NospAm.jhonor.com> on Wednesday January 30, 2008 @02:55PM (#22237060) Journal

            How about we stop buying their shit?

            I agree. I'm pirating as fast as I can!

          • 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.

          • by C10H14N2 (640033)
            How about we stop buying consuming their shit?

            FTFY.

            It's not like it's food, water or shelter. It's amazing how much none of this stuff really matters when you couldn't care less about the product in any form or method of delivery.
          • How about we stop buying their shit?
            What they don't blame on piracy they'll blame on a poor economy. In the mean time, they have a huge pile of money they can throw at politicians to help them create laws to maintain their antiquated business model.

            They need to be fought, not suffocated.
          • by HiThere (15173)
            I did that nearly (over?) a decade ago now. I also recommend the same to anyone that asks me.

            My impetus was not this round of abusive suits, it was their blatant purchase of the DMCA, which I consider to be a much more heinous crime.
            • by russotto (537200)

              My impetus was not this round of abusive suits, it was their blatant purchase of the DMCA, which I consider to be a much more heinous crime.

              And now they've got buyers remorse. They traded something they didn't have (the right to hold ISPs responsible for hosted content, repudiated in e.g. the Netcom decision) for something they wanted (extrajudicial takedown), and they're STILL not happy with the "deal". So they'll just purchase a change to it. And the rest of us are just supposed to go along and nod our

          • by jamstar7 (694492)

            How about we stop buying their shit?

            Um, that's the reason they're doing all those lawsuits. They claim everybody stopped buying their shit and started 'stealing' it. Here, have a copy of the memo...

      • Re:Stupid RIAA (Score:5, Insightful)

        by sammy baby (14909) on Wednesday January 30, 2008 @02:24PM (#22236666) Journal
        I, also, am not a lawyer. So I googled this discussion of "malicious prosecution" [answers.com], which does apply to civil cases. From that page:

        To win a suit for malicious prosecution, the plaintiff must prove four elements: (1) that the original case was terminated in favor of the plaintiff, (2) that the defendant played an active role in the original case, (3) that the defendant did not have probable cause or reasonable grounds to support the original case, and (4) that the defendant initiated or continued the initial case with an improper purpose. Each of these elements presents a challenge to the plaintiff.


        #4 sounds like it would be incredibly difficult to prove. I think the only chance the plaintiff would have would be to assert that RIAA was prosecuting the case for the purpose of inspiring fear in other potential targets of litigation, even in the face of evidence suggesting the plaintiff's innocence in the original suit.

        Anyone else have any ideas?
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          #4 sounds like it would be incredibly difficult to prove. I think the only chance the plaintiff would have would be to assert that RIAA was prosecuting the case for the purpose of inspiring fear in other potential targets of litigation, even in the face of evidence suggesting the plaintiff's innocence in the original suit.

          A suit for malicious prosecution would be a civil matter. Hence, the standard would be a proponderence of the evidence. So you would only have to convince 12 jurors that the purpose was

          • A suit for malicious prosecution would be a civil matter. Hence, the standard would be a proponderence of the evidence. So you would only have to convince 12 jurors that the purpose was more likely improper than proper.

            Probably incredibly difficult also.

            Not really. The only reason for suing someone for copyright infringement that isn't improper is that you had a reason to believe you committed copyright infringement. So you would have to show that they had no reason to believe this. As soon as you have refuted any evidence that they bring for your copyright infringement (not to a degree to convince the judge, but to a degree that the then plaintiff who may have withheld information to the judge should know better), and they continue, then it is improper.

        • by poetmatt (793785)
          IANAL as well, but to be honest it would be dropped by #4. Opinion vs fact in a court of law. I'm sure if such a case was made it might not even hit the courts until someone tells the new crews, and even then it'd just be media hype. You probably can't even argue it since the case was dismissed with prejudice.
    • Why should anyone tell them who anyone is? Shouldn't the RIAA be held for wrongful prosecution or whatever it is, for bringing suit against the wrong person?

      If it's clearly negligent, yes, but in this case they got the correct house, and the parent is trying to play games, in my opinion.

