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Another Victim Countersues RIAA Under RICO Act 621

devnulljapan is one of many users to let us know that another single mother is taking the fight to the RIAA. More than just standing up to them however, Tanya Anderson has decided to go on the offensive and countersue. In a move that aims to put the RIAA on the same level as your average organized crime syndicate the suit identifies violations of the Oregon RICO Act in addition to 'fraud, invasion of privacy, abuse of process, electronic trespass, violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, negligent misrepresentation, the tort of "outrage", and deceptive business practices.' Ms. Anderson has also demanded a trial by jury.
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Another Victim Countersues RIAA Under RICO Act

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  • Boo! (Score:4, Funny)

    by BlindThePoodle ( 56216 ) on Sunday October 02, 2005 @03:01PM (#13699516)
    We're the RIAA. Boo!
    • Re:Boo! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by innerweb ( 721995 ) on Sunday October 02, 2005 @05:45PM (#13700286)

      I wonder how much money the RIAA has made off of this for the labels. They seem to be police, judge, jury, and collections for profit. I wonder how much of their record profits are from these lawsuits.

      Well, I know the RIAA has helped me. I have purchased no new media in over a year now (never downloaded it). And it has helped the local band scene as many people I know go watch the bands and purchase the CDs where the bands play rather than feed the beast. Overall it is less expensive and I have made more friends.

      My kids, and many of their friends are growing up on live performances from local artists. We have been to Beef and Board (a very *nice* playhouse), the local small playhouses, the parks, ethnic presentations, and much more. I never could have forced them to go to these things until the RIAA (and now MPAA) stepped in. I never thought I would live to see the day where the labels would make that happen.

      InnerWeb

    • by Simonetta ( 207550 ) on Sunday October 02, 2005 @07:46PM (#13700769)
      Perhaps the best way to fight the RIAA is to use cases like this countersuit.

          But let's get serious about this and make some money.

          The law firm sets up an web bank account and links to PayPal or some other global small payment funds transfer provider. People who hate the RIAA put up a $1 to this firm's defense fund related to the case. If a million people send a $1 to destroy the RIAA, then there is a million dollars to fight the RIAA. Then the firm countersues for $10,000,000 in damages. If they win and collect, then each person who put in $1 to the defense fund gets $5 from the settlement minus expenses. If the countersuit loses, everyone loses a dollar. But the RIAA is now going up against an organized force that has millions of dollars and a serious desire to destroy them and take their money (and the money of their corporate sponsors). The RIAA will think twice about just randomly selecting people to fuck with.

          In the real world, there is no justice and fairness. The only thing that works against a large corporation with a lot of money is an large organization of people who each contribute a small amount of money with the specific purpose of forcing the corporation to back off. (and pay them back for the trouble). Get used to it.
      • One of the important things to note about this case is that under some of the acts she sued under, she is eligible to collect lawyer's fees. That's almost certainly why this suit was brought, and I can only imagine that the defense lawyers have stipulated that she won't pay them anything if they lose. RICO (and some other provisions) were implemented as such to help/encourage private citizens to report organized criminal behavior, knowing that people would be more likely to bring civil suit if they could co
    • "Ms. Andersen, You've been living a double life. During the day, you're Ms. Andersen, a humble housewife. But during the night, you are known as gotenkito@kazaa.com, a peer to peer downloader. Only one of these lives, Ms. Andersen, has a future."

      Now it makes sense! Ms. Andersen is THE ONE! :D
      • by Cylix ( 55374 ) on Sunday October 02, 2005 @07:58PM (#13700806) Homepage Journal
        I know you're out there. I can feel you now. I know that you're afraid... afraid of us. You're afraid of change. I don't know the future. I didn't come here to tell you how this is going to end. I came here to tell how it's going to begin. I'm going to hang up this phone, and then show these people what you don't want them to see. I'm going to show them a world without you. A world without rules or controls, borders or boundaries. A world where anything is possible. Where we go from there is a choice I leave to you.

        Oh I had to do it...
  • by ergo98 ( 9391 ) on Sunday October 02, 2005 @03:01PM (#13699517) Homepage Journal
    This is the case peer-to-peer file sharers have been waiting for.

    Is this really true? If you use P2P to share original works of art (nothing is stopping you from doing it) - for instance a personal flickr - or to share legitimate files like Linux distros, why would you really care about someone fighting the RIAA regarding copyright issues? This doesn't really seem like a P2P issue, but rather a copyright infringement issue.
    • by ejito ( 700826 ) on Sunday October 02, 2005 @03:06PM (#13699552)
      Napster was fully shutdown years ago, regardless of whether the songs on the network were legal. MP3.com had a vast free music network, but someone decided to upload music that wasn't theirs; mp3.com got sued and had to sell their domain (and no longer do we have access to those files). Limewire will now require licensing in its files, hardly something you'd do for your own personal files.

