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Class Action Initiated Against RIAA 315

Posted by kdawson
from the bandwagon-starting-to-roll dept.
NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "Ever since the RIAA's litigation campaign began in 2003, many people have been suggesting a class action against the RIAA. Tanya Andersen, in Oregon, has taken them up on it. The RIAA's case against this disabled single mother, Atlantic v. Andersen, has received attention in the past, for her counterclaims against the RIAA including claims under Oregon's RICO statute, the RIAA's hounding of her young daughter for a face-to-face deposition, the RIAA's eventual dropping of the case 'with prejudice,' and her lawsuit against the RIAA for malicious prosecution, captioned Andersen v. Atlantic. Now she's turned that lawsuit into a class action. The amended complaint seeking class action status (PDF) sues for negligence, fraud, negligent misrepresentation, federal and state RICO, abuse of process, malicious prosecution, intentional infliction of emotional distress, violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, trespass, invasion of privacy, libel and slander, deceptive business practices, misuse of copyright law, and civil conspiracy."
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Class Action Initiated Against RIAA

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  • by dhanav (313625) on Friday August 17, 2007 @01:44PM (#20264413) Journal
    Now is the time for all those who complained about RIAA to join in and take this to a good conclusion.
    • by HoosierPeschke (887362) <hoosierpeschke@comcast.net> on Friday August 17, 2007 @01:51PM (#20264567) Homepage
      I agree, but how? NewYorkCountryLawyer, where can we direct our support and/or funds???
    • by AltGrendel (175092) <ag-slashdot AT exit0 DOT us> on Friday August 17, 2007 @01:52PM (#20264575) Homepage
      Unless you were approached by the RIAA, the most you can do is cheer them on [wikipedia.org].
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Opportunist (166417)
        There's always the possibility of sending money. Donations. Nobody can keep me from giving my money to whoever I please.
        • by Dahamma (304068) on Friday August 17, 2007 @04:58PM (#20267709)
          Feel free to throw your money away giving it to class action lawyers. I'm sure they will split their massive commission with you if they win.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Atario (673917)
            I believe the point here is not to get rich off the RIAA, but to take the bastards down a few notches. Please readjust expectation parameters accordingly.
    • by Billosaur (927319) * <wgrother@NOSPAM.optonline.net> on Friday August 17, 2007 @01:55PM (#20264635) Journal

      Agreed. You get the pitchforks, I'll find the torches... and I think some tar and feathers would be in order to... BTW, where is there HQ again? If we can't find that, their lawyers' offices will do...

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by obsolete1349 (969869)
        * EMI - New York and London
        * Sony BMG Music Entertainment - New York
        * Universal Music Group - Santa Monica, CA and New York
        * Warner Music Group - New York

        List of RIAA member labels [wikipedia.org] for more information.

        Let's get those bastards.
    • by Himring (646324) on Friday August 17, 2007 @02:16PM (#20265033) Homepage Journal
      "I come back to you now, at the turn of the tide." --Gandalf

  • What are your estimates of this case's success?

    I'd rather hear it from the expert than Slashdot's myriad self-described ones.
    • by WPIDalamar (122110) on Friday August 17, 2007 @01:59PM (#20264691) Homepage
      $10 says the lawyers are the only winners.
      • by Blue Stone (582566) on Friday August 17, 2007 @02:04PM (#20264807) Homepage Journal
        >"$10 says the lawyers are the only winners."

        As long as the RI.... Record Companies lose, I'm OK with that.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by NMerriam (15122)

          As long as the RI.... Record Companies lose, I'm OK with that.

          That's pretty much the point of the class action statutes. Theres no effective way to remedy 20 million people who were all ripped off for 12 cents each by a megacorp, yet doing so would be incredibly profitable for said megacorp. So you simply make such behavior have a huge financial penalty for the megacorp to try and set an example that ripping off lots of people a little at a time is not a wise business decision, because in aggregate the su

      • by mcrbids (148650) on Friday August 17, 2007 @02:07PM (#20264857) Journal
        $10 says the lawyers are the only winners.

