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RIAA Wants To Throw In the Towel On 3-Year-Old Case 171

Posted by Soulskill
from the stick-it-to-'em dept.
NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "After three years of pursuing a home health aide in Brooklyn who has never even used a computer, the RIAA has announced it's ready to throw in the towel. Only thing; it wants the dismissal to be 'without prejudice' so it won't be liable for attorney's fees. The courts have been saying that where a copyright plaintiff gives up, the defendant is presumptively entitled to an attorney's fee award. So, Ms. Lindor says 'no way.' She wants the dismissal to be 'with prejudice,' and she wants her attorney's fees." We've been discussing this case and Ms. Lindor's fight against the RIAA for quite some time.
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RIAA Wants To Throw In the Towel On 3-Year-Old Case

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  • by Stanislav_J (947290) on Saturday July 05, 2008 @08:07AM (#24065191)
    But how about something to compensate her for the harassment, stress, and general upheaval of her life for three years? The RIAA might cave in to paying her fees if they have no other way out of it, but a nice fat damage award would go a long way toward tempering the cartel's tactics, and to encourage others who have been sued. Of course, to get such an award she would probably have to file some sort of countersuit against them, and I doubt she has the stomach for that right now. Shows how in our legal system, even when you win, you still lose to some degree.
    • But how about something to compensate her for the harassment, stress, and general upheaval of her life for three years? The RIAA might cave in to paying her fees if they have no other way out of it, but a nice fat damage award would go a long way toward tempering the cartel's tactics, and to encourage others who have been sued. Of course, to get such an award she would probably have to file some sort of countersuit against them, and I doubt she has the stomach for that right now. Shows how in our legal system, even when you win, you still lose to some degree.

      Unfortunately, I can't disagree with anything you just said.

      It's an imperfect system, and definitely being abused at the moment by the large 'rights holders', who have engaged in a maelstrom of litigation in reaction to their imminent demise.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by phoomp (1098855)

        It's an imperfect system, and definitely being abused at the moment by the large 'rights holders', who have engaged in a maelstrom of litigation in reaction to their imminent demise

        If they get their way in Canada, by getting the government to draft laws which protect their obsolete business plan, they may be developing a foothold by which they can force us to keep them alive.

      • by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Saturday July 05, 2008 @10:31AM (#24065845) Homepage Journal

        the large 'rights holders', who have engaged in a maelstrom of litigation in reaction to their imminent demise.

        Yes, and in a down-turning economy, as the value of their "holdings" declines, they will turn increasingly to this type of litigation-for-profit to try to keep their stock price up.

        • by Monsuco (998964)

          Yes, and in a down-turning economy, as the value of their "holdings" declines, they will turn increasingly to this type of litigation-for-profit to try to keep their stock price up.

          Unlikely, a company suing an individual will seldom recoup enough from the suit itself to pay for the legal fees involved in suing them (people suing companies is another story, remember the lady who won a multimillion dollar lawsuit against McDonald's after she poured coffee on herself?). The Cartel only hopes to scare people i

      • by Cassini2 (956052) on Saturday July 05, 2008 @11:34AM (#24066419)

        I think the reason this suit got this far, and generated as much interesting legal materials and reactions as it did, have much to do with the lawyer working the case. She would have not got this far, if it was not for the efforts of her lawyer. You have demonstrated how to defend and win a case against the RIAA.

        It is not often that we think of lawyers as the good guys, but in this case, the community owes you thanks.

        Good Work.

      • It's an imperfect system, and definitely being abused at the moment by the large 'rights holders', who have engaged in a maelstrom of litigation in reaction to their imminent demise.

        That reminds me of the rules about nukes in Dune. In order to prevent their use against others there was a rule that anyone who uses nukes on other humans would have their entire planet nuked (by the spacing guild I think).

        OTOH, if a group had no option but to use nukes they could invoke an option where they give all their

    • by morgan_greywolf (835522) * on Saturday July 05, 2008 @08:35AM (#24065255) Homepage Journal

      Perhaps a countersuit? IANAL, but I don't see why she couldn't turn around and sue them for the harrassment, pain and suffering, etc. Or is there some sort of statute that prevents that? Anyone know?

