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RIAA Backs Down On "Unlicensed Investigator" 191

Posted by kdawson
from the fight-fairly-now dept.
NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "Texas grandmother Rhonda Crain got the RIAA to drop its monetary claims against her after she filed counterclaims against the record companies for using an investigator, MediaSentry, which is not licensed to conduct investigations in the State of Texas. The RIAA elected to drop its claims rather than wait for the Judge to decide the validity of Ms. Crain's charges (PDF) that the plaintiff record companies were 'aware that the... private investigations company was unlicensed to conduct investigations in the State of Texas specifically, and in other states as well... and understood that unlicensed and unlawful investigations would take place in order to provide evidence for this lawsuit, as well as thousands of others as part of a mass litigation campaign.' Similar questions about MediaSentry's unlicensed investigations were raised recently by the State Attorney General of Oregon in Arista v. Does 1-17"
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RIAA Backs Down On "Unlicensed Investigator"

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  • by davidwr (791652) on Sunday December 16, 2007 @07:34PM (#21720816) Homepage Journal
    I'd love to see the discovery on that one.
    • Doesn't matter. No one connected with the RIAA mob has any accountability. Ever.
      • by Original Replica (908688) on Sunday December 16, 2007 @07:56PM (#21720964) Journal
        No one connected with the RIAA mob has any accountability.

        Even if RIAA loses money on this, it doesn't matter much. Until some RIAA board members are facing real prison time, they will use whatever tactics the manage to get away with.
        • things are changing, people are waking up to the danger and harm of these parasite cartels
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by jmnormand (941909)

          Even if RIAA loses money on this, it doesn't matter much. Until some RIAA board members are facing real prison time, they will use whatever tactics the manage to get away with.

          It matters if the share holders and parent execs of the media companies actually have enough intelligence to realize they are wasting what will amount to billions on a losing battle rather than spending the money to innovate and become more profitable. Until then all we can do is fight, fortunately we out number them a million or so to one...

      • by Blkdeath (530393)

        Doesn't matter. No one connected with the RIAA mob has any accountability. Ever.

        And why should they? They're going after evil people who steal from the mouths of starving artists! If this keeps up, there will be no more music! Who'd want to produce if there's no money in it for them? After all, everybody knows the draw of the Rock Star lifestyle is what it's all about! And if they can't buy any Cristal Champagne and cocaine what will they do with their time between unpaid gigs?

        Until we can get rid of the general public perception that "piracy == bad" and "recording industry == good

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by brouski (827510)

          Until we can get rid of the general public perception that "piracy == bad" and "recording industry == good" they aren't going to face penalties.

          When is piracy not bad?

          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by jmnormand (941909)
            when its perfectly legal fair use. which by the strict modern definition is still piracy. now if your talking the old school definition, well im not on a boat so...
            • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

              by KDR_11k (778916)
              When is P2P actually fair use?
              • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

                by lazy_playboy (236084)
                "When is P2P actually fair use?"

                When you use P2P to hear a demo of an album then go on to buy the whole back catalogue. It's not fair use in legal terms, but certainly is in moral term.
            • Risking an offtopic mod I will answer the question talking the old school definition: Piracy was seen as good when the pirates restricted themselves to pirating from "the enemy". These privateers [wikipedia.org] were licensed to attack foreign ships and keep the spoils.
          • by ibbey (27873) on Monday December 17, 2007 @12:59AM (#21722696) Homepage
            When is piracy not bad?

            The problem is the loaded term "piracy". Is it bad to download a few songs from an artist that you've heard of but never heard? I've done that several times. In the vast majority of those cases, I would not have bought the artists albums if I had not downloaded their songs first. In some cases, I didn't like what I heard & left it at that. In several other cases I have since bought albums by those artists, and in at least a few cases, I now own every CD available from the artist. So would you call my "piracy" in these cases a bad thing, even though they ended up resulting in more money in the artists pocket?
            • Is it bad to download a few songs from an artist that you've heard of but never heard? I've done that several times.