        If you are right, wouldn't that make you a winner too?
        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by MajinBlayze (942250)
          If only lawyers win, and he wins, HE'S A LAWYER
          Watch out!! *hides*

          (wow, glad I previewed, I almost called him a LAYER)
      • by bidule (173941)

        $10 says the lawyers are the only winners.
        So, what's wrong with that? All I want is that Atlantic loses badly, the rest I don't care.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Paracelcus (151056)
        (IMHO) It ain't about the money, its about really hurting the recording industry and all the greedy no-talent clotheshorses with multi-million dollar contracts who produce increasingly non-musical drivel at inflated prices.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Sandbags (964742)
        The lawyers may be the only ones to PROFIT from this case, but the fact that a verdict against the RIAA will have ripple effects in hundreds of cases, state and federal laws is something to watch. This case could determine the future of how piracy can be legally tracked, what kind of effort a company is allowed to put in to protect intellectual property, what lines are drawn as far as "harassing prosecution:" is concerned, and more. Even if the RIAA wins the action, on many levels they will also loose, mo
      • by scribblej (195445)
        They won't be the /only/ winners if anyone takes you up on that bet. You'll be one too.

        Remember I was your friend before you got $10 richer.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by eth1 (94901)

        $10 says the lawyers are the only winners.


        Hmm... So, if only the lawyers win, you win $10, which means that the lawyers AREN'T the only winners, so you shouldn't win your $10. But then the lawyers would be the only winners! Now if only they'd all disappear in a puff of logic...

    • What are your estimates of this case's success? I'd rather hear it from the expert than Slashdot's myriad self-described ones.
      My guess is that there will be substantial motion practice involving (a) defendants' attempts to dismiss as many of the theories as they can, and (b) certification of a class. If at the end of all of that a class is certified by the Court, the RIAA has a big problem, and will probably have to come to terms with Ms. Andersen and those she represents.

      The vast majority of class actions are neither won, nor lost, but settled. In this case, I would imagine that the defendants' shareholders are already starting to wake up to the reality that they have been played for suckers by their lawyers, and the companies will be most eager to settle.
  • by unity100 (970058) on Friday August 17, 2007 @01:45PM (#20264423) Homepage Journal
    Abuse of legal system for personal profiteering shouldnt be allowed. I wish this class action lawsuit to go as big as paypal one and this time teach MAFIAA bastards and their hound dog of a lawyers some lesson.
  • by AltGrendel (175092) <ag-slashdot AT exit0 DOT us> on Friday August 17, 2007 @01:45PM (#20264437) Homepage

    sues for negligence, fraud, negligent misrepresentation, federal and state RICO, abuse of process, malicious prosecution, intentional infliction of emotional distress, violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, trespass, invasion of privacy, libel and slander, deceptive business practices, misuse of copyright law, and civil conspiracy.

    Can you add sheer stupidity and pigheadedness to that?

    Oh, and while you're at it, tell them that we plain old don't like them.

  • Who could join? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by downix (84795) on Friday August 17, 2007 @01:46PM (#20264443) Homepage
    Would this be just by people they hve harassed, or against any potential target? This leaves the door very open to wild interpretation untill we get clarification.
  • by weak* (1137369) on Friday August 17, 2007 @01:47PM (#20264487)
    The witness has testified that you are personally responsible for the murder of a New York City police captain in 1947 and with him a man named Virgil Sollozzo. You deny this?

    RIAA: Yes, we do.

    • Lets hope that Tanya Anderson doesn't have a brother in Sicily.
  • So... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Colin Smith (2679) on Friday August 17, 2007 @01:47PM (#20264491)
    How can we contribute?

     
    • by Shabbs (11692)
      That was my first thought too.

      Where can I send some money to in order to help them out?

      Could this be the final knockout blow?
    • Re:So... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Lord Ender (156273) on Friday August 17, 2007 @02:49PM (#20265667) Homepage

      How can we contribute?
      Why would you want to contribute? Class action lawsuits are typically funded entirely by the lawyers themselves. It's the lawyers who get all the money from the settlements, and the defendants they "represent" end up with gift certificates.
    • by shark72 (702619)

      "How can we contribute?"