      Even if you are sharing legal items, RIAA is making it harder to do so on p2p networks.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 02, 2005 @03:26PM (#13699667)
        Napster was really shutdown because of "mission" statements made by the founders/creators of Napter. Those statements basically stated that they developed the tools as a means to undermine RIAA, etc. That is what pushed things over the edge in the courts eyes.
      • by usurper_ii ( 306966 ) <eyes0nly.quest4@org> on Sunday October 02, 2005 @03:42PM (#13699742) Homepage
        Someone didn't "upload" music that wasn't theirs. What MP3.com did was take advantage of the Right to format shift, starting a music locker service that worked like this: a user put a legit CD in their CD-ROM and it "beamed" the music to the locker in MP3 format. Now what they actually did was buy a ton of CDs and rip them to MP3, so that users only had to have access to a real cd to instantly get access to the exact same songs in MP3 format. To that end, MP3.com went to great lengths to make sure what they were doing was legal to begin with...and remember, it is legal to format shift AND the user had to have a real, physical CD of the same music to access the service (at which point they could have just ripped it to MP3 to begin with).

        Usurper_ii
        • by usurper_ii ( 306966 ) <eyes0nly.quest4@org> on Sunday October 02, 2005 @03:52PM (#13699779) Homepage
          Here, MP3.com tries to get some of the money back that they spent going to great lengths to make sure their service was legal:

          Law.com [law.com] is reporting that MP3.com [mp3.com] has filed a malpractice lawsuit again Cooley Godward [cooley.com] , a law firm, alleging that it was responsible for allowing MP3.com to launch and subsequently be sued for copyright infringement by giving bad advice on the legality of My.MP3.Com ( MP3.com Sues Cooley Over Legal Advice [law.com] ). The charges are quite loaded, alleging that Cooley was basically inept their legal analysis of fair use and other copyright doctrines, and perhaps even misrepresented to MP3.com about expert testimony the Cooley firm had secured.

          This isn't a small lawsuit either. MP3.com wants $175

          • by rkcallaghan ( 858110 ) on Sunday October 02, 2005 @06:03PM (#13700371)
            This typo completely changes the point of the comment, so it's worth correcting here.

            This isn't a small lawsuit either. MP3.com wants $175 million.

            Here's the relavent quote from the original article:

            The suit, MP3.com Inc. v. Cooley Godward, 266625, says MP3.com has paid out in excess of $175 million in settlements, judgments and legal fees.

            I thought the same things probably everyone else did, wondering if that was sarcasm or MP3.com being silly; so I actually looked (holy shit someone RTFLink on /.)

            ~Rebecca
    • by oirtemed ( 849229 ) on Sunday October 02, 2005 @03:07PM (#13699559)
      Go read Lessig's Free Culture, then come back to the discussion with a little more realistic perspective. Apparently you missed the real cruft of this situation. It is less about copyright issues right now and more about corporations abusing the legal system and bullying people into submission.
    • by mccalli ( 323026 ) on Sunday October 02, 2005 @03:09PM (#13699568) Homepage
      Is this really true?

      No, as you correctly note it isn't really true. Reading the article shows that Ms. Anderson is stating she has never been a file sharer and has never used P2P software. By definition then, this case is not "the case P2P file sharers have been waiting for" as it is not involving the rights and wrongs of P2P.

      Cheers,
      Ian

      • Actually, one could argue that it is what P2P people have been waiting for. All hashing around aside, you can't really argue that filesharing mp3s is illegal. However, if someone pulls something like this against the RIAA, based not on the fact that "It's not illegal to share mp3s" but "It's illegal to get information off my computer like that", it'll probably not only open the floodgates of other claims against them, but it might just stop them from bringing up these stupid suits in the first place.

        Maybe.
        • All hashing around aside, you can't really argue that filesharing mp3s is illegal.
          The fuck I can't! What about all the mp3s I record myself?

          I bring this up because imprecisely stating that "sharing mp3s are illegal" instead of "sharing copyrighted mp3s for which you don't have distribution rights are illegal" helps the RIAA win!
          • by timmi ( 769795 ) on Sunday October 02, 2005 @04:16PM (#13699883)
            whoa there killer...

