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Media Government The Courts News

RIAA Members Sue Over Infringement 323

fair_n_hite_451 writes "To the surprise of no one, several members of the RIAA have filed suit against MediaServices, the operators of The suit was filed for Wednesday, primarily by Arista Records LLC, Warner Bros. Records Inc., Capitol Records Inc. and UMG Recordings. The language of the litigation was very confrontational; The companies claim the site sells millions of songs without paying them 'a dime'. 'The defendant's entire business ... amounts to nothing more than a massive infringement of plaintiffs' exclusive rights under the Copyright Act and New York law.' AllofMp3 has always maintained that a Russian licensing group makes their business legitimate, while the RIAA here claims the organization has no authority to make such a deal."
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RIAA Members Sue Over Infringement

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  • by melikamp ( 631205 ) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @03:49PM (#17328456) Homepage Journal

    My sentiment exactly. I lived in Russia long enough to understand how this cookie crumbles. I cannot predict the outcome, for it depends on many things. I just want to note that, unfortunately for RIAA, it does not depend on the law. It mostly depends on two things:

    1. How much a decision will piss off the USA (the more--the better).

    2. The amount of a bribe. This seems to be in RIAA's favour, but I have a feeling that (1) might play a bigger role here.

  • by Ogive17 ( 691899 ) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @03:56PM (#17328560)
    It matters when US citizens are members of this service. I have one friend who is a member and even she thought it was a bit fishy... but she was paying $10 or $15/month for unlimited downloading. I assume this is how they are going after the company, because they provide their service in the United States.

    And slightly off topic, our legal system does a pretty good job. The only change I would like to see done is to make plantiffs pay all court costs/legal fees if the defendant was proven to be non guilty in a civil matter. That would fix so many problems.
  • Unenforceable? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Ruvim ( 889012 ) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @03:57PM (#17328570)
    And how does RIAA expect to enforce New York's court order (if such would be obtained) on Russian soil?
  • by Zontar_Thing_From_Ve ( 949321 ) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @04:01PM (#17328648)
    Why is the RIAA trying to sue someone in another country. The US has no jurisdiction.

    You're right, but AllOfMP3 won't show up or if they do will lose, so RIAA will win in court. With this victory, they will get the Bush administration to lean more heavily on Russia to "do something".

    Please America, don't try to bring your horrible legal system to the rest of the world. We don't want it.

    I'm American and I admit we are too litigious and everything here is always somebody else's fault. However, the more I pay attention, the less convinced I am that overall the American legal system is the worst. One the negative side, yes, you can sue over anything and maybe win. On the positive side, if you do something bad (ie. kill someone), you may actually pay a high price for it. Consider the following:
    1) A few years ago Japan tried and convicted some US Marines for raping a schoolgirl. The ringleader got a "very long sentence" (those are the exact words of the account I read) of 7 years. In the US he could have been sentenced to life imprisonment for the crime. I'm sorry, but 7 years is not a "long time".
    2) Did you know that according to the Brazilian constitution you can't be sentenced to more 30 years in jail for anything? Serial killers rejoice. In fact, Brazilian sentences are never more than 29 years because to give someone 30 involves an automatic appeal. There's no death penalty in Brazil either, although strangely enough the cops have an awful lot of leeway to shoot you and kill you prior to you getting arrested should you flee or resist.
    3) Italians in particular (although the majority of the EU has the same problem) actually feel sorry for criminals. One of the Achille Lauro hijackers got a 30 year sentence and was put on work release from which he ran away. He was eventually recaptured, but it says a lot about Italian "justice" that the guy got on work release to begin with. The weak Italian justice system is why when the follow-up bombers failed in London a few years ago that one of them fled to Italy and fought vigorously to be tried there because he knew the Italians would feel sorry for him and he'd get out of jail eventually.

    The one positive thing about the American legal system is that if you do something bad and you get convicted, you'll pay for it. It may be the death penalty, it may be life in prison without parole, or a truly long sentence, but we won't feel sorry for you and put you on work release while you're doing your time.
  • by novus ordo ( 843883 ) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @04:05PM (#17328718) Journal
    Allofmp3 was legal until this [] legislation passed by Putin. Also with the recent spy scandals and Putin's dissolution of democratic institutions one has to be concerned. All Putin wants to do is join the WTO [] and RIAA is waving the USA stick with the help of their big pockets. Gotta love capitalism and free markets...
  • by TheRecklessWanderer ( 929556 ) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @04:19PM (#17328944) Journal
    You can be sure that the contract (if there is one) is under the jurisdiction of russian law, not US law. Like I said in my post, if US citizens are involved, then they are liable, perhaps, but the russian entity is not. As to the slightly off topic... There is no good legal system. The US system is so backlogged and so top heavy its insane. Remember that case where the women spilled hot coffee on herself and sued (I think it was mcdonalds), so now they have to put warnings on their coffee cups that say hot. How stupid are you if you don't know that coffee is hot. Come on. I think that the criminal system is reasonable, however, your civil system is so out of wack. Everybody is looking for a free lunch at the expense of Corporate America. Geeze, look at all those guys who sit on patents, and then wait for somebody to invent something similar and then take them to court. Reality is, it's often cheaper to settle rather than go through the courts and hold up business. I agree with the plaintiff paying all court and legal costs, that would help a lot. Better yet, make the law firms pay for it. That would solve the problems for sure.
  • by jahudabudy ( 714731 ) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @04:35PM (#17329180)
    Ok, all three of your arguments fall under "Sovereign states get to determine their own internal affairs. They don't have to do what any other state tells them if they don't want." Technically, true. Realistically, not so much. Sure, independent states can do what they want. But if you piss off the powers that be, you don't get to play in the global economy, import goods, export goods, etc., depending on how pissed they get. That's what Russia joining the WTO has to do with this: the WTO (which is pretty much an economic stick swung about by the wealthy nations) is likely to tell Russia they must crack down on "intellectual property infringement" if they want to play ball with the big boys. Russia wants to join the WTO, b/c then they get to be one of the big boys manipulating the world economy for their own advantage, rather than being one of the ones manipulated. I believe the term is realpolitik.
  • Re:Importation Laws? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by bloodstar ( 866306 ) <> on Thursday December 21, 2006 @04:35PM (#17329196) Journal

