Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
The Courts Government Media Music News Your Rights Online

Judge Orders RIAA to Show Cause in DC Case 104

Posted by Zonk
from the and-all-the-other-little-cases-as-well dept.
NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "The RIAA's 'bumpy ride' in its 'ex parte' litigation campaign against college students just got a whole lot bumpier. After reading the motion to quash filed by a George Washington University student, the Judge took it upon herself to issue an order to show cause. The order now requires the plaintiffs to show cause, no later than November 29th, why the ex parte order she'd signed at the RIAA's request should not be vacated. She's also requested information showing why her ruling should not be applicable not only to John Doe #3, but to all the other John Does as well. p2pnet called this a 'potentially huge setback' for the recording companies."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Judge Orders RIAA to Show Cause in DC Case

Comments Filter:
  • Sure, it's got a lot of potential. But until the RIAA responds, we're not going to know how much. It could even end up helping the RIAA.
    • by NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) * <ray@@@beckermanlegal...com> on Saturday November 17, 2007 @01:58AM (#21387665) Homepage Journal
      It can't help the RIAA. Either it will hurt them, or things will be as they are now. But there's no scenario under which the RIAA comes out of it better because of the Judge's signing the order to show cause. The RIAA will now probably spend $10k or more "showing cause". Meanwhile, it's evidence is defective, and its legal arguments are nonexistent.... so it's unlikely that the Judge will find it has established "cause". Most likely this ex parte order, which never should have been signed in the first place, is going bye bye.
      • by Rimbo (139781)
        Ray --

        Will this set a precedent that will affect any other districts or cases?
      • by jellie (949898)
        Mr. Beckerman: Could you also accompany the summary with a short comment about the significance of the legal actions? For example, I learned (from your response to another question) that it is highly unusual for a judge to issue the order to show cause herself. I'm also interested in the sibling post's question about precedence: if the case is dismissed, could it then be used throughout the federal circuit, or is it limited to DC, for example?

        We really appreciate everything that you do. I just think adding
        • by gd2shoe (747932)
          It certainly could be used. I'm given to understand that judges will take into acount foreign cases, to a lesser extent. Importance in precidence is a function of proximity (politically speaking) and authoritativeness of the court. IANAL
        • by NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) * <ray@@@beckermanlegal...com> on Saturday November 17, 2007 @10:23AM (#21389529) Homepage Journal

          Mr. Beckerman: Could you also accompany the summary with a short comment about the significance of the legal actions? For example, I learned (from your response to another question) that it is highly unusual for a judge to issue the order to show cause herself. I'm also interested in the sibling post's question about precedence: if the case is dismissed, could it then be used throughout the federal circuit, or is it limited to DC, for example? We really appreciate everything that you do. I just think adding the information will help this (lay) audience understand its significance better.
          1. John Doe #3 made a motion. The usual procedure would be for the Court to wait for the RIAA's opposition papers. Instead the Court made some findings indicating an awareness that the RIAA may not have been forthcoming in its original papers, and set an accelerated schedule, and raised the point that if the subpoena was wrongly issued, it was wrongly issued as to ALL defendants, not just Doe #3. It's just unusual for a Judge to take on that burden.

          2. If the Judge grants the Does' motion, and does so with sound reasoning, the decision will reverberate throughout the country, and may lead to the end of the RIAA's John Doe litigations, which is where it all starts [blogspot.com].
          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by LrdDimwit (1133419)
            To add a bit more: A "show cause" order means the judge wants to take some action you won't like, and is giving you one last chance to protect yourself from it (this is, after all, only fair). They are basically the judge saying 'This is your last chance to explain why I should not take [action] against you. It had better be good.' After Jack Thompson filed the 'grey prawn' in the case he's currently embroiled in, the judge in that issued a "Show Cause" order demanding to know why Jack should not be ref
      • by gd2shoe (747932)

        But there's no scenario under which the RIAA comes out of it better because of the Judge's signing the order to show cause.

        IANAL, and I don't know the details surounding this order. I can, however imagine this being a good thing on appeal (which is what I think the judge is thinking of). This wouldn't be a huge advantage for the RIAA, just one thing that could otherwise come back around to bite them later.