      Just keep pirating music, and keep encouraging your friends to do the same. Hit them in the wallet.

      It's not enough to keep saying "their business model is dead." To make that happen you need to keep actively helping to kill it.

  • Add me (Score:5, Funny)

    by Edward Ka-Spel (779129) on Friday August 17, 2007 @01:48PM (#20264495)
    Yes, I have been illegally downloading music for years, I want to be a part of this class action suit.

    Oh, wait... Umm... nevermind.
  • how do I get in..... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Roskolnikov (68772) on Friday August 17, 2007 @01:48PM (#20264509)
    How do I get in this class? do I purchase music? do I pose as someone downloading music? can I turn myself into the riaa in the hopes that they can include me in the pay out?

    These folks chasing after a 10 year old is one thing, but I seem to recall they went after a dead man as well, can't wait to see how this plays out.

  • by Haiku 4 U (580059) on Friday August 17, 2007 @01:50PM (#20264543)
    Dear RIAA,
    Turnabout is fair play, you
    rich smokers-of-cocks.

    Love, Haiku 4 U
    P.S. I look forward to
    great music sans you.
  • CELEBRATE! (Score:3, Funny)

    by WwWonka (545303) on Friday August 17, 2007 @01:51PM (#20264557)
    ....after reading this glorious news it may be the first time I have wanted to leave my cubicle and head out into the streets to shout at the top of my overworked underpaid lungs...

    "FLAVOR FLAAAAAAV!"

    then I will promptly head back inside and continue to use our company's massive internet bandwidth to keep downloading pirated music.
  • Verdict (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 17, 2007 @01:51PM (#20264563)
    The RIAA will be sentenced to giving all members of the class $12.67 in music downloads from the Kenny Rogers store (with DRM).
  • by xednieht (1117791) on Friday August 17, 2007 @01:53PM (#20264589) Homepage
    she names a number of other defendants including:
    Atlantic Recording Corp.
    Priority Records
    Capitol Records
    UMG Recordings
    BMG

    And lets not forget that RIAA is just a front organization for a host of others listed here --> http://yro.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=271437&cid =20249893 [slashdot.org]

    The Association has no product per se, the alleged racketeering is therefore being funded by it's members.

    I wish her luck as well a success.
  • Overhyped (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MajinBlayze (942250) on Friday August 17, 2007 @01:54PM (#20264621)
    This seems a bit overhyped to me. Yes, I want the RIAA to go away, I want the RIAA to stop using brutal tactics, however, they do have the legal right to prosecute people illegally distributing their IP.

    Please note that this is specifically for those wrongfully accused. The best we can see from this is getting the RIAA to calm down (a good end no doubt).

    For those who are wondering, this will not be the death knell for DRM and the RIAA.
    -1 flamebait +1 UnfortunatelyTrue
    • Re:Overhyped (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Opportunist (166417) on Friday August 17, 2007 @02:16PM (#20265021)
      They have the right to protect their IP. They do not have the right to harrass people left and right, peppering the population with lawsuits in a "sue them all, let the courts sort them out" way.

      This won't be the death for the RIAA, but it might be the end of their tactics of instilling fear and trying to give the impression that everyone's guilty and just they didn't get around to sue them yet.
      • They have the right to protect their IP. They do not have the right to harrass people left and right, peppering the population with lawsuits in a "sue them all, let the courts sort them out" way.
        If they police aren't enforcing the law, and you think "they do not have the right" to use the courts to enforce the law, how do you think the law should be enforced?
        • Re:Overhyped (Score:4, Insightful)

          by eric76 (679787) on Friday August 17, 2007 @03:11PM (#20266059)

          how do you think the law should be enforced?

          Perhaps a little research before filing the lawsuit would be useful.

          My suggestion for how to make the situation better is to require the plaintiff in any lawsuit to pay the attorney's fees of the defendant.