            Downloading copyrighted material from P2P is a vastly different issue from ripping a CD that you own, or taping a television/radio/cable/satellite/Etc. broadcast. The the latter is explicitly permitted by the law under the home taping act, and the precedent of the Betamax Supreme court decision. Time shifting, (the ability to watch/hear a program when you want rather then live as it airs) transfering to new media, (Eg, making tapes for your car from LP's, CD's or even 8-track cassettes, as well as recording and encoding to MP3/AAC/Ogg Vorbis for use on your PC or other portable media device, (iPod, Creative Nomad or Zen, PSP, Yada yada...) and making working copies, to protect the original) are all accepted rights of consumers under the doctrines of fair use, and home taping act.

            point is:

            Having MP3's is not illegal
            ripping your CD's is not illegal
            P2P file sharing of copyrighted material has not yet been fully tested by the courts yet, so your guess is as good as mine.
      • by Kythe ( 4779 ) on Sunday October 02, 2005 @03:32PM (#13699692)
        I have to disagree. Since the RIAA's extortion cases--in other words, their campaign using lawsuits to shut down p2p networks--have basically consisted of no evidence of actual infringement, shutting down their current operations will most definitely be in P2P users' interests.

        Further, it would appear from the counterclaims that MediaSentry may have been engaged in some highly shady and legally dubious behavior of its own (e.g. perhaps browsing people's computers without permission and using what they find, even if its non-p2p related, to "encourage" settlement. Maybe they've been doing so using default Windows shares, rather than Kazaa or other p2p sharing features. Who knows?). If this is the case, then many of the RIAA's claims about p2p filesharing may themselves be called into doubt. Again: something from which P2P users would benefit.

        Ultimately, P2P users will benefit if the RIAA's terror campaign gets shut down. Ironically, given the fact that the record companies are seeing some record profits even as filesharing goes up, so may the record companies.
    • RIAA vs. P2P ... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by mister_llah ( 891540 ) on Sunday October 02, 2005 @03:11PM (#13699585) Homepage Journal
      Why?

      RIAA wants P2P networks shutdown due to these copyright issues.

      Universities and other organizations block P2P because of these same copyright issues, under pressure from lawsuit threats by the RIAA.

      ===

      The RIAA is a threat to P2P, even if you are just sharing original works of art.

      Legal users may not have as much of an interest in seeing RIAA get a punch to the kidneys, but there is still some cause for interest, I'd say.

      [Legal uses of P2P filesharing are an innocent bystander, but they still will get gunned down with illegals]

      (( this coming from someone who had his access removed at a university for sharing the Project Gutenberg DVD on eDonkey ))
      • by KillShill ( 877105 ) on Sunday October 02, 2005 @04:53PM (#13700047)
        this is the same bullshit they used against web radio and broadcasters.

        even if they were broadcasting ORIGINAL music, they still have to pay the RIAA. (or some copyright cartel front group).

        no music has fallen back into the public domain in over a century and even if some do (like some of elvis' songs in Europe) they won't allow people in other countries to obtain that music.

        a big F U to the aholes in the RIAA/MPAA/Software cartels.
    • by twitter ( 104583 ) on Sunday October 02, 2005 @03:12PM (#13699594) Homepage Journal
      If you use P2P to share original works of art ... why would you really care about someone fighting the RIAA regarding copyright issues?

      You don't care if you have all of the wrong assumptions. You would not care if you presumed the woman guilty, as you and the RIAA have. The criminal justice system is not supposed to work that way, copyright is not a part of criminal law and a single mom and the RIAA are not the ideal equal oponents required to gain justice in a civil case. Most importantly, you would not care if your were naive enough to believe these cases were about copyright infingment rather than shutting down an alternate source of legal distribtuion like mp3.com.

      Does that clear things up for you?

    • by Pharmboy ( 216950 ) on Sunday October 02, 2005 @04:14PM (#13699871) Journal
      What you are missing is the big picture: The RIAA is trying very hard to make using any P2P system either illegal, or at least viewed as completely illegitimate. It is fighting a distribution SYSTEM, not copyright issues.

      The problem with this is I personally like bittorrent (just one P2P method) and hope to see it incorporated into many other programs, particularly online gaming. This would make downloading the typical 150mb patches much easier than "waiting in line 20 minutes" at the typical gamer site, while being pounding about subscribing.

      I also use it to download Linux and BSD distributions, as well as other software, legally. There are often bittorrent links here on slashdot for videos, etc. from sites who don't have the bandwidth to stand a slashdotting.

      The real pisser is they are using flatly illegal tactics to do this, first by spying on people, second by extortion. Copyright infrincement isn't a crime, it's a matter for the civil courts. What the RIAA is doing, however, IS criminal in all 50 states.

      They are wholesale extorting money from people, with no physical evidence, and using a threat of litigation to make them give money. An amount that is cheaper than a retainer for a lawyer, I might add, to insure it is "in their best interest" to just comply and fork over a few thousand to make the problem go away. This is akin to the mob selling you "insurance, so no one will burn your house down". If the FIAA was actually interested in justice, they would allow the cases to actually go to court, instead of hiring some collection agency goons.

