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Crime Music Piracy The Courts Idle

Music Festival Producer Pre-Sues Bootleggers 422

Posted by samzenpus
from the nipped-in-the-bud dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Apparently, if you even have been *thinking* about bootlegging the Mile High Music Festival this coming weekend in Denver you've already been sued. No joke. Event producer AEG has already filed trademark infringement claims against 100 John Does and 100 Jane Does in anticipation that they're going to bootleg the event. Since none of the sued parties have actually done anything yet, no one's showing up in court to protest the lawsuit either, so it moves forward... meaning that AEG can use it to get all sorts of law enforcement officials (US Marshals, local and state police and even off-duty officers) to go seize bootleg material."
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Music Festival Producer Pre-Sues Bootleggers

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  • Oh, well.... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jd (1658) <imipak@yahoo.cEINSTEINom minus physicist> on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @05:06PM (#33221088) Homepage Journal

    In that case, would pre-suing John and Jane Doe for a fatal accident/injury be cheaper than taking out life insurance? I'm fairly sure lawsuits pay out more.

  • Pre-emptive lawsuits (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymusing (1450747) on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @05:06PM (#33221100)

    Wait... they're suing anonymous people for things they haven't done yet? Who exactly is being served the suit?

  • Prediction (Score:3, Interesting)

    by DoofusOfDeath (636671) on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @05:10PM (#33221184)

    That this guy's lawyer is given exactly 5 second before a judge before either (a) being dismissed, or (b) being fined for abuse of process.

    I hope.

  • by spazdor (902907) on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @05:11PM (#33221194)

    Everything I thought I knew about civil law tells me that this is not a suit that you're allowed to file. Any lawyers around care to weigh in? Are you allowed to sue no one in particular?

  • by apenzott (821513) on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @05:14PM (#33221268)

    I would like to see a John/Jane Doe counter-sue the promoter and request an injunction to prevent the event from happening. Using the **AA logic against them, canceling the event and refunding all the sold tickets and paying the resultant venue cancellation fees would be far less costly than dealing with the resultant piracy with very little hope of cost recovery from said lawsuit.

  • by The Pirou (1551493) on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @05:16PM (#33221298)
    Should this move actually be legal, I envision the arrests and ejection from the show of many people simply pulling out their phone at the wrong time.

    So if I call and leave a voice message on CowboyNeal's phone with whatever music in the background, then would CowboyNeal be the guilty party for having the device that actually recorded said few seconds of BG noise, or would I be held liable for being the party that initiated the ability for CN's phone to record the message by dialing him in the first place?

    And secondly, should they move to prosecute some of the John Doe's for something of this trivial nature, are they then out of luck in going after CowboyNeal if they've already chased down 100 other John Doe types who were less elusive?
  • by Locke2005 (849178) on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @05:31PM (#33221588)
    At least in California, it is unlawful to arrest somebody for resisting arrest without any additional charges. That is why they always charge you with "disturbing the peace" whenever they order you to do something and you question their authority to order you to do it. Remember: when 4 police officers burst into your bedroom through a locked door in the middle of the night, push you back onto your bed, hold you down and burn your leg with a lit cigar, you are "disturbing the peace" when you cry out in pain.
  • by fishbowl (7759) on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @05:40PM (#33221710)

    For some artists, the free distribution of audience-generated recordings is an extremely valuable asset -- most of their marketing in fact -- and they specifically allow it. A few actually put audience recording into their contract riders. I see two or three of these in the Mile High lineup. (And I also realize that the suit is about counterfeit merchandise, not audience recording.)

    The slashdot post made me aware of the festival... if I lived in Denver I might be tempted to go.

  • by EvanED (569694) <evaned@ g m a i> on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @05:46PM (#33221778)

    For some artists, the free distribution of audience-generated recordings is an extremely valuable asset...

    The Pink Floyd Pluse DVDs (I think it's that one) has a feature called "bootlegging the bootleggers", where they include bootlegged recordings people made at a couple of their performances. Which, of course, is pretty hilarious.