              I've also done "several" investigations of the spammers — using tools like whois and nslookup. I was not licensed to perform the investigations — in any state.

              According to this grandma's counter-suit and — more importantly — to all the kudos she got from the Slashdot crowd, all of those spammers should have a good case against me...

              I may understand (and even accep

              • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                Is it bad to download a few songs from an artist that you've heard of but never heard? I've done that several times.

                I've also done "several" investigations of the spammers — using tools like whois and nslookup. I was not licensed to perform the investigations — in any state.

                According to this grandma's counter-suit and — more importantly — to all the kudos she got from the Slashdot crowd, all of those spammers should have a good case against me...

                I may understand (and even accept) the desire to keep tabs on gun-wielding private detectives like Dr. Watson or "Maltese Falcon"'s main character, but MediaSentry, no doubt, has never even set foot in Texas, all their "investigations" being limited to the Internet. Twisting the law in this fashion should be troubling... But hey, it is RIAA, so whoever sticks whatever up theirs is our hero...

                What have you done with the information you got from your investigations? Did someone pay you to make those investigations? I don't know the Texas law on private investigators, but I believe the requirement for a license comes in when someone pays you to do the investigation on their behalf.

          • by GreatBunzinni (642500) on Monday December 17, 2007 @07:00AM (#21723788)

            When is piracy not bad?

            Depends of your personal definition of "piracy". The term "piracy" was, right from the start, a new term intended to be as loaded as it could be to refer to the unauthorized commercialization of copyrighted works. In that time, no normal person could possibly consider that guy selling bootleg tapes/books to be a menace to society. After all, the only thing that that guy did was duplicate something and sell it cheaper than others. That couldn't possibly hurt society.

            So, in order to fight that perceived source of lower profits, the companies that were in the business of selling authorized copies of those works decided to shut that down. As they weren't able to gather public support for that battle then they decided to start a public relations campaign against the unauthorized commercialization of copyrighted books (their competition). The first step was coining a negative image to the unauthorized sellers, which originated terms like "bootlegger" and "pirate", evil figures associated with violent, organized crime. It's easier to fight someone/something when they are evil. There was no surprise a while back when some american retarded record company spokesperson started associating "piracy" to terrorism.

            Now those companies intend to include in that definition people who have absolutely nothing to do with the old definition of "piracy". Now the record companies, motivated by greed and the lust for control, want to label anyone who downloads anything remotely copyrighted as a "pirate". There is no commercialization of any copyrighted work. Now, instead of attempting to smear and fight the distributors, they are trying to attack the end consumer.

            Does it make any sense to label as pirates people who bought unauthorized copies of copyrighted works? Obviously not. Yet, the record companies are trying to go the extra nonsense mile and pin that nasty, loaded label on people who access those works without ever exchanging any money.

            So it isn't a question of "when is piracy not bad". As questionable as "piracy", the unauthorized commercialization of a copyrighted work, may be, the real question that must be placed here, and unfortunately you failed to understand, is why is non-"piracy" actions being labelled as "piracy" in the first place? If I download something for personal use after paying absolutely nothing for it then how exactly can you claim that I'm commercializing an unauthorized copy of some copyrighted work? Moreover, why should anyone be called a "pirate" if what that person is doing is perfectly included in their nation's fair use doctrine?

    • by TheMeuge (645043) on Sunday December 16, 2007 @07:42PM (#21720870)
      Someone should set up a fund for her to go after RIAA and MediaSentry over this.

      Heck, I'd Paypal a few bucks over to see how this turns out. I figure another ten thousand people are with me. If we all chip in $20, that'd be enough to get this ball rolling.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jcr (53032)
      I agree.. I don't know if she has to drop her cross-complaint just because the RIAA's bailing.

      -jcr
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward
        I'm wondering the same thing? She filed a counterclaim, if she filed it, is it only contingent on the original claim still being there?