        Again, this is my own ignorant opinion. Feel free to refute it.

    • by nurb432 (527695)
      That is my thought too, just hope this doesn't happen to be the one of 100000 where they DO have actual evidence.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    IANAL but OSC hearings happen all the time, it's absolutely routine, it was almost inevitable given the filings. The ride is neither bumpier or smoother.
  • by bogaboga (793279) on Saturday November 17, 2007 @01:48AM (#21387613)

    The order now requires the plaintiffs to show cause, no later than November 29th, why the ex parte order she'd signed at the RIAA's request should not be vacated.

    I have trouble understanding legal lingua. I therefore ask somebody to explain the above quote. That is to say: What is it to "show cause?" Thanks.

    • by NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) * <ray@@@beckermanlegal...com> on Saturday November 17, 2007 @01:53AM (#21387639) Homepage Journal
      The judge is ordering them to give her whatever reasons they have as to why she shouldn't vacate the order.
      • by mdmkolbe (944892)
        Is setting the deadline for when a rebuttal needs to be submitted unusual, or is this just the ordinary operation of the system by the judge setting a time line?
        • by NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) * <ray@@@beckermanlegal...com> on Saturday November 17, 2007 @02:12AM (#21387715) Homepage Journal
          It's normal to set a deadline.

          What's highly unusual is the judge issuing an order to show cause on her own.
          • Could it be that the RIAA's reputation has preceeded it into this courtroom?
            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by Kierthos (225954)
              Possibly. Or the judge could not be fond of ex parte discovery.

              See, that, to me, is a sham (ex parte discovery). The RIAA doesn't know who specifically is infringing on their IP. Hence the John Doe lawsuits and the motions for ex parte discovery. But then the students who are the targets of these lawsuits don't know what may be used against them in court and help prepare their own defense because if they show up to the discovery proceedings, it actually strengthens the RIAA's case because now the RIAA knows
    • by The Master Control P (655590) <ejkeever@nerdsha c k .com> on Saturday November 17, 2007 @01:55AM (#21387647)
      Though I'm sure Mr. Beckerman will arrive with the correct interpertation shortly, I think show cause just means show why. "They asked me to throw this out. Why shouldn't I?"
    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 17, 2007 @01:56AM (#21387659)
      Ex parte just means without the other team appearing, but the other team just showed up in this case. Show Cause means show cause for their complaint, i.e. justify why the judge should rule one way or the other, it's basically just a hearing date where each side shows up and presents their arguments, but there will be paper sumbissions before then, any evidence and arguments or declarations in writing has to be served on the other parties in advance of the hearing. OSC is your day in court.
    • by therealgrumpydog (1141193) on Saturday November 17, 2007 @02:46AM (#21387825)
      "Show Cause" technically means, to prove oneself right" or as to "justify one's actions within the best interests of all concerned." Either way the RIAA can kiss my arse. I get promotional music and play it. This is the way I see things, if you want free Airplay, one needs radio stations and DJ's. No Radio Stations, no DJ, no plug for your new tune! If you like it then buy it. The RIAA is supposed to protect Artists, or are they really just another money making scheme, purporting they are protecting you, as the artist, so you get your Royalties? I think not! Record companies and they're PR dept knows who they have sent out promotional music to and therefore should be immune from Royalty charges. The same applies to PPR. In all honesty, the RIAA is more of a hinderance to the Music Industry, rather than supports it. Whether some people use p2p in order to get the latest tune is another matter. People will use p2p to try and get the latest music as we are a consumer driven society.
      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        This is the way I see things, if you want free Airplay, one needs radio stations and DJ's. No Radio Stations, no DJ, no plug for your new tune!

        That is an extraordinarily naive view of the situation.

        The members of the "popular" culture are increasingly receiving their media via the internet. All the manufacturers of traditional popular entertainment media need to do in order to continue to hawk their crap is to get a significant mindshare on the 'net. Since we sell advertising here just like we do everywhere else, they can do that the same way they do it now - by spending money.