          If the plaintiff wins, then they could recover the fees they paid if the defendant had sufficient assets. If the defendant doesn't have the assets, then why is the plaintiff even suing him?

          If the plaintiff requests arbitration and the defendant refuses, then the defendant would pay his own attorney's fees. If the defendant requests arbitration the the plaintiff refuses, then the plaintiff would be barred from recovering any of the attorney's fees from the defendant.

          It would force the plaintiff to really do their homework before filing suit and to make a determination ahead of time about whether or not the lawsuit was justified. It would end the RIAA's practice of going after anyone and everyone without any knowledge about whether or not the defendant was the culprit.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by sircastor (1051070)
      I think, as you say though, this may be a death knell to the way the RIAA currently operates it's legal talons. If the RIAA gets slapped in court once or twice more for a big enough sum they may realize that they can't bully their way around the legal system so easily. This means that fewer people who are innocent will be accused/ have to deal with the grief and frustration of court against bullies.

      As for those who just want to download anything they want when they want, this is going to remain against th
    • Ultimately, I believe you are both right and wrong.

      Based on what I think I know about corporations, I suspect that following will occur:
      1. The suit will be awarded class action status
      2. The RIAA will not settle out of court, preferring to drag this out as long as possible, ultimately resulting in a RIAA loss.
      3. The result will be a huge dollar sum.
      4. The RIAA declare bankruptcy, goes down in flames... and
      • by nsayer (86181) *

        Unless the record companys themselves are included in the class action, I see no real solution.

        Given the list of claims (particularly that RICO has been raised) and the nature of the RIAA, it seems to me quite possible that the court might be able to pierce the corporate veil of the RIAA and go after the assets of its owners/members. That would prevent steps 4 and 5 of your end-game.

    • by iceperson (582205)
      It's a sad day when someone believes that corporations have the right to "prosecute" people and that gets modded as "insightful"...
    • They have the right to protect their IP. However, they have the responsibility to make sure they are targeting the right people. They have kept several cases going after getting evidence that they sued the wrong people.
  • "sues for negligence, fraud, negligent misrepresentation, federal and state RICO, abuse of process, malicious prosecution, intentional infliction of emotional distress, violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, trespass, invasion of privacy, libel and slander, deceptive business practices, misuse of copyright law, and civil conspiracy."

    Every time they sue a student who had someone jack his wireless connection in the dorms - I'll be there.

    Every time they sue a university for students downloading songs t
  • The RIAA better take a look at amnesty [riaaamnesty.com] now, before it costs them too much!
  • "Class Action...RIAA." YES, YES, YES, OH GOD... I will never wash these pants again.
  • 1. And you thought CDs were expensive before...
    2. The only music to be produced will be the kind no one wants to pirate... Think 90's boy bands.
    3. ????
    4. Profit!

    Sorry, that last one just slipped in there.
  • the witch king of angmar is defeated by a woman
  • ...sues for negligence, fraud, negligent misrepresentation, federal and state RICO, abuse of process, malicious prosecution, intentional infliction of emotional distress, violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, trespass, invasion of privacy, libel and slander, deceptive business practices, misuse of copyright law, and civil conspiracy

    OUCH!

  • by Nom du Keyboard (633989) on Friday August 17, 2007 @02:46PM (#20265613)
    The biggest class question as I see it is: How many other people can claim enough similar circumstances to qualify?

    Certainly the same shoddy, and likely illegal, MediaSentry investigative methods were used against all defendants. And the Settlement Support Center refused to dismiss anyone from a lawsuit who didn't pay them the extortion tax regardless of the evidence -- or lack of it. And even innocent defendants had large legal bills if they fought. Plus all had their computers, privacy, and reputations besmirched by the RIAA publicity steamroller regardless of the outcome of the suit -- with no apologies offered afterwards.

    But is this enough in common to qualify as a class? While I hope so, the legal system doesn't operate with the same kinds of logic I employ in ordinary, everyday life.

  • by davidwr (791652) on Friday August 17, 2007 @02:48PM (#20265649) Homepage Journal
    As much as I want to sock-it-to-'em, I think this lady is asking a wee bit too much, and this will do more harm than good in the long run.