      Saying the RIAA is worried about the musicians being denied royalties is like saying SCO wants to protect their intellectual property. Yes, you can say it, but we both know its a load of crap. Like SCO, they just see this as both a way to prevent people from competing with thier distribution, and make a few bucks on the side.
    • by Skye16 ( 685048 ) on Sunday October 02, 2005 @08:33PM (#13700973)
      Ah, but we do, if they're introducing suspect evidence (like the little old lady accused of uploading gangster rap and hip-hop "on a massive scale" (she lived alone, by the way)). I'm not concerned about the copyright infringement issue - if it really did happen, nail the fuckers - but if they're suing people and scaring them into submitting (or face crazy court costs) all because the process for identifying p2p uploaders is flawed, then yeah, I have a problem with it. What stops them from accusing me and fucking up my life (for a short period of time) until I can prove them wrong? (I realize it's supposed to be the other way around, but honestly, in these cases, it just feels like you're guilty until proven innocent).
  • Put them??? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Black Parrot ( 19622 ) on Sunday October 02, 2005 @03:01PM (#13699519)
    > In a move that aims to put the RIAA on the same level as your average organized crime syndicate

    How can you 'put' something where it already is?
  • by sribe ( 304414 ) on Sunday October 02, 2005 @03:02PM (#13699524)
    The RIAA's mistake is that they have confused "only 1 in 1,000 people will make the effort to stand up to us" with "no one will stand up to us". If they'd sued 1 person with those odds, there would be very little chance of adverse consequences. But they sued 10s of 1000s of people, so those rare 1 in 1000 individuals are becoming a real pain ;-)
    • by mister_llah ( 891540 ) on Sunday October 02, 2005 @03:06PM (#13699554) Homepage Journal
      It only takes a few, aye, and only starts there.

      If any of these cases against the RIAA are successful... I think we'll see many more people standing up to them.

      Once you can prove that Goliath can be felled with just a sling, everyone wants to be David.
  • You go girl! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by fragmentate ( 908035 ) * <jdspilled@NosPaM.gmail.com> on Sunday October 02, 2005 @03:04PM (#13699539) Journal
    I received one of these letters in the mail, it claimed that I owed $4,583 for having downloaded "Enter Sandman" by Metallica... Well, I've never downloaded that MP3, and I've never even owned a Metallica CD to rip the song from.

    Reason: I really don't like Metallica, at all. (simple!)

    There is still an outstanding debt to these people, and it's still in collections. I hope she sets a precedent (which involves tying several statutes together) by winning.

    In recent weeks I've read more and more about the RIAA and the MPAA. I think they should help the tobacco industry run new campaigns... the tobacco guys could learn a thing or two from these greedies...
    • Re:You go girl! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by DarkEdgeX ( 212110 ) on Sunday October 02, 2005 @04:05PM (#13699831) Journal
      What kills me is, how can they just "create" a bill like this and get it sent off to a collections agency? I mean, can I go to a collections agency and claim all my neighbors owe me $1,000 without actually proving it? You'd think they'd need a judgement from a court first. (And you'd think there'd be a law against fabricating "debt" against people, especially where the situation is disputed).

      I mean, if it's that easy, I'm going to go get collection action started against a few hundred people and make some quick cash. Who needs a job.
    • Re:You go girl! (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 02, 2005 @04:18PM (#13699889)
      There is still an outstanding debt to these people, and it's still in collections. I hope she sets a precedent (which involves tying several statutes together) by winning.

      Unless you have agreed to a settlement, or a court has entered a judgment against you, you have no outstanding debt. The RIAA at best has an outstanding claim against you.

      This is an important distinction. If the claim has been reported to Experian, Equifax, TransUnion, etc., you can have it erased by following the dispute procedure outlined in sec. 1681(i) [cornell.edu] of the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Remember, this is not a disputed commercial transaction where someone can even allege the existence of a contract -- this is a private attempt to collect a penalty in the form of a 'settlement'. If neither you nor a judge says that the 'debt' exists, it does not exist.
    • by clambake ( 37702 ) on Sunday October 02, 2005 @04:36PM (#13699975) Homepage
      Don't pay. Contact the DoJ and tell the Cyber Crimes divsion that somone broke into your computer and is trying to extort money from you based on what they claim they found. Do it today!
  • by boingyzain ( 739759 ) on Sunday October 02, 2005 @03:05PM (#13699545)
    There was another case last year in which an individual fought back against the RIAA. That case quietly went away, and there was no mention of a settlement. Please MAKE SOME NOISE about this case! Let the public see the tangled web of lies the recording industry has cast, and make sure that records of this case remain open for reference by all of the future victims they will undoubtably harrass and intimidate in their efforts to regain lost revenue from their failing business practices.