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Shows how in our legal system, even when you win, you still lose to some degree.

      Thanks to Bobby Bare there is a musical reference to being a Winner [lyrics007.com].

      As pointed out many times, the RIAA is not exactly good at following the "Gentlemen's rules" of the game. Hope Ms. Lindoor hits them hard in the wallet, would, no doubt, make Mr. Beckerman feel a lot better about Ms. Lindoor taking the draw. Hope the judge tosses the RIAA out of the ring too, with prejudice.

    • by Dan541 (1032000) on Saturday July 05, 2008 @01:26PM (#24067437) Homepage

      It's bullshit that plaintiffs are able to withdraw a case.

      Withdrawal should result in an automatic win for the defendant which should cover legal fees, loss of income, compensation for harassment and open the door for libel suits maybe then people will stop abusing the courts.

      How do court case's get started get the RIAA just take you to court so your forced to lose your income to defend yourself or does the submission need approval before it can proceed?

      What do you do about holidays, work or any other form of life, during a case like this?

      • by honkycat (249849) on Saturday July 05, 2008 @01:59PM (#24067759) Homepage Journal

        It's tempting to make a blanket statement like that, especially when the plaintiff is perceived as the slimy evil that is the RIAA. However, it's difficult to make such a blanket declaration without creating injustices. In this case, if you read the RIAA's motion to dismiss without prejudice, which is linked from the article, they claim that Ms. Lindor and her relatives and counsel (aka NewYorkCountryLawyer, the submitter) have impeded/deceived them during discovery. Their claim is that as a result, they are unable to mount a case -- i.e., they're not just taking their ball and going home, they've simply decided that it's not going to be possible despite their (claim of) good faith effort to resolve the issues.

        If this is true, then it's unreasonable to expect them to pay the costs of the defendant -- that would only encourage defense by stonewalling.

        Thus, I don't think you can automatically say the plaintiff must see the case to conclusion to avoid funding the defense. As the case law seems to say (based on the links in the article), there's a presumption that they will be on the hook for costs, but there are certainly circumstances where justice is best served by allowing the case to be dropped without such an award.

        And, hopefully obviously, I'm not up to date on the details of the case, and I'm not claiming that the RIAA is correct in its claims. Rather, it is simply those claims and the court needs to decide on their merit. The defense clearly disagrees with their assertions. It will be interesting to see how this turns out.

        • by initialE (758110)
          So it looks like another legal fight, over whether the defendant had indeed impeded or deceived during discovery. Not over by a long shot.
        • by Skapare (16644)

          If this is true, then it's unreasonable to expect them to pay the costs of the defendant -- that would only encourage defense by stonewalling.

          If that is indeed what happened, then the defendant has committed some violation of judicial procedure, or disobeyed a court order, or something like that. If the plaintiff believes this to be true, they should be asking the court to order the defendant to carry out the proper steps. For example, if it is a discovery issue, where the plaintiff wants some kind of discovery from the defendant that the plaintiff is rightly justified to have, and the defendant is refusing, then the plaintiff should be asking

          • by honkycat (249849)

            A plaintiff that truly believes their case is fully with merit would follow this, unless they believe there is (now) going to be some harm to them to pursue it further (like actually losing, or worse).

            I don't think you can draw that conclusion. For example, it's also possible that the stonewalling has served its purpose and the case is no longer worth their expense. Perhaps it's hard to imagine this for the RIAA, but consider a smaller-budgeted plaintiff suing a larger entity. If the defense's procedural games exhaust the resources of the plaintiff, they will have no choice but to drop the suit. An automatic award of defense costs would not seem fair.

            After all, the RIAA is asking for sanctions agains

          • by aussie_a (778472)

            They've finally learned that the evidence they need was thrown away before they learned of it due to the defendent's lying and stonewalling.