        But even if you discount that argument, consider this: you really d

        • Well let's put things into perspective here, Do you want robot DJ's, robot airplay and television? It is happening more and more in todays times. You Must be a psycho if you want to have robots dictate your life. Not with me I am afraid. If that is the life you want to live then fine. The more real live people the better. More robots then you might as well be a psychiatrist! Enough said!
          • Well, I, for one, welcome our robot overlords.
            • Sine, Cosine, off on a Tangent! If you have something better to say Pythagoras, it might help :P Otherwise you should go back to college and recalculate your Calculus or research Schrodinger's Equation to make some sort of sense lol. Have fun. Hope you have a good laugh about that :)
          • by drinkypoo (153816)
            It's not what I want, my point is that it's what you get, radio has been increasingly automated and it is only heading more in that direction today. My underlying point actually (the other one ha ha) is that you could switch most commercial radio over to complete computer control and you couldn't tell the difference.
      • by iminplaya (723125)
        This is the way I see things, if you want free Airplay, one needs radio stations and DJ's.

        They don't get free airplay at all. All that time is bought and paid for through payola and other schemes that are mostly off the books to evade taxes, and of course to avoid paying out royalties. This is why they hate the internet and are trying so hard to protect the gatekeepers. This is a criminal organization whose only purpose is to skim off a piece of the action. They do little more than hijack the trucks. And no
      • by Anonymous Coward

        The RIAA is supposed to protect Artists, or are they really just another money making scheme, purporting they are protecting you, as the artist, so you get your Royalties?

        No, they represent the Recording Industry. The artist thinks up music, then signs a contract giving the recording copyright over to the recording company. The company makes money off the recording, and gives a few pennies to the artist in royalties. So they protect their own copyright and interests, not those of the artist.

        In all honest

      • by trekkwik (1189013)
        A "consumer driven society" does not prosper on theft. Taking music without paying the producer is the same as shop lifting so why do so called music fans still insist that they care about the artists while they take from their pockets? Sorry for flaming - this debate doesn't seem to evolve...
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Usually a judge decides something after hearing arguments from both sides. In rare cases, a judge will decide something without giving one of the parties a chance to make their arguments. That's what's called an "ex parte" order.

      The catch is, if you're asking a judge to do something without giving the other side a chance to be heard, you have to be EXTRA SPECIAL fair in the way you present the arguments and evidence.

      This judge granted an order trusting the RIAA had not misled her on the facts. But now, afte
      • Good explanation, AC. Why don't you stop being "Anonymous" so I can get to read your stuff more often?
    • by abb3w (696381)

      What is it to "show cause?"

      As I(AmNotALawyer) understand it, "put up or shut up".

  • by compumike (454538) on Saturday November 17, 2007 @02:26AM (#21387761) Homepage
    So, I understand that the legal process that the RIAA is trying to use is questionable at best, with ex-parte discovery and merging of multiple unrelated acts of infringement. But I fear that too many people are reading into your fight against the RIAA that the music industry should not be entitled to protect their intellectual property rights.

    Maybe it's easier to take an example outside of the music industry. For example, say that I write a creative text, and publish it online as a PDF file that I sell, and that I do not grant the right to redistribute my work. If I later discover that someone who legally obtained my work is now hosting it online for others to obtain, and even have evidence that an actual unauthorized redistribution has taken place (i.e. someone linking to it with a comment suggesting they've downloaded it), do I not have a right to protect my intellectual property? Even if all I have is a time and IP address, shouldn't I be able to seek appropriate civil action against the infringing party?

    There are lots of cases of genuine copyright infringement occurring, and while I understand and support your campaign to make sure the RIAA plays by the rules and isn't overly broad in their accusations, I also don't think it's right to let infringers go unpunished. I think too many people see the endgame as one where the RIAA "folds" and can't protect its interests, and where IP holders have no recourse against digital infringement. But when I read into your work, I think the endgame is really one where the RIAA just has to work a bit harder to present its case in the right way, and infringers are punished.

    --
    Educational microcontroller kits for the digital generation. [nerdkits.com]
    • by ScrewMaster (602015) on Saturday November 17, 2007 @02:48AM (#21387833)
      Even if all I have is a time and IP address, shouldn't I be able to seek appropriate civil action against the infringing party?

