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RIAA Countersued Under Racketeering Laws 893

Negadin writes "According to CNET News, a New Jersey woman, one of the hundreds of people accused of copyright infringement by the Recording Industry Association of America, has countersued the big record labels, charging them with extortion and violations of the federal antiracketeering act." The woman's attornies are arguing that " suing file-swappers for copyright infringement, and then offering to settle instead of pursuing a case where liability could reach into the hundreds of thousands of dollars, the RIAA is violating the same laws that are more typically applied to gangsters and organized crime."
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RIAA Countersued Under Racketeering Laws

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  • A Long Shot? (Score:5, Informative)

    by klasikahl ( 627381 ) <klasikahl@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @11:20PM (#8322792) Journal
    I think it's worthy to note that, in the headline, CNET News called the lawsuit a "long-shot."
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @11:25PM (#8322826)
    In reference to SCO including GPL software in products, Blake Stowell said:

    "Our issue is with the enforceability of the GPL"


    When software is released with a GPL license, the author(s) still retains the copyright, but is granting specific terms under which the copyrighted work may be used without consulting the author.

    If Mr. Stowell and SCO do not believe that the terms of license are valid, then the aggreement of the license is nullified, and use of the work without other permission from the author is breaking copyright law.

    Under these special circumstances, I believe that the authors of the GPL software in question should get clarification, and ask SCO for a written agreement to the terms of the GPL, or else demand a halt to the software use, and possibly payment for any infringment.
  • It's extortion... (Score:1, Informative)

    by fpga_guy ( 753888 ) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @11:29PM (#8322862)
    Last year here in Australia a couple of guys were jailed for exactly this.

    They had been involved in a car accident with a well-known author, and offered not to give evidence (ie assist a criminal investigation) if he paid them hush money.

    It's exactly the same thing here with the RIAA.

  • Barratry (Score:5, Informative)

    by davecb ( 6526 ) * <> on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @11:29PM (#8322866) Homepage Journal
    Also known as taking unfair advantage of being an officer of the court. From the Scots term for being a corrupt judge, extended to include persistantly filing false suits.
  • Re:She'll lose (Score:5, Informative)

    by IllogicalStudent ( 561279 ) <jsmythe79&hotmail,com> on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @11:39PM (#8322960)

    She'll never win, she won't have the cashflow.

    She might not have the cashflow, but if what an earlier poster said about the Racketeering Act covering legal fees is true, that mightn't matter.

    I quote the earlier poster:

    Section 1964 of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act not only provides for civil remedies in cases like this, but also automatically triples the damages and covers court costs and lawyers' fees.
  • Re:The difference (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @11:40PM (#8322967)
    Your statement relies on the presumption that the targetted user is completely innocent of violating the RIAA copyrights (or those of the copyright holders that they represent).

    They are carefully culling the P2P networks for the file sharers and have a reasonable amount of evidence that proves that those they are targetting are in violation of copyright. The RIAA intends to reap damages for these copyright infringements. If they can, they'd like to accept an out of court settlement because it is better for their reputation to take a couple thousand dollars from some guy than to get a court to take tens of thousands from the same guy.

    If they were sending these letters out willy nilly to everyone and their brother, they would definitely be guilty of racketeering. However since they are not doing that, but sending letters only to those they are absolutely sure of (in their view) guilt, they are acting fully within the law.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @11:41PM (#8322976)

    Cool quote, but just in case people were wondering, it's actually "the mill of justice grinds very slow, but it grinds exceedingly fine," said by Churchill. (Who was actually paraphrasing Friedrich von Logau).

    Ok... off to find something productive to do with my time.

  • by kurt555gs ( 309278 ) <kurt555gs@ovi . c om> on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @11:47PM (#8323022) Homepage
    I just read that a fedral judge told the RIAA to stop calling file sharing 'piracy'.

    He said, it is something new and not yet defined, but it is not 'piracy'

    I do not think I should have to pay some organazation every time i hear a tune.

    I think making counterfit CD's or CHARGING for some one elses work IS piracy, but I really am not sure file sharing for free is...