    Remember folks, many, if not most, of the *IAAs victims are technically guilty. True, the RIAA and friends are coming down on them unnecessarily hard, but it's not like they are truly innocent. It's the innocent ones that, thankfully, get the nice press.

    The fact that many or most of the defendants are actually guilty will greatly weaken any class-action suit.

    A much better solution is to make judges nationwide aware that just because the RIAA/MPAA say someone is violating the law doesn't make it so. Many judges are already waking up to this fact and stopping the mafIAA from taking the "easy road to victory," ending ex-parte motions and other dirty tricks.

    If the RIAA think my IP address is stealing, then get a court to order my ISP to order me to contact the court and, after hearing from both sides, let the court decide if the RIAA is entitled to my contact information. Allow my lawyers to subpoena records from the ISP before the RIAA gets my personal information. If the judge denies the RIAA's request, or if they eventually lose at trial, make them pay all my reasonable and actual expenses. If the suit was done with malice, with reckless disregard for the facts, or as a fishing expedition, have the court fine the RIAA for wasting everyone's time.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by nuzak (959558)
      > Remember folks, many, if not most, of the *IAAs victims are technically guilty.

      Generously put, I would say maybe half. And guilty of stealing a couple hundred bucks worth of music at most. We'll continue being generous, treble damages, and it still doesn't even come close to the shakedown amount for settling, let along the hundreds of thousands they're suing for, based on numbers they patently made up for the sole purpose of creating as much fear and damage as possible.

      I have no sympathy for thieves,
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jparker (105202)
      IANAL, but I don't think the guilt or innocence of the plaintiffs should have any real bearing on the case. The claims in the suit center around the way that the RIAA has gone about suing people: assuming that IPs can be uniquely identifying, faling to do real computer forensic work, etc. Whether they've got the right people or not, it's the method they used that is at issue.

      This seems just like the police conducting an illegal search. Even if they find conclusive evidence of guilt, the police still violate
  • by bradcb212 (1141199) on Friday August 17, 2007 @02:51PM (#20265701)
    In my opinion, the great threat of the RIAA and the age of digital music is not just downloaders, but also their legal, pay-per-track alternatives...

    Why have the record companies fought Apple for higher prices? Why have some companies refuted the potential profits of a deal with iTunes?

    It is the a la carte concept of iTunes, allofmp3, kazaa, napster, etc... you name it that's the real issue at hand here...

    I think the big motivating factor for downloading music is NOT based on an unwillingness to pay a small fee for the songs you want, it's based on an unwillingness to pay $20 for at most 3 songs that you want...

    Since the glory days of the music industry, they've primarily sold albums as it was the most convenient and economical form of distribution. This method suited the consumer well as he didn't have to rush out to the store everytime a new song came out, it suited the musician well as it allowed to him to make a good hour or so of music, then go on tour and wow the crowds, and it suited the industry well because even if only 1 or 2 of the songs on the album became hits, people would still shell out the full price of the album for those songs they wanted.

    Fast track to the present, and the internet has tipped the economic balance in favor of the consumer. Although the album system is still convenient in the ways listed above and many not-listed...(for instance "branding"), consumers appear no-longer willing to buy full albums for the most part.

    So, I find it funny that /. has reported on many occasions about the "falling profit gaps of the recording industry," and how "legal downloads are not filling this gap," as if there was ever any chance of this happening.. This is a question of economics, not piracy...

    People are not rushing out to the cd store anymore. Hell, I haven't stepped foot in one in over a year. People are downloading the SONGS they want, and that's it...or they're waiting for their friends to get it and send it to them. In my opinion though, these people are not thieves, just opportunists, responding to a large imbalance in price between the traditional cd, and the legal or not-so legal per-track alternatives.

    Why else has it taken so long for legal download services such as iTunes to come about. How many years after Napster's destruction did it take? Why didn't the RIAA look at the story of napster (after they sued the piss out of it) and build their own legal alternative? Because they know what it means...it means they can no-longer fleece the consumer with the album like they've been doing for a loooong time.