        I mean, it sounds like it's like if you decided to sue someone, and they said "You know what, I'll just drop everything because I don't want the judge to pass a verdict." However, I thought the Defendant couldn't drop the suit, the Plaintiff who brought the suit, is the only one who could drop it???
        • by Tuoqui (1091447)
          IANAL but I think both parties have to be in agreement to drop a suit. The RIAA gets away with dropping so many suits because the defendants simply do not want to continue the fight and just get back to their normal everyday lives so they go 'sure lets drop it'.
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by nomadic (141991)
            IANAL but I think both parties have to be in agreement to drop a suit. The RIAA gets away with dropping so many suits because the defendants simply do not want to continue the fight and just get back to their normal everyday lives so they go 'sure lets drop it'.

            Generally a party can dismiss its own case. If the opposing party has filed counterclaims, however, the case still proceeds on those.
      • In item 4 of the settlement may make it impossible for her to persue Media Sentry.

        Any challange of the validity either directly or otherwise may be in violation of the terms of the settlement. I think she is doing good to delete her files, cancel her internet account or prohibit anyone from using her connection including family members, and walk away.

        Making a contribution to the EFF may even be in violation of the terms. That sucks!
  • by bconway (63464)
    Is MediaSentry licensed to investigate in the state in which they actually performed the investigation? The location of the plaintiff's IP is irrelevant, it could be next door, it could be in Alaska.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by stonemetal (934261)
      They filed the lawsuit in texas so the investigator has to be licensed in texas. See the connection there, Texas law equals need Texas license to conduct investigation.
      • by Maxo-Texas (864189) on Sunday December 16, 2007 @08:30PM (#21721156)
        Riaa probably doesn't feel it is fair to have to obey all these different licensing restrictions. They probably want to use the results of the investigations as they choose since they paid good money for the results. Fortunately, they can only legally use investigators the way we can use songs and other copyrighted materials.

        Ah.. it is so nice when the worm turns.
    • by civilizedINTENSITY (45686) on Sunday December 16, 2007 @10:24PM (#21721844)
      Apparantly they aren't licensed [p2pnet.net] to investigate in any state:

      "The illegality of the private investigations is also known to defendants," says Lybeck in the court document.
      Most states require licensing or registration of private investigators. In Oregon, unlicensed investigators are subject to civil and criminal penalties. These licensing laws are well known to reputable investigators. On information and belief, MediaSentry and his investigators are not and have not been licensed to conduct private investigations of private citizens in Oregon or any other state. Their investigations are illegal.
      For years, the RIAA and its member companies have been using flawed and illegal private investigation information as part of their co-ordinated scheme and comment enterprise to threaten, intimidate and coerce payment from private citizens across the United States.
    • by stanley232305 (1204194) on Monday December 17, 2007 @12:31AM (#21722542)
      This is a good example of the law not keeping up with (or addressing) issues brought on by technological advancement. Maybe providing the law will abate uninformed opinions:

        1702.101. Investigations Company License Required

      Unless the person holds a license as an investigations company, a person may not:

      (1) act as an investigations company;

      (2) offer to perform the services of an investigations company; or

      (3) engage in business activity for which a license is required under this chapter.

      ***

        1702.104. Investigations Company

      (a) A person acts as an investigations company for the purposes of this chapter if the person:

      (1) engages in the business of obtaining or furnishing, or accepts employment to obtain or furnish, information related to:

      (A) crime or wrongs done or threatened against a state or the United States;

      (B) the identity, habits, business, occupation, knowledge, efficiency, loyalty, movement, location, affiliations, associations, transactions, acts, reputation, or character of a person;

      (C) the location, disposition, or recovery of lost or stolen property; or

      (D) the cause or responsibility for a fire, libel, loss, accident, damage, or injury to a person or to property;

      (2) engages in the business of securing, or accepts employment to secure, evidence for use before a court, board, officer, or investigating committee;

      (3) engages in the business of securing, or accepts employment to secure, the electronic tracking of the location of an individual or motor vehicle other than for criminal justice purposes by or on behalf of a governmental entity; or

      (4) engages in the business of protecting, or accepts employment to protect, an individual from bodily harm through the use of a personal protection officer.