            This is of course assuming the RIAA's letter is accurate, which while not a good assumption at all, IMO feels right based on the posts by NewYorkCountryLawyer. He has repeatedly said (and even says it again) that the defendant hasn't ever touched a computer. And while possibly true simply means that someone else using her internet connection (because she DOES have one)

        • by pfleming (683342)
          I haven't followed all of the links on NYCL's site, but he states that the defendant didn't even own a computer at the time the infringement took place while the RIAA clearly says she did. They don't site any evidence in the letter to the judge. I wonder if there is evidence that she owned a computer or if the burden of proof is not required in a request to dismiss?
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by MacWiz (665750)

          I think people give the RIAA far too much credit by calling them evil. They're not smart enough to be evil.

          In this case, if you read the RIAA's motion to dismiss without prejudice, which is linked from the article, they claim that...

          The RIAA claims a lot of things. They always give up just before it's time to go to court and prove it in front of a jury.

          defense by stonewalling

          You mean the right to remain silent? Or the right to an attorney? If you accuse me of something, the burden of proof is on you. I don'

          • by honkycat (249849)

            You mean the right to remain silent? Or the right to an attorney? If you accuse me of something, the burden of proof is on you. I don't have to say a damn word.

            No, I mean stonewalling by refusing to act in good faith during discovery. You have a legal obligation to comply with these requests. You don't have to *say* anything, but producing evidence that proves your guilt is not the same as incriminating yourself with respect to the 5th Amendment. If it's subpoenaed and it exists, you must provide it.

            But, like I said, the RIAA made a claim that, on its face, is not without merit. Perhaps the facts of this case are such that it is a frivolous claim-- that's cert

            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by MacWiz (665750)

              Regardless, my point is that a blanket statement that "The plaintiff must always see every case to completion," while perhaps satisfying in this case, will not always serve the interests of justice.

              My point is not that "The plaintiff must always see every case to completion." Quite the contrary.

              The RIAA has filed 40,000 lawsuits over a five-year period and have allowed exactly one to be decided by a jury, based upon a premise that has since been determined to be an "error of law."

              I've said this before, so a

      • Granting a defendant automatic damages if a plaintiff withdraws a lawsuit will lead to many meritless suits prosecuted to the end. For instance, if the RIAA had to pay legal fees, lost of income, compensation for harassment, and libel in this case, they would not be withdrawing the lawsuit. They would rather fight this to the end and wait for the defendant to go bankrupt or cave in. I think the defendant should be given the chance to get damages by filing a countersuit but should not be granted automatic damages lest we create perverse incentives to flog a dead horse.

        • No, I say grant automatic damages in court. If you can't prove it, don't fucking bring it. They deserve every bit of shit thrown at them for bringing a FALSE LAWSUIT into court.

          She needs to file and have the RIAA members labeled as vexatious litigants. That'll put a HUGE hole in their operation.

          • by arth1 (260657) on Saturday July 05, 2008 @04:12PM (#24069013) Homepage Journal

            What I think would be fair was if any case brought that was dismissed with prejudice would automatically cost the accusers a fine of exactly as much as the damage they sued for.
            That would not only reduce the amount of false claims, but also the preposterous amounts the accused are being sued for.

            (I say fines and not compensation. Fines should go to the public and never to the accused, who only should get actual expenses covered. In Ius Commune, a firm principle is that neither the accuser nor the accused must ever benefit economically from the justice system. Rewarding the victim makes becoming a victim desirable, just like rewarding the accuser makes accusations more profitable than avoiding the initial issue.)

            • (I say fines and not compensation. Fines should go to the public and never to the accused, who only should get actual expenses covered. In Ius Commune, a firm principle is that neither the accuser nor the accused must ever benefit economically from the justice system. Rewarding the victim makes becoming a victim desirable, just like rewarding the accuser makes accusations more profitable than avoiding the initial issue.)

              I disagree ... in part. The victim (the defendant in a wrongful lawsuit) should, absent any proof that the defendant tricked the plaintiff into this action (that itself should also be a crime with fines and even jail time, in a separate criminal procedure), receive not only actual expenses, but certain additional compensations. One of those should cover the harassment and stress aspect. We're not talking about millions of dollars here. Maybe at most $50,000 prorated per year the case dragged out.