  • by vux984 (928602) on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @06:22PM (#33222218)

    This is a slick trick to get the taxpayers to provide the extra security and snooping for them.

    They are trying to nab fly-by-night (literally) vendors of unauthorized / counterfeit goods.

    These people don't have business address, name tags, and take cash. They are clearly in the wrong here. Shouldn't there be some sort of appropriate method of suing them for the trademarks violated, and the counterfeit goods they are hawking?

    I understand John/Jane Doe cases where it is clear a crime has been committed, but to file a lawsuit before the supposed crime can even be committed let alone proven to have occurred seems to go well beyond the intent of any law and should not be permitted.

    That was my initial take on it too. However:
    a) the lawsuit is just a practical method of getting their ducks in a row so that they can have police support in getting the names of the people who are doing this, because they have no other way.

    b) no crime has been committed. this is a civil suit. the police don't generally get involved in civil suits without a court order. yet the police seem to be required because the trademark holders have no legal method of extracting the identity of the counterfeiters.

    Planning to commit a felony is against the law in itself, so those sorts of situations are already covered, as long as it can be proved that the plans were actually in place.

    Trademark infringement is not a felonly. "Planning to infringe trademark" isn't either.

    So all that said, there seems to be a loophole that the infringers were abusing. We're not committing a crime so the police won't get involved. And we can't be sued because they don't know who we are. HaHa!

    My sympathies lie with the rights holder here. And pre-suing them so that they can get police support identifying them seems a bit twisted but in all honesty... a fairly reasonable approach to the problem.

    The only other alternative I can think of is that they hire a private investigator to tail these people to identify them, eat the cost, and then sue for damages including the cost of the PI. I actually prefer this alternative... but PI's quasi-law-enforcement status also give me the creeps. Twisted either way.

  • by Kryptonian Jor-El (970056) on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @06:44PM (#33222512)
    Nobody said it was legal, the point is that it isn't bootlegging unless the material is sold. People who only recorded cannot be brought up in this court case without selling what they've recorded.
  • by Locke2005 (849178) on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @06:58PM (#33222658)
    Also, at least in California, you have a right to resist arrest if you have a reasonable fear that the arresting officer intends to do you bodily harm... but good luck proving your fear is "reasonable" in court! That would at least require documented evidence of a previous relationship with the officer substantiating previous threats made by the officer against you. Again, it is theoretically possible to argue that, but I doubt that anybody has ever successful justified resisting.

    Pulling a gun on a group of police officers is generally referred to as "suicide by cop". I generally make it a point not to argue with people carrying loaded weapons, but in this case I said "I have committed no crimes; you have no right to be here", which the police decided was "combative", thus justifying their use of force. I'm still not clear on what justified their smoking a cigar in my house.
  • by Dun Malg (230075) on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @07:19PM (#33222930) Homepage

    hey have guns, too, and probably more training with them than you

    If you go to the range and fire more than 50 rounds through your pistol, and/or do it more than once every couple months, you have more training than they do. Police "training" is generally laughably minimal. There's usually more of them, though, so you're still screwed.

  • by BitterOak (537666) on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @09:03PM (#33223728)

    For one, injunctions against John Does are rare to be granted. Second they aren't asking for an injunction, they are asking for an injunction, federal marshals for enforcement, monetary damages and attorneys fees.

    If no one actually bootlegs the event, who pays the monetary damages and attorney fees?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @09:19PM (#33223838)

    Try this:

    Police: You're going to resist arrest, so we're arresting you for that.
    Person: I'm not going to resist arrest, you can't arrest me for that.
    Police: You are resisting arrest right now.
    Person: No, I'm not. Go right ahead and arrest me. (I'll just sue you for false arrest later.)

  • by Moridin42 (219670) on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @09:31PM (#33223924)

    Whats your point? Police don't get shot at all that often themselves. And most of their firearms training is .. at the range. Infrequently, no less. It will depend on the department, of course, but their qualification is probably going to be from stationary positions in bays on a range. At paper. And the rounds fired in qualification are less than a gun owner will fire in one trip to the range. I think you think police are gun owners. They're not, really. They're law enforcers that get issued guns. A lot of their job doesn't involve a firearm, and they consequently spent a lot more time learning non-firearms subjects.