      (b) For purposes of Subsection (a)(1), obtaining or furnishing information includes information obtained or furnished through the review and analysis of, and the investigation into the content of, computer-based data not available to the public.

      ***

        1702.381. Civil Penalty

      (a) A person who is not licensed under this chapter, who does not have a license application pending, and who violates this chapter may be assessed a civil penalty to be paid to the state not to exceed $10,000 for each violation.

      (b) A person who contracts with or employs a person who is required to hold a license, certificate of registration, or security officer commission under this chapter knowing that the person does not hold the required license, certificate, or commission or who otherwise, at the time of contract or employment, is in violation of this chapter may be assessed a civil penalty to be paid to the state in an amount not to exceed $10,000 for each violation.

      (c) A civil penalty under this section may be assessed against a person on proof that the person has received at least 30 days' notice of the requirements of this section.

        1702.382. Injunction

      (a) An attorney for the department, the attorney general's office, or any criminal prosecutor in this state may institute an action against a person to enjoin a violation by the person of this chapter or an administrative rule.

      (b) An injunction action instituted under this section does not require an allegation or proof that an adequate remedy at law does not exist or that substantial or irreparable damage would result from the continued violation to sustain an action under this section. A bond is not required for an injunction action instituted under this section.

        1702.383. Action for Civil Penalty or Injunction

      If a person has violated a provision of this chapter for which a penalty is imposed under Section 1702.381, an attorney for the department, the attorney general's office, or any criminal prosecutor in this state may institute a civil suit in a Travis County district court or in a district court in the county in which the violation occurred for injunctive relief under Section 1702.382 or for assessment and recovery of the civil penalty.
      • by Builder (103701)
        Wow! So if I read that right, anyone who is involved in providing evidence for a court has to be a licensed investigator in the state that they are working? What a complete PITA! No wonder it's close to impossible to find decent technical representation for court cases!

        On another note, did anyone notice this:

        (3) engages in the business of securing, or accepts employment to secure, the electronic tracking of the location of an individual or motor vehicle other than for criminal justice purposes by or on beha
  • by stox (131684) on Sunday December 16, 2007 @07:43PM (#21720874) Homepage
    If I am reading this right, IANAL, blah, blah, blah, RIAA is simply dropping monetary damages. They have not dropped the suit. I don't see how this will effect the counter-claims. Hopefully, Grandma will ream their tail ends so bad that their heads will fall through.

    Go Grandma! Go!
    • by whoever57 (658626)

      If I am reading this right, IANAL, blah, blah, blah, RIAA is simply dropping monetary damages. They have not dropped the suit. I don't see how this will effect the counter-claims.

      IANAL, but if you read the pdf document, it does not explicitly say that the RIAA is dropping its claim for damages either -- but I think that because both parties request entry of final judgment on the basis that there will be an injunction against the Granny, that ends the matter for both sides -- the RIAA can no longer claim m

  • by Chabil Ha' (875116) on Sunday December 16, 2007 @07:59PM (#21720990)
    ...but the Borg will adapt.
  • by slashqwerty (1099091) on Sunday December 16, 2007 @08:10PM (#21721064)
    I am curious what the significance of a license is. I assume a licensed investigator has to take a test and possibly be bonded. How does that affect their ability to collect evidence or impact their credibility in court? One would expect most states to have similar licensing requirements. If MediaSentry is licensed in some states certainly they must follow the general guidelines that Texas requires of licensed investigators. Also, since copyright infringement is a federal issue why does it matter what Texas law says?
    • by DigitAl56K (805623) on Sunday December 16, 2007 @08:33PM (#21721178)
      If MediaSentry is licensed in some states certainly they must follow the general guidelines that Texas requires of licensed investigators.