              Plainti

          • Punishing people for bringing a lawsuit that is eventually withdrawn will only benefit huge corporations with deep pockets. Pretend you sue Exxon Mobil for poisoning a well in a neighborhood. You spend lots of time and money on discovery and experts. Then you find out that there is no clear-cut evidence that the oil and poisons they dumped into a well caused the cancers in the neighborhood. There is a correlation but you cannot scientifically prove causation. Thus, your case is in a rut, and Exxon is outspe

            • by torkus (1133985)

              Simple. Allow for the dismissal immediately after discovery with reasonable compensation for legal fees.

              You thought you had enough to bring a case, put the defendant through the nusiance of giving you enough evidence to make you look stupid (not to mention having to hire a lawyer and show up in court) then you pay for that. This would make people think clearly before even bringing a lawsuit...and also serve to lower retarded legal fees in the first place i think.

  • Good for her. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by AltGrendel (175092) <ag-slashdot@e x i t0.us> on Saturday July 05, 2008 @08:08AM (#24065193) Homepage
    Stick it to 'em. Hard.
  • Without prejudice... (Score:5, Informative)

    by LinuxGeek (6139) * <djand.ncNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Saturday July 05, 2008 @08:10AM (#24065199)

    also means could refile the suit if they want. It may just mean they want to try and get better legal leverage, like a new judge.

    • by Hal_Porter (817932) on Saturday July 05, 2008 @08:17AM (#24065207)

      I've always thought "Without Prejudice" would be a good motto for a shady company. You'd put it on your letters under the logo and you'd be protected while you lied your ass off during negotiations.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      an important distinction, something that confused me for awhile; "prejudice" in this sense is not the same as "discrimination", but instead means "pre-judged".

      Exactly as you said, when a case is dismissed "without prejudice", it allows another case to be filed later. My understanding is that this is generally in the event of a case being dismissed due to a clerical error.
      • by mixmatch (957776)
        Discrimination can also be used to mean a judgement...
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        "Prejudice" never means "discrimination". Even when talking about race/ethnicity/religion "prejudice" only refers to the (often unwarranted) opinion one forms, or the opinion given to someone, not what one does about it (hint: "prejudice" can be noun or verb, depending on whether its the opinion formed or the act of imparting an opinion or slant). "Discrimination" refers to the treatment one gives a person or group based on something like a prejudiced opinion of them (hint: only a verb as an action has to

  • by Registered Coward v2 (447531) on Saturday July 05, 2008 @08:23AM (#24065229)

    We have been telling plaintiffs all along that the defendant is innocent of any
    infringement. Unmindful of their duties as officers of the Court, they nevertheless persisted. Now
    that the time has come to pay the piper, they seek to scurry away, rather than face the music.

    Don't they own the music?

    (I trust Mr. Beckermann will accept my quote as fair use...)

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Don't they own the music?

      1. Owning copyright doesn't give them ownership of the music; it is a limited time monopoly according to the US Constitution. Copyright (theoretically and used to be in fact) runs out and the work goes into the public doamin with Huck Finn.

      2. They only own a tiny fraction of the copyrights. Most bands aren't signed; you can see them in your local bar.

      3. If I were this lady I'd see a shrink, and file lawsuit against the labels for metal distress

      • by dpilot (134227) on Saturday July 05, 2008 @08:58AM (#24065321) Homepage Journal

        > 3. If I were this lady I'd see a shrink, and file lawsuit against the labels for metal distress

        Metallica's got that one covered, and they're on the RIAA's side.

      • Mickey Mouse (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Morosoph (693565) on Saturday July 05, 2008 @10:01AM (#24065617) Homepage Journal

        Copyright (theoretically and used to be in fact) runs out and the work goes into the public doamin with Huck Finn.

        I'm coming to think that the US should make a Peter-Pan type exception for Mickey Mouse, since US congress refuse to let the sun set on the rodent.

        Yes, it would be a barmy exception, but it is still worse, by some considerable margin, that one cartoon character should make law for the whole system of copyright!

        Hell, they should make an exception for Minnie and Pluto while they're at it...

        • I'm coming to think that the US should make a Peter-Pan type exception for Mickey Mouse, since US congress refuse to let the sun set on the rodent.