      No. Now, if you had me on camera downloading music and heard me listening to said tracks ... that might be different. But if you're going to be throwing a lawsuit at someone that will cost both sides tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars, you'd goddamn well better be required to have more than a server log. Otherwise what you're doing is not redress of grievance but ... well, I'm sure there are a hundred legal and non-legal terms for what the RIAA is doing but justice isn't one of them.
      • I think the answer should be yes, you should be able to seek appropriate civil action. I'm not saying you should win a civil case with just a time and IP address, but it should be enough to go to a court and have them ask the ISP, school, etc. if they know who had that IP address at that time. The amount of evidence required to start a case is quite a bit lower than the amount required to win a case.
        • by macemoneta (154740) on Saturday November 17, 2007 @10:37AM (#21389621) Homepage
          This is actually the basis of the flaw in the RIAA's reasoning. An IP address does not relate to an individual. Even if there is only one person normally associated with an IP address, that IP address, for that particular (illegal) action may not relate to the individual.

          If you are assuming that someone is committing a crime, you have to also consider that they may be falsely laying the blame on someone else. Cracking the password on their router, spoofing packets, botting their machine, hacking their wireless, or even physically splicing a wire. After all, people have been physically splicing into other networks for decades (cable and telephone). Why assume that the relationship is a pristine one-to-one for IP addresses?

          If you are going to burden someone with thousands of dollars in legal fees, you should have to have more than an IP address. Most people will simply fold under the weight of a lawsuit; that doesn't imply guilt, just poverty in the face of huge legal fees.
          • This is actually the basis of the flaw in the RIAA's reasoning. An IP address does not relate to an individual. Even if there is only one person normally associated with an IP address, that IP address, for that particular (illegal) action may not relate to the individual. If you are assuming that someone is committing a crime, you have to also consider that they may be falsely laying the blame on someone else. Cracking the password on their router, spoofing packets, botting their machine, hacking their wireless, or even physically splicing a wire. After all, people have been physically splicing into other networks for decades (cable and telephone). Why assume that the relationship is a pristine one-to-one for IP addresses? If you are going to burden someone with thousands of dollars in legal fees, you should have to have more than an IP address. Most people will simply fold under the weight of a lawsuit; that doesn't imply guilt, just poverty in the face of huge legal fees.
            Bingo. Plus the fact that the RIAA knows [blogspot.com] that the identifications of the IP address are often themselves wrong.
    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by peterd11 (800684) *
      In the motion to quash, the defendant's lawyer makes the point that while the court may be sympathetic to the RIAA's attempt to prevent copyright infringement, "playing by the rules" is what the court must enforce. If the rules, i.e. the DMCA, are flawed, that's not something the court can correct. Congress has to update the DMCA, taking into account the competing interests at stake.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by ScrewMaster (602015)
        Congress has to update the DMCA, taking into account the competing interests at stake.

        "Update", in this context, being synonymous with "repeal", I'd say. I suppose that as a software developer with (ahem) "intellectual property" to protect I should be more sympathetic to the DMCA and those who invoke it but ... I'm not. I've read as much of it as I can understand, and I can't say I like it. That's because I think that, while it's good for some people, it's bad for society as a whole. Congress was unusual
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Kierthos (225954)
          See, that's a good point. If the RIAA came down with the jackboots and the truncheons on some operation that was cranking out hundreds or thousands of pirated CDs and wanted to impose the same scale of penalties on them as they are trying to burden these college students with, I don't think anyone on Slashdot would even defend those pirates.

          But trying to sue a college student into the poorhouse because they shared some tracks off of a Beyonce CD using the same scale of penalties is ridiculous. And the RIAA
          • And the RIAA should know this. But they don't seem to care.

            They do, and that's why I tell people like the original poster in this thread that nobody at that organization is about defending their copyrights from pirates ^H^H^H^H^H^Hpeer to peer users. So far as I know, the RIAA doesn't even own any copyright: the studios hold those. The RIAA is all about the projection of power, the projection of fear, and those large statutory damages fall right in line with the deterrent effect they're trying for. Doesn
            • So far as I know, the RIAA doesn't even own any copyright: the studios hold those

              The case is Arista vs Does, not RIAA vs Does. In addition to generally being involved in the cases, RIAA is used by many P2P piracy advocates as a somewhat sloppy shorthand for "the recording industry", but this is ultimately a studio not the RIAA that's doing the suing.