    In an age when the common people are routinely intimidated and threatened by corporations whom they cannot possibly afford to face in a court of law, one can't help but believe that justice is dead.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 02, 2005 @03:06PM (#13699551)
    Great news! It's about time somebody steped up the fight against the RIAA. Lets hope more people follow.

    However, I have some serious doubts about the accusation of invasion of privacy and computer tresspass standing up in court... From what I understand, the RIAA isnt actually hacking into your computer to see what you sharing, they are simply using the same filesharing tools you are using to check out what your sharing. There is no tresspass involved, as far as I can see. And the privacy charge goes out the window because you are openely sharing the files for anybody who wants to see them, including the RIAA.
  • by Aeron65432 ( 805385 ) <agiambaNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Sunday October 02, 2005 @03:06PM (#13699556) Homepage
    The RICO act is actually a United States Federal law, meaning you can sue under this act not just in Oregon. (Wink wink nudge nudge)

    "Under RICO [wikipedia.org]", a person or group who commits any two of 35 crimes--27 federal crimes and 8 state crimes--within a 10-year period and (in the opinion of the U. S. Attorney bringing the case) has committed those crimes with similar purpose or results can be charged with racketeering. Those found guilty of racketeering can be fined up to $25,000 and/or sentenced to 20 years in prison. In addition, the racketeer must forfeit all ill-gotten gains and interest in any business gained through a pattern of "racketeering activity." The act also contains a civil component that allows plaintiffs to sue for triple damages."

    So for everyone in every other state in the Union, sue away!

    • Actually, it IS Oregon.

      There is a federal RICO act ( (R)acketeering (I)nfluenced (C)orrupt (O)rganizations ), as wells as many state acts that cover similar areas of laws. There are a few practical differences. Most signifigantly, it is typically much cheaper to sue in state court as opposed to federal court.
    • by rm999 ( 775449 ) on Sunday October 02, 2005 @03:21PM (#13699643)
      "Those found guilty of racketeering can be fined up to $25,000 and/or sentenced to 20 years in prison."

      That's not a very big deal to the RIAA because:
      a. 25,000 isn't much to them
      b. you can't send an organization to prison. Even if someone did go to prison, it probably wouldn't be anyone very high up.
      c. The most important reason? I think racketeering is too creative a charge in this case. I am NOT a legal expert, so this is just a guess and I may be wrong. Yes, the RIAA uses the courts to intimidate people, but so do plenty of organizations and people. It's not what I think of when I hear the word racketeering however. I think of someone in the mob or a corrupt businessman threatening your well-being. Not someone taking you to court for potentially stealing from them (and breaking the law).

      I hate what what the RIAA is doing - they are esentially using tax payer money to attack the typical tax payer. Everybody I know and their mom has downloaded an MP3. But I don't think racketeering charges are the answer.
      • That's not a very big deal to the RIAA because ...

        You're missing the effect that losing this case will have on all the RIAA's other current and future lawsuits against other hypothetical file sharers.

        Right now the RIAA files lawsuits with basically the same mindset spammers use: the cost is so low, and the potential benefits are so high, that there's no reason not to give it a whirl. Losing this case, having to pay damages, and getting a precedent that allows other people to sue for more damages will rais
  • by DrugCheese ( 266151 ) on Sunday October 02, 2005 @03:07PM (#13699560)
    we've had our eye on your for some time now.

  • by stevemm81 ( 203868 ) on Sunday October 02, 2005 @03:13PM (#13699596) Homepage
    Some of this appears to be crap, or at least just lawyers playing hardball. She claims that there was no such material on her computer, and that the RIAA broke into the computer to locate such material. The first
    may be true - it may be a genuine mistake, but the second argument I really doubt. I believe that the RIAA does not do any more than search public P2P search engines for their copyrighted content, and her argument that this searching is trespass to chattels is nonsense.

    That being said, I would blame her lawyer, not her personally. But still, it's hard to know how seriously the RICO allegations should be taken, or whether they're just a way to make the case a pain for the RIAA.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 02, 2005 @03:49PM (#13699768)
      The second arguement is important. It will force the RIAA to detail what information they collect, and how. That will demonstrate how thin the evidence is, weakening their initial claims. For all that is wrong with court, it can be a good way to ask your enemies questions so that they have to answer.
    • by Procyon101 ( 61366 ) on Sunday October 02, 2005 @04:25PM (#13699920) Journal
      The issue is that they CLAIMED they had broken into her computer. They confessed to a crime. They can backpedal and claim that they did not actually break into her computer, but rather claimed that they had committed a crime in order to intimidate the victim... but that really doesn't make their case look much better. It is in the victims best interest to take their confession at face value and assume that they actually did commit the crime that they confessed and let them dig their own hole with the judge as they try to defend either the commission of the crime or the false representation of the commission of the crime.