    So, although the album will likely remain a convenient unit for musicians and for "branding" purposes, I see the concept of consumers purchasing full albums a fast-fading one.

    The album....is dead
  • by Mr.Fork (633378) <edward,j,reddy&gmail,com> on Friday August 17, 2007 @03:30PM (#20266367) Journal
    Now she's turned that lawsuit into a class action. The amended complaint seeking class action status (PDF) sues for negligence, fraud, negligent misrepresentation, federal and state RICO, abuse of process, malicious prosecution, intentional infliction of emotional distress, violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, trespass, invasion of privacy, libel and slander, deceptive business practices, misuse of copyright law, and civil conspiracy.

    What is interesting that each and every individual amendment will need to be addressed to be thrown out. The legal proceedings will not be able to 'carte-blanche' throw out the case on a single motion, it needs to address 'malicious prosecution' and 'trespass' and every other complaint, similar to someone convicted of multiple felons. It's quite an all-encompassing CAS - RIAA will have a very very hard time trying to survive it because I'm sure she's not willing to settle out of court. She's pretty PO'ed and will want the whole gambit in court. But I'm making that assumption...
  • by Cycline3 (678496) on Friday August 17, 2007 @03:33PM (#20266425) Homepage
    I do not believe in stealing music at all. However, it's clear beyond any doubt that the record companies have failed consumers and hurt the marketplace. They've clearly broken numerous laws. They need regulated and reeled in - and a substantial legal judgment against them would help everyone involved: us, the musicians and the companies. Until they realize the crack-like selling days are over and cds have to cost $5 - then it won't work. I don't want 3 million dollar videos, I want a $5 cd by a real artist that's recorded well. Hollywood delivers the goods on movies, why can't the music industry get their shizz together?
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by AeroIllini (726211)

      Hollywood delivers the goods on movies...
      Oh, man, I hope that's some super clever satire I missed.
  • IANAL, but if RIAA's practices are found to be illegal, can the artists sue to regain their rights?

    If I have some intellectual property, sell the copyrights to someone else, and that person then uses those rights to break the law, do I have any way of rectifying that? Or, at the very least, can I sue for damages against the copyright holder?
  • by Odinson (4523) on Friday August 17, 2007 @04:48PM (#20267581) Homepage Journal
    For some reason the song "The Final Countdown" popped into my head. The worst part is, now I have to go buy a whole album so I can get it out.
  • Go for the jugular (Score:3, Insightful)

    by kimvette (919543) on Friday August 17, 2007 @05:30PM (#20268127) Homepage Journal
    Want to really hit RIAA members hard?

    Stop buying their crap. They will either adjust to the market AND acknowledge and provide for Fair Use and also embrace viral marketing, or they will die. It really is that simple. What I _do_ buy, I buy used now, and there are really only a few acts I buy any more. Spend your money elsewhere.

    I went from buying a CD or two every other day during the height of Napster to buying _maybe_ one every other year. In the last six years, I've bought maybe two brand-new CDs: David Gilmour's On An Island, and Pink Floyd's Is There Anyone Out There (the wall live album). Oh wait, there was another one: a Tijuana Brass album. I do want to buy Weird Al's latest album, and I want to buy Roger Waters' Ca Ira, but I'll wait until I can find a pristine pre-owned(used) copy. There is lots of other stuff I'd love to buy, but I'm pretty much standing on my principles and giving the RIAA the finger.

    Now, instead of listening to hard rock and pop stations, I'm listening to talk (NPR, christian radio, or other talk stations) and sometimes oldies, classical, or classic rock stations (I have almost all the classic rock I want on CDs, and I've ripped most of them to SD cards so I can bring my collection with me when I travel). I avoid exposure to new material the best I can, lest I be tempted to buy it, or be tempted to download it and contribute to viral marketing. Sorry, I'm just not interested in promoting the continued existence of the music cartel as it exists today.

It is surely a great calamity for a human being to have no obsessions. - Robert Bly

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