              You know, I do find it impressive that the "big, giant, scary group of corporations" is the one that's having difficulty communicating its message and th

        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          as I understand copyright law (as much as a non-lawyer can, I suppose) the penalties for copyright infringement were centered around large-scale pirate operations (those who illegally mass-copy protected works for sale) and that when applied to individual infringement don't really don't fit the crime.

          I am also not a lawyer, but you should consider the way the feds do things before you make decisions like this. The federal government is engaged in an operation to fleece the citizenry of their money. You can see this exemplified in copyright law, drug law, the so-called war on terror, et cetera. Each of these undertakings is designed to be as expensive as possible.

          The simple truth is that people with money have a lot to lose if copyright law is redesigned to serve the people. As we have seen, people ca

          • It is their crap and they can license it any way they want, but I stopped buying any big media music decades ago, once I realized what a bed of snakes those companies are. I guess in that sense I've been even more of a zealot than you have: the last disc I bought was in 1981 or thereabouts. Oh sure, I do buy used discs (and I don't want to get into another discussion about how I'm still indirectly supporting the media companies, etc. etc.) but none of my hard-earned cash goes directly into their pockets. Fo
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by pembo13 (770295)
      Since when did the RIAA actually makes music?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by hedwards (940851)

      So, I understand that the legal process that the RIAA is trying to use is questionable at best, with ex-parte discovery and merging of multiple unrelated acts of infringement. But I fear that too many people are reading into your fight against the RIAA that the music industry should not be entitled to protect their intellectual property rights.

      I think you're largely correct here, the problem is that it isn't just a matter of protecting property whether real or virtual. It's a matter of filing questionable cases and asking to receive far more than the infringement may have cost because it sends a message.

      I do think that the RIAA folding and giving up on protecting its copyrights would be a positive move for everybody. And I do include the labels in that as well. Where things got screwed up was when they expected to sell crap albums to people, bec

      • with less than $1000 for a decent recording

        Just wanted to respond to this, I agree with most of your post but you're off on this figure by about two orders of magnitude. Professional recording on the level done for a major label release along with professional mixing and mastering is easily $50k-100k if you want a top tier sound.

        For smaller label or independent releases it can be done for much less of course, primarily because engineers and producers are paid less and production processes are more str

        • by nystire (871449)
          It doesn't appear to change his numbers too much either way. No matter which figure is correct, there is still an immense profit.
        • by hedwards (940851)
          The main reason why I'm annoyed at it is that the status quo is to overproduce, over compress try and make up for poor quality talent by making adjustments with technology, and it raises the cost and lowers the sound quality. I'm sure that it probably does cost them more to make the recording, but I think the real question is how well is that justified? Do they really get sufficient improvement from the investment, or do they just destroy whatever artistry there was previously.

          No amount of audio engineering
        • by poetmatt (793785)
          Hi Raven,

          as an individual who has worked with multiple independant music labels I can tell you that 10 grand gets you closer than necessary to the "super fidelity sound". Just need to use the money smart. People just want the expensive things to make crappy artists sound good...so yes, you are correct in some ways, but I find it hard to agree with your amounts on the recording.

          I see neumann u87's for 3 grand. How many of those suckers you think you need? 30? You don't need much more than that and a well se
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by S point 2 (1190255)

      Maybe it's easier to take an example outside of the music industry. For example, say that I write a creative text, and publish it online as a PDF file that I sell, and that I do not grant the right to redistribute my work. If I later discover that someone who legally obtained my work is now hosting it online for others to obtain, and even have evidence that an actual unauthorized redistribution has taken place (i.e. someone linking to it with a comment suggesting they've downloaded it), do I not have a right to protect my intellectual property? Even if all I have is a time and IP address, shouldn't I be able to seek appropriate civil action against the infringing party?