      If I say "I just killed your Father, John Doe, and now I shall kill you if you don't do what I want." and your father is actually missing, then I am in a pretty bad legal position even if I didn't actually kill your father.
    • Sure, a lot of the allegations are crap, however that is how legal cases work. You throw as much crap as you can muster and see what sticks, even if the claims are mutually exclusive. Once the crap is shot down, you fight over the remainder, but making as many claims as possible in the beginning gets the legal ball rolling. However, making too many false claims can get you into frivilous lawsuit trouble.

      As technical people, we know that many of the allegations in this case might be bogus, but that is
  • by Bullfish ( 858648 ) on Sunday October 02, 2005 @03:13PM (#13699599)
    Good luck I suppose is in order.

    While we may all feel that the RIAA has all all the trappings and actions of the Soprano crew, somehow I don't think that particular claim is going to wash with the the courts. On the other hand, it is out of the books of law enforcement in terms of hitting the accused with a large number of charges, most of which get thrown out, but some stick. Enough to make it worthwhile to go to court. This is a civil case, but the idea is the same.

    The interesting thing to me is that is a sign of the RIAA cases startng to get out-of-hand from the RIAA's point of view. People are counter-suing, and now with omnibus claims. Rather than backing down against their legal might, some people are starting to fight back and they run the case of making sympathetic figures of those they are going after and making themselves out to be bad guys to the general public. Up to now, all the publicity in the mainstream has gone for the most part, the RIAA's way. This type of thing if it continues can harden the general public against the RIAA making their present tactics counter-productive. And as a by-product, can make it harder to find sympathetic jurors and judges to their cause.

    The big fear I would have if I were the RIAA, is that sooner or later unless they change tactics, they could face class action lawsuits.

    This is a nice shot across the bow of the RIAA.

  • RIAA violating DMCA? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by john82 ( 68332 ) on Sunday October 02, 2005 @03:14PM (#13699603)
    IANAL, but item 21 in the countersuit sounds interesting:

    21. The record company plaintiffs employed MediaSentry as their agent to break into Ms. Andersen's personal computer (and those of tens of thousands of other people) to secretly spy on and steal information or remove files. MediaSentry did not have Ms. Andersen's permission to inspect, copy, or remove private computer files. If MediaSentry accessed her private computer, it did so illegally and secretly. In fact, Ms. Andersen was unaware that the trespass occurred until well after she was anonymously sued.


    Couldn't that be construed as a violation of DMCA? And while we're at it, who gave MediaSentry the authority to conduct an electronic wiretap?

    I sincerely hope that Ms. Andersen's countersuit is successful and MediaSentry is forced out of business as a result of the damages awarded.
    • No (Score:5, Informative)

      by Wesley Felter ( 138342 ) <wesley@felter.org> on Sunday October 02, 2005 @03:37PM (#13699713) Homepage
      Couldn't that be construed as a violation of DMCA?

      Breaking into computers in order to spy on people is not a violation of the DMCA; it's a violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (as it says right in the article).

      And while we're at it, who gave MediaSentry the authority to conduct an electronic wiretap?

      There's no evidence that they conducted anything resembling a wiretap, nor is there evidence that they broke into any computer. That's not how these P2P monitoring companies generally work (since it's so obviously illegal). They just observe which IP addresses are sharing which files. That's not a wiretap.

      The RIAA's lawsuits are bad, but this countersuit appears to be overreaching in the opposite direction.
  • by Doc Ruby ( 173196 ) on Sunday October 02, 2005 @03:21PM (#13699637) Homepage Journal
    RICO should be easily recognized by programmers. A RICO crime is like an array of individual crimes. It's the more manageable collection structure, both for racketeers racking up crimes into organzied crime businesses, and for prosecutors targeting them with evidence of those crimes. It's like the inverse of a "class action suit", which itself should be familiar to object-oriented programmers. With the law reinventing various programming patterns, how long will it be before we can submit new laws to a "justice compiler" to test whether it will execute? Something like a lintian "constitutionality validator"?
  • Ouch. (Score:5, Funny)

    by Hawthorne01 ( 575586 ) on Sunday October 02, 2005 @03:29PM (#13699680)
    Between this, the whining re: shariing in iPod revenue, and the demands to raise iTunes Music Store prices, it's not a good week to be an RIAA exec.