    And neither is the fedral judiciary

  • by jay-be-em ( 664602 ) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @11:48PM (#8323032) Homepage
    The almighty /. effect! Article text can be found here [].
  • Re:The difference (Score:5, Informative)

    by and by ( 598383 ) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @11:58PM (#8323119)
    But if they do that and you can show that they're doing so in order to unnecessarily prolong the proceedings or cause undue hardships (and we're not talking a high standard of proof here) they get their case thrown out and they will probably have to pay for your lawyer. See Federal Rules of Civil Procedure Rule 11.
  • by djtack ( 545324 ) on Wednesday February 18, 2004 @11:59PM (#8323131)
    Well, this has been tried before [] against directv (they were suing people who had purchased smart card readers). The judge (in Texas IIRC) ruled that speech related to litigation was protected, and not racketeering.

    I doubt this suit will fare much better.
  • Re:Coincidence???? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Bombcar ( 16057 ) <{racbmob} {at} {}> on Thursday February 19, 2004 @12:09AM (#8323207) Homepage Journal
    Did you get a 503 unavailable? I've seen that error on and off a few times in the last week.

    Twice it gave me a main page, but all the links were redirects back to the home page.

    I think the slashcode is weakening.....
  • by cookiepus ( 154655 ) on Thursday February 19, 2004 @12:11AM (#8323221) Homepage
    Because the whole point of a corporation is to limit personal liability?

    Like if you open a store which is in your name, and someone falls down in the isle, they can sue and win not only the store, but your own home and personal assets as well.

    If you open a store under a corporate name, and someone sues you, they can win, at most, the business. Your person and personal effects are separate from the business.

    You may not like it, but the whole purpose of the concept of corporation is to limit liability, as above.
  • by wo1verin3 ( 473094 ) on Thursday February 19, 2004 @12:17AM (#8323267) Homepage
    >>I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that
    >>it's pretty likely that the p2p users the RIAA
    >>chose to sue were actually violating the law.

    I wouldn't jump very hard on that limb...

    Do you remember the grandmother who thought Kazaa was the name of a clown [], or Ross Plank who was accused of downloading Spanish language songs but doesn't speak spanish? [].
  • Attornies? (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 19, 2004 @12:20AM (#8323295)

    Spell-check? Anyone? Spell Check? Bueller?
  • by bezuwork's friend ( 589226 ) on Thursday February 19, 2004 @12:29AM (#8323366)
    Is it possible legally to make such people join this case? I mean let's say 100 people who received a letter from RIAA and don't want to pay join under one banner to countersue?

    In short, you're thinking of a class action suit. I'm not sure if this lady's suit can be changed into one, but it's probably possible somehow. Also, courts can consolidate multiple suits when the issues are similar, although this usually happens on appeal. Thus, if this lady's suit couldn't be expanded to a class action suit, a class action could be separately filed and this lady's might get joined to it.

    With class action suits, all potential plaintiffs are not required to join. Usually, once a suit is filed, there is a mechanism whereby potential members can opt out. They might refuse to join if they disagree with the claims or remedies sought, for example.

  • by symbolic ( 11752 ) on Thursday February 19, 2004 @12:36AM (#8323401)
    I think making counterfit CD's or CHARGING for some one elses work IS piracy, but I really am not sure file sharing for free is...

    It's theft. It's acquiring and enjoying the value inherent in the song that you listen to, produced through the creative effort of someone else, without permission or due compensation. There IS an imbalance here that leaves one party with an unwarranted and unfair advantage over the other. Whether it's called theft, piracy, or whatever, there needs to be some means of protection in place, and very clear recognition (from a legal standpoint) that it is wrong, and that there are remedies (including consequences).
  • Re:The difference (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 19, 2004 @12:37AM (#8323408)
    Defending yourself in a civil suit against a well funded plaintiff, will easily cost you US$500000 and likely a lot more. And that assumes you win!
  • by Hooded One ( 684008 ) <> on Thursday February 19, 2004 @12:52AM (#8323504) Journal
    The vernacular language is one thing. You or I could call it "aiustfasing" for all the judge cares. However, legal terminology is not so arbitrary -- specific words have specific meanings, and "piracy" does *not* legally apply here.
  • Keep On Sharing (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 19, 2004 @01:05AM (#8323563)
    Download and share all you want gnutella []. If the RIAA comes after you, don't say anything. Remain silent. When you go to court, make any of the following arguments:

    1. I have a wireless network and share bandwidth with my neighbors, it wasn't I who was sharing, it must have been someone else. I'm not responsible because I haven't downloaded or shared anything. (Even though they went through your router, you are an ISP and if ISPs were liable the RIAA would have sued them all, long ago.)
    2. My IP address was spoofed. Cross examine their tech people and get them to acknowledge spoofing is possible (plant the seed of doubt, you're innocent until proven guilty).
    3. The files I downloaded are slightly different versions of what you thought was copyrighted. If you listen carefully they are not the same but are probably bootlegged or perhaps out-takes or live recordings which have not been copyrighted (sure, these are illegal recordings but I didn't record them and that's not why I'm on trial here).
    Lobby your government representatives to abolish the copyright laws for digital media. If the artists don't want to record, they don't have to. There are still plenty of people who will.

    The best music was not made for profit but out of shear love of the medium (Mozart, Charlie Parker, The Beatles). It's always about the music, not the money. Society will always find a way to finance great art. We don't need copyright laws.
  • by Artifakt ( 700173 ) on Thursday February 19, 2004 @01:08AM (#8323582)
    Actually, this is a pretty close metaphor. Real pirates killed people. They tortured them to get that treasure. They kidnaped people for ransom and often they defaulted on the promise to return them and killed them anyway. They raped. In many cases, they bore arms against the militarys of their former nations in time of war, which fits the general definition of Treason. Calling copyright violators pirates IN COURT is simply an attempt to emotionally influence the jury. Further, a lawyer has taken oaths and claims to abide by ethical standards, some of which require them to attempt to speak accurately in using legal terms in court, and, as anybody should know, Piracy is first a legal term in a court, and only secondarily at best a metaphor.
  • Re:She has a case (Score:5, Informative)

    by Ateryx ( 682778 ) on Thursday February 19, 2004 @01:10AM (#8323603)
    Look for Howard Berman, et al, to start introducing rackateering-exempt bills...

    What somethinghallow is referring to is this response [] to a local newspapers editorial staff.

    Here is a little sampling of my favorites for the lazy slashdot reader:

    "...what is shocking is that the entertainment industries are now being completely lambasted by the editorial board for what is essentially their home town paper."
    The editoral board of a home town paper is supposed to completely support any stance of local industries?

    Its actually very difficult to tell what side he is on, because he keeps bringing up opposing views :
    The nature of the problem is easy to describe to any consumer who has tried to jump into the digital content fray. A well-meaning consumer buys songs through the Apple iTunes store rather than downloading illegal files from Kazaa. But then, he finds those songs don?t play on his Creative Nomad MuVo digital music player, which he bought for a substantial sum only last year. Another well-meaning consumer finds he cannot sign up for Movielink because he refuses to use Internet Explorer as his browser. Another finds that, in signing up for different digital media services, each attempts to establish a different media player as his default, the result being substantial annoyance and inconvenience when trying to use a service.

    But the best quote by far:
    The editorial uses as a jumping off point the recent decision of the Federal Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in a case that pitted Verizon against the Recording Industry Association of America. ... few paragraphs later ... The editorial also characterizes the D.C. Circuit decision as ?a victory for consumer privacy rights.? I think it?s the opposite.
    I always forget that not providing your customer's names away for what has been illegal finding of your customer's ISP is not a "victory for comsumer privacy".../sarcasm

    I think this just serves as a reminder to go out and vote this fall.

  • Re:Mod UP? (Score:5, Informative)

    by HiThere ( 15173 ) * <{ten.knilhtrae} {ta} {nsxihselrahc}> on Thursday February 19, 2004 @01:10AM (#8323604)
    In a way, you're right. If the laws are corrupt, then the only hope is that juries will refuse to enforce them.