      No. Legally yes, you have the right to. But morally? Ethically? No, I would say probably not. The problem is you don't have any control over it once it is published in a reproduce-able format. And especially after it goes online. Practically speaking, suing one person does nothing to prevent another form doing the same or downloading it. So it doesn't protect your intellectual property. I even have a problem with the idea that it is yours to begin with: a copyright is all well and good, but I have a probl

      • by compumike (454538)

        The problem is you don't have any control over it once it is published in a reproduce-able format. And especially after it goes online.
        Practically speaking, suing one person does nothing to prevent another form doing the same or downloading it.
        So it doesn't protect your intellectual property.
        I even have a problem with the idea that it is yours to begin with: a copyright is all well and good, but I have a problem with the idea that you own something that I have already bought.
        I'm not leasing the pdf, I own it.
        It's mine, and I'll do what I want with it. Copyright isn't going to change it.
        It's a piece of paper somewhere that I may or may not agree with. And in any case there's nothing you can do about it except try to sue me, which won't prevent anyone else from doing the same, and is certainly not going to encourage me to cooperate with you.
        Besides, I own the pdf. I have direct control over the file and can do whatever I like to it. Copy it, Modify it, send it to Tajikistan, whatever.
        Litigation doesn't prevent it and then,after the fact, doesn't even discourage it.

        You don't have the same right with non-digital formats... You can't legally take a copyrighted VHS videotape (analog) and make lots of copies of it and give them away. You can't legally take a copyrighted paper book and photocopy it and give the copies to ten people. In each case, you'd be violating the author's rights to control distribution. Of course, there are some things you're allowed to do, like make a copy for personal backup purposes, or to sell your copy. But the physical instance is just th

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by S point 2 (1190255)

          I hate DRM, but I've never heard a good argument for why we should just throw all of intellectual property rights out the window.

          Because they don't work. It is an illusion of control. An illusion. I do not think that intellectual property rights should be thrown out, But in certain areas, with certain things, they should be changed. Utility patents expire after 10 years. That's a patent, for some great invention or piece of engineering or whatever. But copyrights for sound recordings last 50 years from the date of recording. For films it's even more absurd: 70 years from the date of the last major player(director, producer,screenpla

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          The digital era has thrown a wrench into the the system for 2 reasons. 1. The cost to make reproductions has gone to zero. I can copy a file as many times as I like, it doesn't cost me anything. If I want to make 10 copies of a VHS tape, I have to actually buy 10 tapes. 2. Tracking bootleggers has become close to impossible. If you buy 10,000 VHS tapes, produce 10,000 copies and sell them in Time Square for a buck each, you leave a paper trail. I can (well not me personally, I have no skills) figure o
        • by Todd Knarr (15451)

          Well, part of it is the approach. With a book the author's rights to control what you do with it are limited to copying and distributing to others. You can make copies of pages, or favorite passages, to tack up on your wall. That's not infringement. You can show your book to others. You can loan your book to others. You can sell your book to a used-book store. None of those are infringement, and the author's got no right to tell you you can't. But with digital formats, the authors (or in this case the RIAA)

      • She was a rich girl -- she don't try to hide it;

        Diamonds on the soles of her shoes.

        He was a poor boy, empty as a pocket.

        Empty as a pocket, with nothing to lose

        Sing tananaaa... tananana.

        Downloads were the source of her blues.

        Downloads were the source of her blues.

      • If I understand correctly, your argument is that because you (a) paid money, (b) are physically capable, and (c) are not dismayed by penalties imposed on other people, you have a moral and ethical right to proceed as you will. But this is clearly broken reasoning: all the same elements appear in taking out a contract to have someone killed, and I sincerely hope that you do not believe this gives you a moral and ethical basis to kill someone.

        'Rights', it is true, are not inherent things; they are ideas deve

        • If I understand correctly, your argument is that because you (a) paid money, (b) are physically capable, and (c) are not dismayed by penalties imposed on other people, you have a moral and ethical right to proceed as you will. But this is clearly broken reasoning: all the same elements appear in taking out a contract to have someone killed, and I sincerely hope that you do not believe this gives you a moral and ethical basis to kill someone.