      What if Texas applies rules to investigations that protect Texans, but not others, from certain practices, or if certain things are permitted under Texas regulations but prohibited elsewhere?

      I think it would be unlikely for a judge to say "Okay, we'll accept agencies licensed in Texas", because you then loose the ability to enforce investigators operating in your state to conform to the guidelines of your state - anybody could go get licensed in the most lax state for the area of investigation that is their primary focus.
    • by sjames (1099) on Sunday December 16, 2007 @08:51PM (#21721284) Homepage

      I am curious what the significance of a license is. I assume a licensed investigator has to take a test and possibly be bonded. How does that affect their ability to collect evidence or impact their credibility in court?

      It is considerably significant. If you are licensed, then you know that it could be revoked if you behave unethically or illegally. If you are licensed, it is an indication that as far as anyone knows, you haven't behaved unethically or illegally in the past. That DOES tend to enhance credibility in court.

      The license needs to be in the particular state since otherwise, in addition to shopping for the most lax state, some might cheat by getting licenced in one state and doing all of their dirty deeds in another state outside the jurisdiction of the licensing board.

      It matters in a federal case because you're not allowed to present illegally gathered evidence in court. Investigators are required to obey all relevant federal, state, and local laws.

      • by Duhavid (677874)
        "If you are licensed, it is an indication that as far as anyone knows, you haven't behaved unethically or illegally in the past. "

        So, could the issue of MediaSentry performing an investigation of this sort
        where they were not licensed to do so have any effect on their licensing
        elsewhere?
      • If you are licensed, then you know that it could be revoked if you behave unethically or illegally. If you are licensed, it is an indication that as far as anyone knows, you haven't behaved unethically or illegally in the past. That DOES tend to enhance credibility in court.

        Well, if that's the case maybe we should consider a license requirement for attorneys ... oh wait.
  • Not surprising (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Stanislav_J (947290) on Sunday December 16, 2007 @08:15PM (#21721092)
    They probably thought it was better to drop one case than to risk a precedent-setting decision that would have invalidated hundreds of other similar "investigations" and perhaps result in some sort of class-action suit.
    • IANAL, but from what I read they did not actually *drop* the case. What happened is that the RIAA and the defendant agreed to a judgment being entered against the defendant, in which the sole penalty was that the defendant agreed not to infringe on the RIAA copyrights in the future, and to delete any improperly obtained files from her system.

      Escaping a RIAA lawsuit with no monetary damages is no small accomplishment. But it's not quite the same as having the suit dismissed, since a judgment against you mea
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by TubeSteak (669689)

      They probably thought it was better to drop one case than to risk a precedent-setting decision that would have invalidated hundreds of other similar "investigations" and perhaps result in some sort of class-action suit.

      The RIAA is counting on the defendant to not sue for a declaratory judgement.

      You don't even have to be sued to do this. If you think someone is going to sue you over something, you can premptively ask the court to decide [some issue]. This allows potential defendants to take the initiative.

      Anyone in Texas (or any other state for that matter) who has received one of the RIAA's form letters should sue for a declaratory judgement that MediaSentry is not licensed for private investigations in [Your State Here]

    • They probably thought it was better to drop one case than to risk a precedent-setting decision that would have invalidated hundreds of other similar "investigations" and perhaps result in some sort of class-action suit.

      I agree with you, Stanislav_J. That is why they decided to cut and run. They were hoping for a nice, quiet settlement that no one would notice. They have a very big problem with this issue, as ALL of their cases are based upon this illegal investigation. It has already gotten the curiosity of Oregon's Attorney General.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 16, 2007 @08:32PM (#21721170)
    Ray is definitely fighting the good fight in taking a lead on all the RIAA nonsense, but one thing miffs me quite a bit. Why is it that every time he writes about someone who got sued, it's always "Texas grandmother So-and-So" or "Mother-of-two Blah Blah" or "Penniless, Starving Immigrant Family With Two Unwell Cats" or whatever? What difference does it make in this case that she's a grandmother? I see nothing in the summary of the TFA that explains why this is in any way relevant.