          As a matter of fact I would be fine with that. The eternal Peter Pan copyright belongs to the Great Ormond Street childrens' hospital, and when the copyright expired in 1987 the government granted them a perpetual right to collect royalties on it. I'm sure there are similar institutions in the US which would appreciate the same kind of deal with Mickey Mouse.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by fyrewulff (702920)

          Actually, I've been thinking about this for a while too. A compromise between "NO COPYRIGHT!" and "COPYRIGHT FOREVER!"

          First, we drop copyright back to something a bit more modern but still reasonable. Say, 20 years from the point of creation. This gives enough time for the copyrighted work to see most of the income it'll ever get for the creator.

          But, for certain 'legacy' copyrights, we can grant National Protected Copyright status to. This would be something like how the Library of Congress chooses to prese

      • I think the GP was making a joke.
    • by lysse (516445) on Saturday July 05, 2008 @09:14AM (#24065365)

      According to the contracts, they own the musicians.

      And their firstborn.

      • by TheLink (130905)
        I thought Monsanto owns their first born.

        With all those gene patents and "no unauthorized reproduction" ;).
  • by Morgaine (4316) on Saturday July 05, 2008 @08:35AM (#24065257)

    The RIAA's lawsuits are purely speculative, based on a standard of "evidence" that would be laughed out of court in any other area. When there is no penalty for speculative litigation, litigation becomes a business method instead of an instrument of last resort. This case needs to be dismissed With Prejudice to counteract this misuse of the legal system.

    In addition, the RIAA as plaintiffs suffer no discomfort from a failed lawsuit, as it's all just paperwork and their daily office job for them. In contrast, their defendants suffer horribly from the process win or lose, with years of their lives being damaged and unrecoverable, since the litigation process is entirely foreign to their normal lives. This is unbalanced, unfair, and inadequate.

    Both areas need redress, starting with dismissal With Prejudice and including compensation to the defendant for harm caused. But really more than that is needed. The RIAA lawyers themselves need to suffer some kind of professional penalty that will stay on their record, or this kind of legal abuse will not stop. Without negative feedback, systems spiral out of control, and that is as true in law as in science.

    • Mod parent up.. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Joce640k (829181) on Saturday July 05, 2008 @08:41AM (#24065277) Homepage

      Nobody should be allowed to just drop a legal case with no penalty after three years.

      • Re:Mod parent up.. (Score:4, Insightful)

        by xouumalperxe (815707) on Saturday July 05, 2008 @08:50AM (#24065299)

        Nobody should be allowed to just drop a legal case with no penalty after three years.

        Not all cases that last 3 years do so because (at least) one side is purposefully delaying. They might last that long simply because they're complex, both in terms of who's right and how right they are. The whole point of there being courts is to decide which way that sort of thing swings, and you shouldn't be penalized for it.

        Now, if you can prove that the case dragged on simply because one party was trying to outlast the other, that's abusing the court, which is a different ball game altogether...

        • But there is this pesky little thing in the Constitution that seems to give the accused the right of a fair and speedy trial.

          The lawyers (on either side) taking time to do other cases, or sending letters back and forth through antiquated means without actually moving the case forward is not honoring the spirit of "speedy".

          I say a vatican approach is called for. Let the lawyers and judge be locked inside a room, with full phone and internet access to send their minions about, but not themselves get out unti

          • by hedwards (940851)

            Speedy is a relative term, requiring all cases to be tried in 6 months would lead to technically complex cases being tried without all the available evidence examined and curb the rights of the parties to appeal decisions.

            Speedy mainly means that people can't be left to rot in holding cells while the courts or attorneys stall for more time without cause for doing so. In short it's more a requirement that DAs don't use holding cells as punishment for crimes than it is about getting things done as quickly as

            • by arth1 (260657)

              Every single hour spent from accusation to conviction, dismissal or acquittal should be accountable. If you need six months to dig up evidence, there are obstructions somewhere, and most likely on both (well-paid) ends, and likely doing things in a linear fashion where parallelism would have worked well. Unless you are waiting for the disposition of someone walking solo across the Antarctic without a phone, it's simply ridiculous.