          You do not understand correctly. A correct understanding would be that because I paid money, and a sale took place, it is my property, not theirs. Metalica could not legally come in to my house and demand that I give them my Cd (if I owned a Metalica CD). Also Under current copyright law, the law is clear: to "distribute"(in a legal sense[required in cases like this to allege copyright infringement]) one has to do so for commercial gain. P2P networks are free. It is not a violation of copyright law to use

      • by Zarim (1167823)
        You're making it sound as if people who spend years writing books or music shouldn't expect to be paid for their work. While the RIAA's excessive response to piracy is more of a desperate move to make a defunct business model work, let's not forget that piracy is still a bad thing and, at least in theory, hurts the artists and their craft.
    • by hhawk (26580)
      According to the motion filed by Doe #3, in your example, their has not been a violation of copyright law. In part, the major test is the person who is "handing out the copies" has to be doing so for commerical gain. Perhaps with your example, you could claim the web site making a gain, but in the case of the p2p system, it's clear that the users are not gaining $$ from the copies. Also the motion claimed it's not illegal to offer to sell someone's work, it only becomes illegal when the transaction happens.
    • I think that if you take the time to read the motion itself, you will see that Jon Doe #3 actually contests whether any copyright infringement can be considered to have happened, citing specific court judgements to eliminate the 'making available' argument, and asserting that the 'making available' argument is the only possible substantive claim of the plaintifs.

      Now if Congress so wishes, it may introduce new law whereby 'making available' (via P2P or other means) becomes copyright infringement (despite the

    • It is you who have lost sight of the big picture. The big picture is that we are a nation of laws. The reason I went into the legal profession is because I believe in the rule of law. Bringing frivolous cases based on misstatements of existing law and bogus evidence is contrary to the law.

      Secondly, even before I went into the legal profession, I was raised to believe in fairness and decency and courtesy and humaneness.

      I have never once suggested to anyone that the laws regarding protection of intellectual property rights should not be followed. I have been working in the copyright field for 34 years, and I have never once said anything like the bogus points you are trying to attribute to me.

      Yes the RIAA has to work a "little bit harder".... small details like

      (A) identifying the right people, who

      (B) actually did infringe their copyrights, and then

      (C) handling the matter in a lawyerlike manner instead of an extortionate gangsterlike manner.
    • The problem is the settlements they want is the financual equivilant to Keelhauling, a severe form of punishment abolished years ago.

      Most people given the choice between keelhauling and a 222,000 settlement would take the keelhauling. The injuries are likely to heal in a few weeks time unlike an RIAA settlement.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keelhauling [wikipedia.org]
  • Does anyone have any information on the Judge's email address so we can show our support for the person who finally stood up to those bastards?
    • Does anyone have any information on the Judge's email address so we can show our support for the person who finally stood up to those bastards?

      Yeah, that's all this poor lady needs is millions of e-mails from /.ers. I wouldn't be surprised if it did more damage than good. heh.

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        Yeah, that's all this poor lady needs is millions of e-mails from /.ers. I wouldn't be surprised if it did more damage than good. heh.

        I guarantee you that it would.

        Everyone who is qualified to make an intelligent comment to her probably already knows who she is and how to reach her. Hint: Most of them aren't [primarily*] slashdotters.

        --

        * that is, in terms of webforum usage

    • by Ptraci (584179) *
      That could backfire. Please don't spam the judge.
  • AFAIK, one point of the lawsuits against consumers is to try to generate fear with the general public. Now that the legal system is catching on to the shady RIAA tactics, it seems that what little momentum the RIAA was hoping for to alter the mindset of the general public, won't happen.
    • AFAIK, one point of the lawsuits against consumers is to try to generate fear with the general public. Now that the legal system is catching on to the shady RIAA tactics, it seems that what little momentum the RIAA was hoping for to alter the mindset of the general public, won't happen.
      I agree with everything you said, except that I don't know what "AFAIK" means. (My guess: "As far as I know"....?)
  • Commerical Copies (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hhawk (26580) on Saturday November 17, 2007 @03:45AM (#21388033) Homepage Journal
    I read through both the judges order and the motion filed by Doe #3; it's good reading.