    Because possession of a .mp3 is not, in of itself, a crime. If you've legally purchased the mp3 according to the laws of that country, it's very hard for the RIAA to say, 'but they didn't pay us the money' particularly since the RIAA is the "Recording Industry Association of America" and not the "Recording Industry Association of Russia" or whichever country it may be. Now if there were a law passed saying that no mp3s may be 'imported' from another country if the RIAA hasn't been paid off, then there might be an issue with the 'importing' of the mp3 track to your computer.

    IANAL, and if someone else has any thoughts or corrections who is, I'd love to hear them.

  • Re:Importation Laws? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by GodInHell ( 258915 ) * on Thursday December 21, 2006 @04:51PM (#17329426) Homepage

    Because possession of a .mp3 is not, in of itself, a crime. If you've legally purchased the mp3 according to the laws of that country, it's very hard for the RIAA to say, 'but they didn't pay us the money' particularly since the RIAA is the "Recording Industry Association of America" and not the "Recording Industry Association of Russia" or whichever country it may be. Now if there were a law passed saying that no mp3s may be 'imported' from another country if the RIAA hasn't been paid off, then there might be an issue with the 'importing' of the mp3 track to your computer.
    As I understand this issue - internet sales occour both at the point of origin (russia) and the point of sale (in the U.S.). This means that your sale has to be legal there and here.

    I haven't studied internet or international law much yet though.


  • by recursiv ( 324497 ) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @04:57PM (#17329532) Homepage Journal
    Because it's convenient and requires no specialized software. I can use it at work.
  • by GodInHell ( 258915 ) * on Thursday December 21, 2006 @05:06PM (#17329676) Homepage
    Yeah, past sites that have forced companies into U.S. courts had multiple languages - the important point is that English is one of them (in a country that is not predominatly English speaking). The US$ system may be ubiquitous, but the courts have held that using US dollars means attrcting US customers.

    Jurisdiction is a very loose point of law.

  • by GodWasAnAlien ( 206300 ) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @05:55PM (#17330446)
    The RIAA is for the most part an association of Corporations.
    These corporations have an unlimited lifespan, and the legal purpose of a Corporation is solely to make money.
    But in our wisdom, our courts decided more than a century ago, that this Corporate Entity is a legal person: with all the legal benefits of person, but apparently little punishment for wrongdoings.

    This eternal entity obviously wants to "own" "copyrights" forever, for profit (its legal mandate). So the behavior of the RIAA and MPAA is not surprising.

    If you had robots with rights that could outlive humans, you may have some of the same ownership problems as those created with this artificial corporation person creation.

    When a corporation is made of of all robot employees ... nevermind, you have probably seen that movie.
  • by GodInHell ( 258915 ) * on Thursday December 21, 2006 @05:56PM (#17330470) Homepage

    This is a gross oversimplification of a very complex and technical area of law called choice of law or conflict of laws. The phrase "their acts take effect here" is meaningless; you could just as easily argue that their acts took effect in Russia since that's where payment is received.
    Yes, you're right. I did say "Quick," which I intended to denote that it was not thorough. I think that recent case law indicates that the S.D.N.Y. will rule that internet purchases take place at both the point of origin, and the point of sale - but I don't want to get technical to the point where I'm speaking only to people who already understand the issue, and I didn't want to spend too much time writing a forum post.

    Good points though.


  • by iamacat ( 583406 ) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @05:59PM (#17330498)
    Care to explain how companies like Apple get away with violating US labor laws? []. If companies can outsource my job to China, taking advantage of lax labor laws, I can import their products from Russia, under Russian copyright laws.
  • by gfreeman ( 456642 ) on Friday December 22, 2006 @09:06AM (#17336036)
    Yeah, but last time I checked they only take Discover. Kinda sucks, but anyone know how else to add credit, short of mailing in a wad of ruble bills??
  • Re:Sure... but... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by arminw ( 717974 ) on Friday December 22, 2006 @03:12PM (#17340860)
    ....To what degree does AllofMp3 conduct business within the United States.....

    Does a transaction that goes across an International border take place in the place where the buyer is or the seller? For sales taxes it is the buyer's place. If someone from Oregon where there is no sales buys something from California, there is no tax due. If someone in California buys something in Oregon, the buyer is supposed to pay sales tax or use tax to California. In practice nobody pays either place except for things like cars that must be registered.

    Is the Allofmp3 situation not pretty much the same? Does the RIAA have a right to collect a "tax" on buyers of material from Allofmp3? Is it illegal to buy such material and have it shipped (by wire) to the US? If the material were a physical good, would US Customs confiscate it, like the did some German sausage my parents tried to bring us?

Artificial intelligence has the same relation to intelligence as artificial flowers have to flowers. -- David Parnas