    I mean sure, it's useful to keep in mind that there are human beings involved here, but any more than that is a fairly obvious attempt at clouding objective discussion by appealing to sympathy. It annoys me constantly, and I would think any semi-intelligent person would see right through this. If the facts are so firmly on the defendants' sides as Ray would have us all believe, why is it necessary to resort to such blatantly manipulative appeal to emotion? /CF
    • by Tuoqui (1091447) on Sunday December 16, 2007 @09:12PM (#21721390) Journal
      And yet every time a big faceless corporation tries to dehumanize someone in order to win a case by preemptively labeling someone as guilty of copyright infringement.

      If the RIAA was so sure about their cases as they would have you believe then they would take each and every case to court instead of offering these $3000 get out of jail free cards and backing out of any and all cases where they may look like they will lose.

      But hey its fine for them, its just not fine for the grandmother/disabled person/single mother of two to try to shame the RIAA into dropping their case by giving them some bad publicity.
    • by QuantumG (50515)
      You make a good point, but you did it anonymously, therefore you will be modded into the ground. Step up.

    • Not only emotion... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by SanityInAnarchy (655584) <ninja@slaphack.com> on Sunday December 16, 2007 @09:28PM (#21721486) Journal

      Part of this is to show the sheer innaccuracy of the RIAA lawsuits in the first place.

      I'm making a list. To my knowledge, they've sued:

      • Several pre-teen girls, who could not possibly afford either to buy the music legitimately or to pay the settlement.
      • Several grandmothers, who are unlikely to even know what P2P is.
      • At least one dead person.
      • At least one person who has never, in her life, touched a computer.

      There's probably more, but I haven't been paying attention.

      If the facts are so firmly on the defendants' sides as Ray would have us all believe, why is it necessary to resort to such blatantly manipulative appeal to emotion?

      If the facts are so firmly on the defendants' sides, why not appeal to emotion?

      Just understand, pointing out the people involved -- especially when those people are unlikely to be capable of piracy, much less want to -- is not always an appeal to emotion. Sometimes, it's simply an appeal to common sense -- which is why you will occasionally see articles tagged "suddenbreakoutofcommonsense", for when the RIAA/MPAA is losing.

      • who could not possibly afford either to buy the music legitimately

        Apropos of anything else, apropos of your beliefs on this subject, do you really want this to be allowed as an acceptable reasoning? "Your Honor, I move to have the case dismissed on the grounds that I only obtained it illegally because I couldn't possibly afford to purchase it legitimately".

        • In terms of damages, it should be considered. The assumption is that if they hadn't downloaded it, they would have bought it. Sometimes that assumption makes sense and other times its ridiculous.
      • by Dahamma (304068)
        Several grandmothers, who are unlikely to even know what P2P is.

        I don't understand why being a "grandmother" (defined as having a child who has a child) automatically makes you a complete luddite around here. Probably because most /. posters would have to actually have kids (implying they actually had sex with a real, live woman) for their moms to become grandmothers...

        My mother - who also happens to be a grandmother - understands P2P perfectly well. *My* grandmother on the other hand - who is 87 - probab
    • by hey! (33014)
      Emotion is relevant in some decisions, and irrelevant in others.

      For example, it is irrelevant in the decision of whether the RIAA should be allowed to use unlicensed PIs. It is irrelevant to the question of whether Rhonda Crain is guilty of violating the RIAA's members copyrights.