    Maybe there are a lot of departments out there with reactive targets, and practical shooting galleries. I doubt it, though. Takes a lot more money and space per shooter.

  • by AmberBlackCat (829689) on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @10:36PM (#33224326)
    And who pays for the federal marshals?
  • Re:Will not hold up (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @11:15PM (#33224568)

    IANAL but my cousin is and this is what he had to say . . .

    I'm sure your cousin is a very fine lawyer. But, he obviously didn't bother looking through the case filings on PACER []. I can't say I blame him, since it does cost $0.08 per page to view most filings (although opinions are often free and you don't pay anything if you don't incur at least $10 worth of views).

    If your cousin had gone through the filings, he would have found that similar complaints wwer filed last year (09-cv-01386 and 09-cv-01185, both in Colorado). In both cases, the judge issued an order to the John Doe/XYZ Co. defendants to show cause why an injunction shouldn't be issued. Sure, someone could have shown up to say "the court doesn't have jurisdiction yet because we have not done anything." But, it doesn't look like anyone did.

    Maybe someone will show up this time, perhaps to argue that goods they plan to sell do not infringe on the plaintiff's trademarks. All they have to do is talk with "the Honorable Wiley Y. Daniel, Chief United States District Court Judge, in
    Courtroom A1002 of the United States District Court for the District of Colorado, located at 901 19th Street, Denver, Colorado on Tuesday August 31, 2010, at 11:00 a.m., or as soon thereafter as counsel can be heard."

    It is unlikely that anyone will show up. The judge will probably issue the injunction, enabling the plaintiffs to coordinate seizures of counterfeit goods being sold near and even in the upcoming concert. The people who have their goods seized can fight back in court and even seek damages if the seizures prove wrongful. But, they will probably claim that they don't have identification, provide fake names, or just run away (at least that is what the plaintiff says has happened in the past).

  • by Moridin42 (219670) on Wednesday August 11, 2010 @11:43PM (#33224724)

    But the guy you were replying to was right. Individual officers quite frequently don't have a lot of firearms training.

    Lets think about this for a moment.

    If the police force is reasonably useful and generally good, there isn't any reason to get into a shoot out with them. They're doing a good job.

    If the police force is corrupt and aggressive, there isn't any good opportunity to get into a shoot out with them. They've got numbers and no pressing need to respect things like your right to life.

    (In between those options you've got a so-so police force that is doing a decent job under severe budget crunches and a public that doesn't wanna pony up for better coverage)

    You can think you're good at firearms combat, and be right (or wrong), and still come to the perfectly reasonable conclusion that getting into a shootout isn't in your best interests. They've got quantity. And quantity is a quality all its own.

    In terms of Star Wars, I'm not going to get into a shootout with stormtroopers. Even though they're almost universally bad shots, there are so goddamn many of them that it isn't worth the trouble if I can avoid it.

  • by Moridin42 (219670) on Thursday August 12, 2010 @12:31AM (#33224944)

    You're missing my point.

    Situational awareness and body language are great for getting you some extra time before the guns clear leather. However, when doors are being bashed in, you the defender do not need to read body language. Situational awareness is useful, but the police's (potentially) greater awareness is offset by your (guaranteed) greater terrain knowledge. What you need are muscle memory for presentation, sight alignment, breath control, and smooth trigger pull. These are skills you develop with trigger time.

    If you're just walking down the street or standing in a store and a shootout spontaneously breaks out, situational awareness and body language will get you precious time to hug the floor, clear out, or clear leather.

    The police win firefight engagements with numbers and/or designated marksmen. No, really. Thats how. The other stuff is great for preventing a firefight from getting started. Its great to give you warning that the fight is coming, and that you need to respond to it. But if you're a cop with a suspect and you're looking at each other over the barrel of a gun, looking around to increase your situational awareness is begging to get shot.

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