      Obligatory car analogy: Imagine if they could prove your car was used in a hit in run case, and that it wasn't stolen but started with the original keys. The cops are going to lean on you pretty hard until and unless you

      • Actually, no. "[N]either the parties' submissions nor the Court's own research has revealed any case holding the mere owner of an internet account contributorily or vicariously liable for the infringing activities of third persons." So you aren't liable. They need to prove that you did it, not that it was done using your IP#.
    • Re:Stupid RIAA (Score:5, Insightful)

      by dont shoot me (1230034) on Wednesday January 30, 2008 @02:42PM (#22236900)
      So what if someone breaks into your house while you're on vacation, stays a while and downloads a ****load of music? Do you have to find out who the intruder was? How can they prove it wasn't some unknown persons and the computer owner is innocent? What about if your daughter's bf comes over while you're out and they download or upload songs? My point is... how can they ever prove who is responsible? The RIAA should be out trying to stop the real pirates who are making lots of $$$$ off them instead of going after kids who can't afford their overpriced CDs? Or is this revenge for CD sales being off?
      • by ultranova (717540) on Wednesday January 30, 2008 @03:20PM (#22237406)

        What about if your daughter's bf comes over while you're out and they download or upload songs?

        Face the grim reality of propably never having grandchildren ?-) Seriously, only on Slashdot...

      • So what if someone breaks into your house while you're on vacation, stays a while and downloads a ****load of music? Do you have to find out who the intruder was? How can they prove it wasn't some unknown persons and the computer owner is innocent? What about if your daughter's bf comes over while you're out and they download or upload songs? My point is... how can they ever prove who is responsible?

        They don't have to. In civil cases, the burden of proof is much less. If they have a large pile of evidence that you did what they claim you did, and you claim that it was actually someone that broke into your house (even though the police have no record of your reporting a break-in), you will lose the case.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by laird (2705)
      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 fi
    • It seems like the RIAA would like us to save it the trouble by just standing up and admitting to any crimes we think we might have committed. I'm sure that'll go far.
    • by mpe (36238)
      Why should anyone tell them who anyone is?

      Unless they are paying you to provide such a service.

      Shouldn't the RIAA be held for wrongful prosecution or whatever it is, for bringing suit against the wrong person?

      Since this is civil law it would be more a case of filing a counter suit against them.

      Why aren't judges allowed to look upon all RIAA suits with some level of mistrust.

      A judge is onto going to look at such a suit once one has actually been filed with a court. Quite possibly not until a hearin
  • So when are they going to sue his daughter?
  • 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?
    • Yes, I think that's true. You can't be expected to be a compellable and co-operative witness against yourself, your spouse, or your children.

      IANAL.
    • IANALBWLAO (IANAL + But Watch Law And Order, lol). But seriously, between a husband and wife, it's called Spousal Privilege. The spousal privilege is a combination of two elements: 1) the right not to be compelled to testify against one's spouse, and 2) the protection of marital confidences (link [lawandfiction.com]). It should be noted that there are at least a few cases when spousal privilege does not apply, such as if the crime is committed against the spouse or children.

      I've never heard of it applying to the parent-c
      • IIRC, this is a common law protection based upon the assumption that husband and wife are one legal entity. Historically wedding agreements, when they existed, codified the daughter leaving the father's home and entering her husband's, with either a bridal purchase agreement or dowry, depending on the culture (generally, polygamy => bridal purchase, monogamy => dowry, but exceptions exist).

        As a result, the wife wasn't a separate legal entity from the husband, so testifying against him was pointless.
  • Burden of proof... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by FredFredrickson (1177871) * on Wednesday January 30, 2008 @02:08PM (#22236476) Homepage Journal
    I was under the impression that the burden of proof lies with the plaintiff.

    But then again, I was also under the impression that the best way to make money is to sell things to your customers instead of sue them, so call me old fasioned.
  • by grilled-cheese (889107) on Wednesday January 30, 2008 @02:09PM (#22236496)
    Only the RIAA could get away with a defence of "it's your fault because you didn't provide us grounds to sue your daughter".
  • by CopaceticOpus (965603) on Wednesday January 30, 2008 @02:13PM (#22236550)
    Please!