      It is relevant to whether you think the RIAA is contemptible for taking small fry it thinks are too poor or unsophisticated to put up a good fight and trying to make an example of them.
      • Emotion is relevant in some decisions, and irrelevant in others. For example, it is irrelevant in the decision of whether the RIAA should be allowed to use unlicensed PIs. It is irrelevant to the question of whether Rhonda Crain is guilty of violating the RIAA's members copyrights.
        There's no "emotion" in this equation: no license = evidence upon which case is based is inadmissible = no case.
        • by SL Baur (19540)

          There's no "emotion" in this equation: no license = evidence upon which case is based is inadmissible = no case.
          I think I see where you're headed. If the "evidence" they are using is either illegally obtained, or legally obtained from dubious "experts" as we've seen you prove, then their cases are all weak at best. Sooner or later they have to be hit hard for flooding the court system with frivolous lawsuits.
        • by hey! (33014)
          Which is just my point.

          Keep up the good work, Ray.


    • Because court is about winning and losing; not objective reviews of fact.
    • by MacWiz (665750)
      a fairly obvious attempt at clouding objective discussion by appealing to sympathy. It annoys me constantly, and I would think any semi-intelligent person would see right through this.

      At least it's an actual fact, in contrast to the RIAA's fiction-based pleas for sympathy -- "they're stealing our stuff," "downloading is theft," and the most recently added, "ripping a CD to mp3 is copyright infringement."
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by hedwards (940851)
      Mainly because it's a much more open and shut deal than a 20 something geek gets sued for downloading Celine Dion. Granted that should be illegal just on taste grounds, the later case is much more reasonable to bring to court than somebody that's barely computer literate and less likely to be able to fight back.

      The grandmothers, deceased, teens and such are much better examples of the unreasonable nature of the lawsuits. A teenager is going to have to cough up his college money to pay, if he even have that
    • by Builder (103701)
      What irks me about these stories is that Ray is actively helping the record labels hide behind the RIAA!

      The RIAA didn't back down on squat here... Sony is the company suing Crain and Sony is the company who have withdrawn that part of their claims.

      By not naming the actual labels in these stories, Ray is letting them hide behind the RIAA. This is the whole purpose of the RIAA and exactly what the RIAA and the lables want. Why not start the stories more along the lines of:

      "Texas grandmother Rhonda Crain got S
  • Just wait: (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Lost Penguin (636359)
    RIAA has a bill in the pipeline to become law;
    FBI would investigate copyright violations, or possible a new federal copyright cop squad.
    Your tax dollars at work....
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      Criminal courts have higher standards and the right to a jury.
      • by compro01 (777531)

        Criminal courts have higher standards and the right to a jury.
        they have the right to a jury in any civil suit with damages above $20 IIRC.

        though the standards for the jury are different. IIRC, it has to be unanimous in a criminal trial vs. a mere majority in a civil trial.

        also the fact that you have the right to a lawyer in a criminal trial.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 16, 2007 @10:18PM (#21721808)
    Never enter in litigation against a stubborn senior citizen with too much time on his or her hands.
  • Case closed (Score:5, Insightful)

    by NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) * <ray@beckermanleg ... m minus language> on Sunday December 16, 2007 @10:24PM (#21721842) Homepage Journal
    In response to several questions that have been raised:

    1. The case is now closed, counterclaims and all.

    2. I have a hunch MediaSentry is not licensed anywhere.

    3. The injunction is a consent decree. It doesn't carry with it any implied finding of liability at all. It's merely a promise, by a 70-something lady who never heard of filesharing, that she will not in the future engage in unauthorized filesharing of plaintiffs' recordings.
    • How is it that the RIAA is always allowed to withdraw from a case, in order to avoid setting a disadvantageous precedent, without consequences? Does the casino let you take your chips of the table in the middle of the game because the hand is going badly for you? You can fold your hand, but you cannot withdraw without consequences (i.e. loosing your chips). The difference here is that the accused is forced to play the legal game by the accuser (i.e. the RIAA) and so there should be no privilege for the accu
      • Re:Case closed (Score:4, Insightful)

        by NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) * <ray@beckermanleg ... m minus language> on Sunday December 16, 2007 @11:18PM (#21722152) Homepage Journal