    Like there's a GOOD week to be an RIAA exec. :)

  • Might be something (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ericdano ( 113424 ) on Sunday October 02, 2005 @03:38PM (#13699720) Homepage
    There might be something to her arguments. Industry does not want to stick with a $.99 a song model. They sue people, but never take it to court, and insist upon a "settlement". They have prices fixed for almost 20 years now. Sounds like a abusive monopoly to me.

    Hopefully the industry will get bitch-slapped by this. If this lady were to win, then people the RIAA has "successfully sued" might ban together and sue the RIAA. It could potentially get really messy for the RIAA.

    The industry basically needs to realize that their products are too expensive, and that the quality is not as good. They need to really get behind the legal download model, such as iTunes rather than making innuendos about "decapiting" it.

    • by schon ( 31600 ) on Sunday October 02, 2005 @04:09PM (#13699851)
      Industry does not want to stick with a $.99 a song model.

      Actually, industry does not want *any* downloadable music model, regarless of the price.

      Why? Because it cuts into their business, which is selling shiny discs.

      When people become accustomed to downloading music (and doing it legally), then the RIAA no longer has their distribution stranglehold. If you're a musician, there used to be only one way to reach a global audience - with the advent of P2P, that's no longer the case, and the RIAA is dancing as fast as they can to distract people from the truth.

      They want people to think "downloading==illegal", because it opens them up to competition.
  • Not Fraud? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by tgraupmann ( 679996 ) on Sunday October 02, 2005 @03:39PM (#13699725)
    I've heard Fraud isn't Fraud unless it's investigated. Who investigates RIAA practices? All the cases have been corporate layers versus starving students. The student is usually getting sued for 6x to 100x tuition they cannot afford in every case, I think there is something worth investigating there. I even heard that the RIAA attempts to recruit the student to pay off their debt.
  • by gelfling ( 6534 ) on Sunday October 02, 2005 @03:53PM (#13699784) Homepage Journal
    It is a criminal enterprise that threatens to extort money from its own customers. Moreover there is self admitted collusion in this enterprise.
  • by clambake ( 37702 ) on Sunday October 02, 2005 @04:00PM (#13699812) Homepage
    Offering the RIAA a chance to settle for only $6,000.
  • by clambake ( 37702 ) on Sunday October 02, 2005 @04:11PM (#13699861) Homepage
    If what she claims is true, i.e. that Media Sentry broke into her computer to snoop around, then THEY are guilty of copyright infringement whenever they opened one of her files and had it sent over the network for inspection!
    • Not so long as they had the permission of the copyright owner of the actual file(s) they copied.

      They're probably guilty of a host of other things, but not copyright infringement.
      • by clambake ( 37702 ) on Sunday October 02, 2005 @04:39PM (#13699987) Homepage
        Not so long as they had the permission of the copyright owner of the actual file(s) they copied.

        Any document that she created on that machine that they looked at, emails, photos, letter, little notes, whatever (possibly even the file structure, assuming she didn't just use the system defaults but made her own), are owned by HER...
  • Oy, Neo! (Score:4, Funny)

    by j!mmy v. ( 613784 ) on Sunday October 02, 2005 @04:27PM (#13699930)
    RIAA Agent Smith: Tell me, Ms. Anderson... what good is a phone call...if you're unable to speak?

    //had to. shoot me now.

  • by panurge ( 573432 ) on Sunday October 02, 2005 @04:32PM (#13699959)
    Let me see
    • Well documented widespread use of drugs among execs and performers
    • Alleged extensive use of bribery to ensure air time
    • Women singers expected to look like prostitutes
    • Male performers expected to look like and behave like violent criminals
    • Large output of music advocating abuse of women, carrying and use of guns to settle disputes, drug taking and attacks on police.
    In what way are the members of the RIAA NOT like organised criminal and racketeers?
  • by Loki_1929 ( 550940 ) on Sunday October 02, 2005 @05:14PM (#13700138) Journal
    I called this over two years ago.

    http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=77984&cid=6926 062 [slashdot.org]

    I should be a lawyer.

  • by MurkyWater ( 866956 ) on Sunday October 02, 2005 @05:18PM (#13700156)
    Ms. Anderson is one of the mothers previously mentioned who is taking a stand against the RIAA. (Slashdot article [slashdot.org], direct link [p2pnet.net]) She was sued by the RIAA, and after offering up her computer to their investigators and explainging that she did not and could not have shared those file, the suit was dropped, only to picked up a short time later by another member of the RIAA.

    From the article:

    "I have the least expensive computer system you can buy from Dell. The type you order off television for $499.00. It was purchased in the summer of 2002 and has the smallest hard drive they make. I have no cd writer on it and the cd-rom that I do have, does not even work correctly.