    The two most strong points for me are:

    a) they can't lump all the Does together; that wouldn't hinder the RIAA much but still having to file 25 or 100 or 1000 or 50000 cases, each one with filing fees, would have some effect but as Doe #3 claims, it would also serve and advance the interest of justice for each of the Does to be treated on a case by case basis, with their own juries, lawyers, etc. [A Doe who actually illegally sold copies of music wouldn't get lumped in with someone who had their ID stolen or their IP address spoofed].

    b) that for someone to violate the copyright law, one of the major tests is you have to do it for a) commerical gain and b) merely offering to sell a copy isn't a violation (you have to actually sell it). It's clear that the P2P system is anything but a commerical sales system; everyone admits the copies are free; it's also fairly clear, to anyone who wants to really research the matter, the only party that gets commerical gain out of the P2P sharing of media is the copyright holders.

    PS.

    Many decades of radio station play of records as well as song "play" on MTV, VH1, etc. has shown that when people are exposed to new sounds/songs, etc. they buy them; this was the novelity of MTV, kids started buying songs that didn't get played on the local radio.

    So even if there wasn't any evidence that P2P directly boosts sales of songs, CDs, etc, 50+ years of radio play has proven that point; listening to a song boosts its sales.

    It has proven it to the point that many members of the RIAA have illegally (in the past and in the present) used a system called Payola, which pays radio stations to play songs by a particular artist repeatedly more than other artists for commerical gain; they do this because they believe the more their songs are played the more $$ they will make.

    Copyright holders spend 100's of thousands to mulitple millions of dollars to produce "music videos", engage in Payola, advertise to DJs and radio station programmers, etc. all for the purpose of allowing the music to be played on the air or on TV/Cable all in the hope that people will buy the music. Clearly they could save those $$, let P2P do it's work, and accrue the savings in production, Payola, etc. to any lost of royalities.

    In fairness not deserved by the RIAA, their is a difference between listening to a song on the radio and making a copy of it via P2P but in fairness to the public, owning a physical copy of a song is not the same as having a 3rd rate digital copy, that may or may not be 100% as the artist intended.
    • Agreed.
    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      "b) that for someone to violate the copyright law, one of the major tests is you have to do it for a) commerical gain"

      Where did you get that silly idea? Comercial gain has nothing to do with copyright. Copyright allows the owner to control distribution of the work, whether for fee or for free.
      • by hhawk (26580)
        I am quoting from the motions files by the judge and Doe #3; in this case a claim by Doe #3.

        Doe #3 quotes a fair amount of case law so while their maybe other issues at stake, and other law(s) that apply, commercial gain is one of the major tests (as per Doe #3's filing).
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      Copyright holders spend 100's of thousands to mulitple millions of dollars to produce "music videos", engage in Payola, advertise to DJs and radio station programmers, etc. all for the purpose of allowing the music to be played on the air or on TV/Cable all in the hope that people will buy the music. Clearly they could save those $$, let P2P do it's work, and accrue the savings in production, Payola, etc. to any lost of royalities.

      Actually, the problem the RIAA members have is that they don't control what gets played this way. RIAA members believe (wrongly) that they can manufacture demand for particular music, no matter what its quality is. They, also, believe (correctly) that if this new distribution/exposure system takes over, they will no longer be able to justify the large share of the profit from music distribution that they take.
      Under the old, established music distribution system (brick and mortar stores, exposure on radio

      • and so artists are starting to realize that the artist should get a larger share of the profit

        Artists are starting to realize they can have all the profits, that the studios just really aren't all that relevant anymore. For that matter, they're starting to realize the sale of their music can actually have profits, if they just don't contract out to a major studio. Radiohead's recent efforts in this regard have certainly pointed the way to self-publishing on the Web as a way to make serious money.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          and so artists are starting to realize that the artist should get a larger share of the profit

          Artists are starting to realize they can have all the profits, that the studios just really aren't all that relevant anymore. For that matter, they're starting to realize the sale of their music can actually have profits, if they just don't contract out to a major studio. Radiohead's recent efforts in this regard have certainly pointed the way to self-publishing on the Web as a way to make serious money.

          However, in the long run, most artists will discover that they need to pay a publicist, a promoter, and a record producer (probably a couple of other roles of which I am not thinking at the moment) to maximize their profit. The best of those that do those three jobs will get a cut of the profit, not just a flat rate. Therefore the artist that wants ALL of the profit will not make as much as the one who shares it intelligently.

If A = B and B = C, then A = C, except where void or prohibited by law. -- Roy Santoro

Working...