        How is it that the RIAA is always allowed to withdraw from a case, in order to avoid setting a disadvantageous precedent, without consequences? Does the casino let you take your chips of the table in the middle of the game because the hand is going badly for you? You can fold your hand, but you cannot withdraw without consequences (i.e. loosing your chips). The difference here is that the accused is forced to play the legal game by the accuser (i.e. the RIAA) and so there should be no privilege for the accuser to withdraw without consequences. Perhaps, for the benefit us laypeople, you can explain this one for us. Thank you.
        The defendants have neither the money nor the stomach for going to war with a multinational cartel of 4 huge record companies.
        • Well, so much for equal justice under the civil law (I guess that only applies to criminal cases and even there money makes some people more equal than others). Isn't this precisely the sort of abuse that class action was designed to prevent? Perhaps some enteprising lawyers will find a way to collect from the RIAA on behalf of this class of defendants, well we can hope anyway. Thank you NewYorkCountryLawyer for answering my question.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            Well, so much for equal justice under the civil law (I guess that only applies to criminal cases and even there money makes some people more equal than others). Isn't this precisely the sort of abuse that class action was designed to prevent? Perhaps some enteprising lawyers will find a way to collect from the RIAA on behalf of this class of defendants, well we can hope anyway. Thank you NewYorkCountryLawyer for answering my question.

            There is a class action going on. Andersen v. Atlantic [blogspot.com].

  • by Ralph Spoilsport (673134) on Sunday December 16, 2007 @11:04PM (#21722060) Journal
    for a while I was thinking of working as a private investigator. More than one PI agency is wildly looking for digital investigators to do copyright investigation.

    I have a job, but I'm "on a certain list" so these kinds of job offers come across my desk.

    It's not good, and it's not pretty. Someone with Serious Pockets is looking to screw a Lot Of People over copyright re: file trading.

    It's all coming out of the "heartland USA". I moved out of the states a while ago. But "people know me" so I get rumblings/job offers before others do. If this investigation goes down as it seems, it will be ugly.

    For whom? Well teh music industry of course. They're a bunch of fucking morons with a business model that bears no resemblance to what the market is requiring. So rather than grow a lobe for profit (vis the Ferengi) they would rather do the American Thing and sue everyone into the dirt. Morons.

    So: word up: the morons are on the march...

    RS

    • As far as I can tell, they dont watch Sneakernet, nor do they use WASTE.

      10 minute trip at 500GB per drive, 3 drives...

      WASTE for when we NEED on-band communications/transfer.

      Anonymous high speed WIFI for torrent leach, along with IRC/FTP downloads.

      10 minutes to 2hours from a college town: can arrange meets for goods. We could encrypt the drives in that the key is given later out of band... No being caught red-handed with "illegal" files.

      Whatever they may try, we'll be there to stop them. Good luck stopping h
    • by Atario (673917)
      Then you're in a rare position to do something about this. Using the formula now:
      1. Get hired by MAFIAA to look for teh evil pie-rates
      2. Hand over a list of the IP addresses of a bunch of US Senators, Representatives, MAFIAA member companies' executives, other very rich and/or powerful people
      3. ??? *
      4. Profit! Er, Justice!
      * stands for "MAFIAA gets massively ass-reamed from 354 directions at once"
  • They are just going to hire PIs that ARE licensed in all 50 states (who are going to be VERY EXPENSIVE) and use that to inflate the damages they claim...
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Evets (629327) *
      This would be a problem considering that the bulk of their lawsuits are based on MediaSentry downloads via Kazaa. Kazaa is around no more, which means that there is no investigation to be made.

      What they didn't want is for their suit to be thrown out with the Kitchen sink because of their reliance on information provided by unlicensed investigators. If that happens, they lose anybody in the state who is looking to settle anytime soon.

      As it stands, it will take some time before another defendant even has th
  • by thorkyl (739500)
    In the use of knowingly hiring an unlicensed investigator to investigate the case
    in its self is a crime and if they used the same firm to investigate multiple cases then it is a standard practice which means that it is a RICO act violation and should be prosecuted as such.

     

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