              I can't think of a single profession that works as slowly as the legal one.

      • Re:Mod parent up.. (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Technician (215283) on Saturday July 05, 2008 @12:59PM (#24067209)

        Nobody should be allowed to just drop a legal case with no penalty after three years.

        Actually, it's not in the court records, but in their bottom line, the dammage will run much longer than 3 years.

        Nobody likes to sup with the devil. The dammage to their PR is huge and long lasting. In the heyday of Napster, sales were up. In the heyday of the litigation campaign, the major CD retailiers are folding. Tower Records, and many other retailers are gone. Many retailers have shifted to carying a large inventory to shifting to video games and DVD's. (MPAA is not in as much PR goo as RIAA).

        I haven't bought a new retail CD in years, and that will continue until this mess is over. (online tracks same thing)

    • by morgan_greywolf (835522) * on Saturday July 05, 2008 @08:42AM (#24065283) Homepage Journal

      Well said, Morgaine!

      The RIAA lawyers themselves need to suffer some kind of professional penalty that will stay on their record, or this kind of legal abuse will not stop.

      Abuse of the legal system is something that an attorney could be censured for by their state's Bar association -- with penalties ranging from fines to and including disbarrment.

      • Lawyers have to be "zealous advocates" for their clients. That's their job. Would you hire a lawyer who won't go to the mat for you? More than that, it's an ethical imperative. Everyone who's crying out for professional penalties doesn't understand the nature of the profession.

        I have a great deal of respect for NYCL. He fights like hell for his clients. Of course, that means everything he says is biased for the defense. And everything the plaintiff's lawyers say is biased for the plaintiffs. That doesn't mean either of them are correct about what really happened -- they're just advocating the theory that best suits their client's wishes. And neither of them should be penalized for that, because that's how the system should work.
        • There are many things they can do that cross that line.

          Knowingly filing a case with no evidence purely as an extortion tactic is one of the things that should get a shyster disbarred.

        • by sjames (1099) on Saturday July 05, 2008 @03:27PM (#24068591) Homepage

          There is a line there, and it's pretty clear the RIAA's lawyers have stepped way over it.

          A lawyer is first and foremost, an officer of the court. Then, they are to be zealous advocates for their client's case. That advocacy may not, however, cross the line into illegal or unethical practices.

          It is fully expected that a lawyer will argue the facts of a case in the light most favorable to the client's position. It's another matter entirely to attempt to deceive the court or to knowingly abuse the court process for the client's benefit.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            There is a line there, and it's pretty clear the RIAA's lawyers have stepped way over it. A lawyer is first and foremost, an officer of the court. Then, they are to be zealous advocates for their client's case. That advocacy may not, however, cross the line into illegal or unethical practices. It is fully expected that a lawyer will argue the facts of a case in the light most favorable to the client's position. It's another matter entirely to attempt to deceive the court or to knowingly abuse the court process for the client's benefit.

            Exactly. The RIAA lawyers aren't familiar with those pages from the Code of Professional Responsibility.

        • Lawyers have to be "zealous advocates" for their clients. That's their job. Would you hire a lawyer who won't go to the mat for you? More than that, it's an ethical imperative. Everyone who's crying out for professional penalties doesn't understand the nature of the profession. I have a great deal of respect for NYCL. He fights like hell for his clients. Of course, that means everything he says is biased for the defense. And everything the plaintiff's lawyers say is biased for the plaintiffs. That doesn't mean either of them are correct about what really happened -- they're just advocating the theory that best suits their client's wishes. And neither of them should be penalized for that, because that's how the system should work.

          I respectfully disagree. The duty to be a "zealous advocate" has to be balanced against the many other duties a lawyer has, under the general concept of serving as an "officer of the court", such as duties not to to make false statements of fact, duties not to mislead the court on the law, duties to investigate before suing, the duty not to sign frivolous or false documents, the duty not to do unnecessary harm to people with whom you come in contact, etc., etc. I would never do, on behalf of any client, the things the RIAA lawyers have done. There are lawyers, and there are attack dogs; these are attack dogs. I do not consider them to be genuinely a part of my profession.