    And despite what judges and lawyers will tell you, this is a legal right, which pre-dates the constitution, and was not overrulled by it.

    Because of this the govt. is trying to remove the requirement for unanimity on the part of the jury to achieve a conviction. Some people, for some reason, don't think that the government is treating people fairly.

    Now that mainly has to do with criminal prosecutions, and this is probably a civil matter, but the same basic principles apply. Juries should attend to the facts, and attend to the laws, and then decide as their ethics requires. Judges are to instruct you in matters of law, and to see that the evidence is presented in a proper manner. Juries are to decide what the verdict should be.

  • by kwandar ( 733439 ) on Thursday February 19, 2004 @01:13AM (#8323619)
    It's theft.

    No, its not. Altogether now kiddies - its "copyright infringement"

  • Re:She has a case (Score:3, Informative)

    by Tripster ( 23407 ) on Thursday February 19, 2004 @01:15AM (#8323634) Homepage
    Interesting assessment and it really makes sense to me. While I have little other than my own CD collection converted into MP3s I do believe that these "artists" should be paid for performing and leave the recorded stuff as little more than advertising for the performances they put on.

    I have little sympathy for actors who are paid millions per movie and those movies are rehashed crap. Case in point, I recently was dragged to see 50 First Dates, at the end all I felt was ripped off since I'd just sat through a rewrite of Memento and Groundhog Day into some "new" movie.

    It is also tough to convince the public that an artist should be paid money when you download a song on demand yet you can hear that same song free on the radio, free from satellite*, etc.

    * Little known fact, there are 100+ free digital audio streams available on satellite, a PCI card to receive them is less than $80US (you would need a dish, less than $50US tho) and you can easily leech music from the stream. These are the audio streams found on Dish Network and ExpressVu systems, they are unencrypted on the birds. If you have room for a larger dish and buy another receiver there is 100+ more waiting from DMX and Music Choice too. Basically, don't buy Sirius/XM for home :)
  • Re:She has a case (Score:3, Informative)

    by bishiraver ( 707931 ) on Thursday February 19, 2004 @01:17AM (#8323642) Homepage
    I do believe the criminal act they're using is extortion - they're allowing people to pay them protection money, in return for not being sued.
  • by Gojira Shipi-Taro ( 465802 ) on Thursday February 19, 2004 @01:19AM (#8323652) Homepage
    It is not theft. Theft is a criminal act. What is described is a civil act, a violation of copyright. Any recent law to the contrary will eventually be overthrown by the court.

    It is NOT theft.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 19, 2004 @01:20AM (#8323660)
    It's not theft you dufus.

    Theft 1 a : the act of stealing; specifically : the felonious taking and removing of personal property with intent to deprive the rightful owner of it b : an unlawful taking (as by embezzlement or burglary) of property

    Theft implies denying you access and removing it from your possession. Obviously not the case when dealing with copyright violations.

    Learn something new every day, eh? Dumbass.
  • by nudicle ( 652327 ) on Thursday February 19, 2004 @01:27AM (#8323699)
    You're probably thinking of arguments heard in a 9th Circuit appeals cout on Feb. 3 of this year in re: the Grokster case. During those oral arguments, available as mp3 here [], Judge Noonan told music industry attorney Cary Ramos to stop using abusive language like "theft" when framing his arguments against Grokster.

    Listening to the above mp3 is great to (1) listen to what a real appellate argument sounds like, and (2) hear real lawyers debate stuff that's important to many /. readers, including file sharing and the meaning of the Sony Betamax decision.

    Related links are here [] and here. []

  • by RodgerDodger ( 575834 ) on Thursday February 19, 2004 @01:52AM (#8323838)
    *sigh* It's not "theft". Theft involves someone taking something from you.

    Consider these two scenarios:
    1) Person A hears music produces by Person B, decides they don't want to buy it because they have a copy downloaded from the 'Net.
    2) Person A never hears the music, and thus doesn't buy the song.

    In both cases, the outcome is the same for Person B; they don't get paid by Person A for the music. But scenario 2 is definitely not theft.