    "I live alone with my 8-year-old daughter (who would have been seven at the time the alleged occurrence took place). I am a single mom who is disabled and unable to work. I live on Social Security disability and struggle to support my daughter and myself. If I am put in a position where I need to defend myself regarding this situation, it would create extreme financial hardship on me. I have no money and did not do what is being said. I also must admit that all this stuff that has been occurring with this whole ordeal has triggered my medical condition to flare lately.

    "I have always been against music downloading. In fact, I have been a member of BMG's music club for quite some time and I purchase my music either from there or from Target. When I first got my computer set up almost three years ago, I had a friend set it up for me since I did not know how to do it. She had put Kaaza Lite on there and told me what it was. I never used it and had no interest in doing so. I deleted it since I had no use for it. Even though I deleted it correctly, as is recommended by Microsoft, Mr. Eilers has told me it can hide out in my system and play without me knowing about it. I have done a total check
    of my computer and it is no where on there.

    "These files you are speaking accusing me of sharing (which Mr. Eiler told me about), are not and never have been on my computer system. Several of those artists, I have never even heard of! One, I understand, is a rap song. I am 42-years-old and do not even like rap music. The login that this person who did this apparently used, which Mr. Eiler told me of, is not a login name I have ever used or heard of.

    "There is no one at my household who could have done what is being said at all. Mr. Eiler had brought up the fact that maybe a babysitter could have done it and that is impossible because I seldom have a sitter since I can't afford to pay one and am usually home."
  • the other side (Score:3, Interesting)

    by bcrowell ( 177657 ) on Sunday October 02, 2005 @05:20PM (#13700168) Homepage
    Wow, 199 posts so far, and not a single person is even willing to play Devil's advocate?

    1. Illegal music copying over file-sharing networks is not in any way analogous to supporting the real free information movement. Supporting the real free information movement would mean, e.g., helping out on an OSS project, or writing and recording your own music and intentionally releasing it for free on the internet. Warezing and illegal MP3 sharing just help to give the real free information movement a bad name in the eyes of people who don't really understand much about it.
    2. The GPL's enforceability depends entirely on the enforceability of copyright law. If you're wishing for copyright to become unenforceable because of the anonymous nature of the internet, you'd better be planning on a future in which the GPL is roadkill.
    3. People who do this kind of copyright violation naturally try to hide their identities, and the copyright owners really do have a problem identifying who they are. For instance, I wrote a book [lightandmatter.com], which is available under a creative commons license. I found out recently that someone has plagiarized a bunch of material from it and put it on a web site [newtonlaws.net], without crediting me, and without reproducing the copyright and licensing information. All of the contact info in the whois database turns out to be bogus, so I haven't been able to contact him via e-mail, phone, or paper mail. I eventually found out who his webhost is, and they seem reasonably responsive so far, but anyway it's not surprising that the RIAA is having a hard time sometimes figuring out who's who, and may even make honest (gasp!) mistakes.

    I'm not saying that this particular woman is wrong. I'm not saying that I like current copyright law. (The terms should not be effectively permanent, and the rights of first use, personal use, and first sale have been eroded way too much.) I just think it's way too easy to go with the Slashdot groupthink effect and say "RIAA sucks."

  • RIAA spyware (Score:5, Interesting)

    by E8086 ( 698978 ) on Sunday October 02, 2005 @05:43PM (#13700282)
    Before reading the statements I thought, ok, single mother, it's possible she doesn't know what her kid was doing with their PC, then I saw 8yr old and 4:24am. There's no way an 8yr old is going to be up after 4am.

    "10. When Ms. Andersen contacted Settlement Support Center, she was advised that her personal home computer had been secretly entered by the record companies' agents, MediaSentry."

    15. An employee of Settlement Support Center admitted to Ms. Andersen that he believed that she had not downloaded any music. He explained, however, that Settlement Support Center and the record companies would not quit their debt collection activities because to do so would encourage other people to defend themselves against the record companies' claims.

    This is assuming all her statements are true and what she claims the RIAA agents said is also true.
    It would be nice for her if she recorded her calls, after telling them she was recording it, to the RIAA Collection Center, I mean "Settlement Support Center" and getting their statements in writing couldn't hurt.

    She claims to not like "gangster rap" and that MediaSentry, oh look we finally have a name for the IP bounty hunters, hacked/secretly entered her computer. So do the files exist on her computer or not? If she has no interest in it then the files should not be there unless downloaded by some spyware they infected her with or the files don't exist and MediaSentry lied and made up the list. And they tell her that even though they believe she is innocent they cannot drop the case because it would be an admission of error, either way it doesn't look good for the RIAA.

    And what's with IP address being IPA? IP=Internet Protocol NOT Intellectual Property. Intellectual Property = Intellectual Property, Intellectual Property != IP! greedy bastards

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