    (yes, why didn't the defendant say that?)
  • I don't know if their motion is all that interesting, really.... Isn't there some precedent for this sort of behavior in civil cases (defendant was actually shielding another party)? That's not, of course, to say that they should have filed the suit in the first place.
  • by mi (197448) <slashdot-2012@virtual-estates.net> on Wednesday January 30, 2008 @02:17PM (#22236598) Homepage

    All of these articles about the minor skirmishes in *AA's war against infringers are boring and serve no purpose other than to provide yet another forum for some people to say: "Copyright infringement is wrong, like stealing," and for others to claim: "No, it is not exactly the same as stealing, and therefore good." The exact details of each legal encounter don't change anything, and are only useful to the practicing lawyers...

    Unlike the emacs vs. vi flamewars, this one can, actually, be resolved with some certainty, and whoever can be convinced is convinced already...

    Perhaps, our distinguished editors can delegate these articles to some peripheral subsection instead of the front-page?

  • 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.
    • Why would that be interesting? The artist would have no recourse, because they've signed their rights to the labels.

      It'd be no more interesting than "it'd be interesting to see if cops ever broke the law".

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by DCTooTall (870500)
        Who said it had to be an artist currently signed to one of the labels? Could always be an independant band with some pull. (Radiohead, NiN...etc). The idea is simply a case of giving them a taste of their own medicine, and make them accountable under the same rules they are holding everybody else too.... if not moreso.

        As for the cop breaking the law analogy. It happens. But the cops are held to the same laws we are, and often get punishments on the harder side of what you could get. The logi
  • 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 John Hasler (414242) on Wednesday January 30, 2008 @03:39PM (#22237660) Homepage
    The judge decides whether or not he will grant the motion. Of course, even if he grants the motion the defendant's counterclaims will remain. A lawsuit doesn't end just because the plaintiff drops its claims. It's easier to get into court than it is to get out again.
  • that his daughter was the one - then he still would have had to pay? Or would his daughter have had that on her when she started earning money? I think that in either case that guy was right to remain silent.
  • In the case of Lava v. Amurao...
    Man... I wish MY last name was "Lava."
  • Knowingly suing the wrong person - and the RIAA knows that, at best, they've only found the ISP account holder - should be the cause of severe sanctions against both the RIAA, and the judge who let's this case continue a moment longer than necessary. Either the RIAA shows evidence tying the person sued to the actual infringing user and computer at the time of filing, or they have no case, and no right to extort innocent broadband account holders. This close-enough-for-government-work, let-us-poke-around-l
    • by mikelieman (35628)
      Additionally, they should have known that MediaSentry acting as a Private Investigator in NY was UNLAWFUL.

  • On TV shows like "Matlock" or "Perry Mason" the defense proves their guy innocent by not just establishing reasonable doubt, but going out and solving the case and dramatically revealing who really committed the crime. Unfortunately for the RIAA, the real world doesn't work that way, and the defense is not under any obligation to figure out for them who the true copyright-infringer is, just to show that the evidence does not support the accusations against the defendant.

  • RIAA not stupid (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rtechie (244489) on Wednesday January 30, 2008 @04:31PM (#22238272)
    For those wondering why the RIAA dropped this case, it's largely because they wanted to avoid any case law on this [ilrweb.com] motion which asked the Plaintiff to actually provide a detailed listing of the infringing songs AND (this is very important) a breakdown of "infringement expenses" for each individual song. The record companies don't HAVE this information, they pull the numbers out of their ass. If they're forced to actually PROVE losses, they have no case and they know it.

  • LOL.

    U.S. and its capitalism slowly degrades into weird Stalinism. The case reminds me of way Stalin and Brezhnev regimes had dealt with unwanted people.

    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.

    In Soviet times, if something happens, regime always looked for scapegoat. They'd took some guy they do not like off street and claim that he did


  • ...um, any ideas out there on how to get the RIAA and Scientology to start filing lawsuits against each other??

    If they're both going to pollute the planet with their litigious nonsense and racketeering, we should at least be getting some entertainment value out of it all.

  • by natet (158905)
    Shame on you for not throwing your child under a bus to save yourself...

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