    The first scenario is a violation of the Person's B rights, and they are not getting due compensation, but nothing has been stolen because Person B is no worse off than if nothing had happened at all.

    Just because it's a crime doesn't make it theft; different crimes have different names. For example, maintaining an monopoly and engaging in fixing of prices massively above production costs for popular albums in order to subsidise unpopular ones (and the lifestyles of the record company executives) is price gouging, not theft.
  • Are You sure? (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 19, 2004 @02:04AM (#8323896)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 19, 2004 @02:08AM (#8323926)
    Actually, I'm pretty certain that it is. Based on a word of caution conveyed to me by my attorney during a dispute with a corporation, if you use court action as a threat: "Give me X or I'm suing you!" it is considered extortion.
    I believe that it is a different tact to say "Your actions are illegal and violate the following laws which could lead to criminal prosecution yadda yadda yadda," which doesn't seem like what the RIAA is doing either.
    It strikes me as a fine line between the two.
  • by kobaz ( 107760 ) on Thursday February 19, 2004 @02:36AM (#8324070)
    In the US if the corperation is found to be guilty of something there is something called "piercing the corperate veil" (see groklaw, which means that the directors of the company will be held liable for their actions. In civil cases it can only be used if the company can't fully pay the amount of the judgement against them. In criminal cases it means the directors can face jail time.
  • by littlerubberfeet ( 453565 ) on Thursday February 19, 2004 @03:16AM (#8324212)
    IAAM (I am a musician) and let me tell you how right you are. A mere 45 cents per CD? Shit, I can barely pay the bills, even if it goes gold...especially if I am part of a band.

    Maybe an Indie label can follow this price scheme:
    10 dollars (US) retail for a CD. Wholesales at $7.50. Label takes a dollar, duplication takes 1.50. Producers and artists get to divide up that 5 dollars! A gold CD yields half a million? Divided amongst 5 people? That is a VERY decent wage for a years work on an album.
  • by sudog ( 101964 ) on Thursday February 19, 2004 @04:08AM (#8324410) Homepage
    "It is the first I've heard of anyone attempting that," said EFF legal director Cindy Cohn. "I guess that is a silver lining of the fact that the RIAA is suing so many people, that there are a lot of lawyers trying to figure out ways to protect folks." ... the above quote is from the article--right at the end. Unfortunately this racketeering counter-suit doesn't work when the people being sued are doing the illegal/infringing activities.

    How do I know? DirecTV has been doing the same thing for far, far longer, someone counter-sued them for racketeering, and the suit was dismissed. If I'm not mistaken, it was even discussed here on Slashdot.

    Anyway, the alleged activities these people are engaged in are illegal in the U.S. (but not in Canada!) so if it's proven they did them, then it's proven.

    Think of the consequences of a racketeering conviction! A company would no longer be able to sue large masses of people who were infringing their intellectual property! Ack, the chaos that would ensue there!
  • by socode ( 703891 ) on Thursday February 19, 2004 @04:44AM (#8324538) Homepage
    IANAL, but since you are using legal terminology (e.g. "copyright"), "theft" must be the unauthorized misappropriation of another's property with a view to permanently deprive them of it.
  • by mynameis (mother ... ( 745416 ) on Thursday February 19, 2004 @05:34AM (#8324657)
    When the *IAA claims $Xbillion in losses even from your freshman [or HS] micro-e classes you know that's whack.

    Think of your basic Supply & Demand curve. It just doesn't work that way. If you want to sell more, you charge less.


    (big but[t])

    That was just the 'Why you already knew for sure they were full of it, empirically.'

    Adding the a skosh more complexity, the model gets a lot closer to what intuition says it is:

    1. Willingness to Pay

    I recently came across a few papers, etc., dealing with what is being called 'Willingness to Pay.' What has been found is very much in line with what we all know: most people 'stealing' music/software don't get enough utility from the 'product' to buy it.

    Gee, you mean that maybe the fundamental paradigm of market economics is whats happening? It doesn't require a whole new paradigm based on everyone wanting to rob poor rich oligopolists?

    But wait! There's More!

    1. Network Externalities

    The 'age old' examples are things like the Bandwagon and Snob effects. [You want more the more other people have something, or the reverse]. But think about what you already know.

    If people who wouldn't have paid for your product have it and use it, well you didn't loose any potential revenue [no matter what you think honey].

    Oohh Oooohh! What do you call it when more people know about your work? Oh yeah marketing .

    The stuff I've read was dealing specifically with software, so I'll limit the scope to just that. When the unwilling end up willing [need app at work, change in income, etc.] the effectiveness of this form of marketing can be profound.
    Oh, and what about the community effect? What about the 'buzz' effect?
    Nah they don't exist, RedHat was really worth that much...

    Turns out that the addition of unwilling 'pirates' in fact boosts the damned demand curve. The only people who are in danger, are those who have crap product.
    [Unless there is something I've not thought of that experiences a strong Snob effect...]

    So am I saying it's not 'stealing.'? Well, IANAL, and I'm not even going there.
    Ok, I lied.
    It is in fact possible[probable] that there is a negligible or negative loss in such activities.
    Intelligent firms would actually manage and caughnotcaughoverlycaughdiscouragecaugh such behavior

    But no, I don't know if I but that for the recording industry. Two reasons:

    • They have behaved so stupidly that the potential positive marketing opportunity has been mung'd into a massively negative one
    • Anytime prices are held artificially high through monopolistic-like tactics, then the rules completely change.

    And ya know, $1/song when the marginal cost of production is near 0, is STILL agregious.

    Still don't believe me? If you charge $0.10/song, how many people wouldn't purchase damn-near-every-song-they-even-might-know-someone who-likes; but would instead deal with free P2P shares to download them 'illegally'?

    Gee make alcohol illegal, nobody will drink...
    PS There is a utility crew right across the street doing some highly important something involving a backhoe and jackhammer... So have pity if this entire comment falls into the 'infinite monkeys with typewriters' category...
    PPS And FWIW I'm in GMT-5land...
    PPPS In Soviet Russia.... ahh screw it
  • by SmallFurryCreature ( 593017 ) on Thursday February 19, 2004 @05:54AM (#8324715) Journal
    Piracy still exists in all its forms. No a luxury liner or cargo ship doing the run between america and europe or cruising the coastal waters of these countries is safe. That is because these waters are heavily patrolled by extremely powerfull ships that nobody but a goverment can afford.

    But in the east piracy still happens exactly as it happened in the time of sailing ships. Sure the movies may have shown pirate ships with three decks of cannons taking on the british navy but that is fiction. Most pirates used small fast ships wich could out manouver their prey (don't forget that canons of those days were more or less fixed and you needed to move the entire ship to aim) and then board and overwhelm the largely civilian crew.

    This is still the way it goes. Pirate ships have gotten smaller but then most civilian ships these days are totally unarmed anyway and their crews have gotten smaller.

    Piracy of a different sorts exists in areas where drug running takes place where pleasure yachts(?) are captured and the owners forced to smuggle drugs or simply killed.

    For the facts on piracy today search google with "piracy lloyds" (lloyds is a famous insurance company) you will find countless links talking about the costs, the risks and people offering protection. The lloyds bits helps keeping the filesharing "piracy" links down.

    So I agree with the judge who might have said that calling filesharing piracy is wrong. Piracy is a current and far different crime.

  • FIJA (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 19, 2004 @07:30AM (#8324993)
  • by TheFr00n ( 643304 ) on Thursday February 19, 2004 @09:42AM (#8325465)

    Every song that you hear on the radio is paid for. The price that a radio station must pay for broadcasting a song depends on the estimated listenership. There is an organization that tracks this and collects royalties on behalf of the *artist* (NOT the record company). This is called a useage fee.

    Here in South Africa the organization is SAMRO, but there is a similar organization in every country. Radio stations make the money back (and more) by selling advertising.

    Come to think of it, this raises an interesting point for me. The artist royalties collected for useage fees go to the artists (and some to their publishers, if they have a publisher). The record company does see that money, because there's no product being sold. Given this, shouldn't the whole filesharing thing be treated as a valid broadcast medium, and regulated as such?

    Why are we treating filesharing as a mechanical rights issue when there is no physical product involved. Mp3 sharing is a broadcast royalty issue. Someone should mention this to someone powerful.

  • by kbonapart ( 645754 ) <lashan_lynn@yahoo.BOYSENcom minus berry> on Thursday February 19, 2004 @10:41AM (#8326027)
    Ouroboros isn't a worm. He is a serpent. He is currently holding intertwined with Loki, far under the ground. Earthquakes are caused by Loki writhing as the acid from Ouroboros drips into Loki's open wounds. But don't feel to badly for him. It's a *GOOD* thing that he's held down there. When Loki finally gets loose, that is the start of Ragnarok.

    That's not good.
  • by Clemence ( 16887 ) on Thursday February 19, 2004 @11:13AM (#8326445)
    But her case is WEAK. Disclaimer: IAAL; and despite my opinions on this matter (all personal, constituting neither a professional opinion nor legal advice), I despise the RIAA's strategy and the laws on which it is based. She's still going to lose.

    Racketeering activity includes only certain conduct that falls within a list of specific *criminal* activity listed in 18 U.S.C. 1961(1). Scan the list - the only even remotely arguable connection is "extortion."

    "Extortion" under federal law (and therefore under RICO) means "the obtaining of property from another, with his consent, induced by wrongful use of actual or threatened force, violence, or fear, or under color of official right."

    To try to fit the act of filing a legitimate (although despicable) lawsuit in the hope that your target will settle is not extortion. The only arguable fit is "under color of official right" which generally means illegitimate use of legitimate power (i.e., crooked police shaking down merchants for protection money; regulators denying licenses unless they get a kickback). It does NOT mean exercising a legitimate right by threatening to sue when one is entitled under the law to do so.

    If any one of you ever have the misfortune to need to sue anyone to recover money, a settlement's EXACTLY what you'll hope for. It's sooo much better than dragging out years of litigation and appeals. And it's generally what happens in any serious lawsuit. You file, wait for your defendant to answer, and propose a settlement to save everyone time and effort. An enormous number, perhaps even a majority, of lawsuits in the U.S. are resolved by settlement.

    Also, keep in mind that judges are lawyers. It's unlikely in the extreme that any lawyer/judge is going to determine that the RIAA committed extortion by exercising a legitimate right that Congress clearly gave them.

    So, sorry to throw cold water on this, but I think her countersuit is a loser from the beginning. Nonetheless, Kudos to her for trying; if the RIAA is going to sue, make them work for it. Also - sorry for posting on the topic of the actual article instead of joining in the visceral and general RIAA-bashing, however justified it is.
  • by molog ( 110171 ) on Thursday February 19, 2004 @01:12PM (#8328010) Homepage Journal
    "To put it another way, if you work minimum wage at Burger King and you download $200,000 worth of music, have you really deprived the music industry of $200,000? No."

    No. They never would have had that money, so they were not deprived. They did not lose $200,000US. They never even had the potential of getting the money from that individual.

  • Re:The difference (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Custard ( 587661 ) on Thursday February 19, 2004 @01:59PM (#8328565) Homepage Journal
    Do people in the USA honestly flee to Mexico when they are bankrupt? Do people in the USA go to jail when they fail to pay money they own?

    No. Georgia (the US state) used to be a debtor's colony/prison, partially to shield the other states from spanish-controlled Florida. But that was befroe the revolutionary war in 1776 :-)

    Today, if you find yourself with more debt than you could possibly pay off, you can declare bankruptcy and be protected under bankruptcy laws.

    See this very informative USA bankruptcy FAQ []
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 20, 2004 @08:26AM (#8338316)
    I have lived overseas since the 1970's, but had one chance at jury duty before I left Texas. First thing Monday morning, I went off to the courthouse to do my duty as a citizen. An older engineer took me to one side and took the shine off. He said we would be back at work by Wednesday. No lawyer wants an educated juryman.

    He was right. I see no reason to think times or lawyers have changed.

Perfection is acheived only on the point of collapse. - C. N. Parkinson