    • The RIAA's lawsuits are purely speculative, based on a standard of "evidence" that would be laughed out of court in any other area. When there is no penalty for speculative litigation, litigation becomes a business method instead of an instrument of last resort. This case needs to be dismissed With Prejudice to counteract this misuse of the legal system. In addition, the RIAA as plaintiffs suffer no discomfort from a failed lawsuit, as it's all just paperwork and their daily office job for them. In contrast, their defendants suffer horribly from the process win or lose, with years of their lives being damaged and unrecoverable, since the litigation process is entirely foreign to their normal lives. This is unbalanced, unfair, and inadequate. Both areas need redress, starting with dismissal With Prejudice and including compensation to the defendant for harm caused. But really more than that is needed. The RIAA lawyers themselves need to suffer some kind of professional penalty that will stay on their record, or this kind of legal abuse will not stop. Without negative feedback, systems spiral out of control, and that is as true in law as in science.

      I agree. But I am expecting the RIAA's lawyers, who on a daily basis have been making many false statements of fact to the courts, working with unlicensed investigators, misstating the law, and using illegal procedures, to be called to task eventually. It will no doubt be too little, too late, but I'm expecting repercussions for what they've done.

      • by grizdog (1224414) on Saturday July 05, 2008 @09:42AM (#24065507) Homepage
        Great, but isn't justice delayed justice denied? If the RIAA lawyers are permitted to make a career out of this before they are sanctioned, and get disbarred in an early, comfortable retirement, what is accomplished? And more to the point, what is "officer of the court" worth, if this is the case?
      • by dmatos (232892) on Saturday July 05, 2008 @09:56AM (#24065593)

        At what point would it be reasonable to start proceedings against those lawyers? You make some fairly strong statements of their misdeeds here. With firm proof would those offenses not be more than enough to get them disbarred, if not jailed and/or fined for perjury?

        Who is responsible for calling those lawyers to task? And who is capable of officially raising the matter for consideration?

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          Who is responsible for calling those lawyers to task?

          The judges.

          And who is capable of officially raising the matter for consideration?

          The parties or the judges.

          • In addition to being sanctioned by judges, a particularly egregious pattern of abuse by specific lawyers could be raised as an ethics complaint in the relevant state bar association, couldn't it? I suppose how likely that is to succeed depends on the particular state, and just how well you can pin something specific on a specific lawyer.

      • by RWarrior(fobw) (448405) * on Saturday July 05, 2008 @12:16PM (#24066823)

        I agree. But I am expecting the RIAA's lawyers, who on a daily basis have been making many false statements of fact to the courts, working with unlicensed investigators, misstating the law, and using illegal procedures, to be called to task eventually. It will no doubt be too little, too late, but I'm expecting repercussions for what they've done.

        Why have you (and other attorneys fighting them) not already filed complaints with their state bars?

    • by Stiletto (12066) on Saturday July 05, 2008 @09:27AM (#24065421)

      When there is no penalty for speculative litigation, litigation becomes a business method instead of an instrument of last resort.

      Um, I hate to tell you, but even with the possibility of dismissal with prejudice, litigation is still a HUGE business. You just need to go for higher awards to offset the risk associated with the penalties.

      The litigation-for-profit industry is alive and well and not going anywhere.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        Clearly, we need to apply the death penalty to these cases then. Lets see the dollar out weigh that risk.
    • by aussie_a (778472)

      I don't know a number plate on a car seems analogous of an IP address, ASSUMING correct records are kept by the ISP on what computer was assigned what IP address at what time. If the ISP doesn't keep proper records (and IMO there's no reason they should feel they must) then that's another story.

      However simply turning up with a customer address based on an IP address from a proper database isn't "purely speculative" and I feel shouldn't "be laughed out of court."

      Just as I may not have been using a computer a

  • Staying power (Score:5, Interesting)

    by nurb432 (527695) on Saturday July 05, 2008 @08:58AM (#24065323) Homepage Journal

    They never dreamed that she could/would stick with it this long so they are getting worried. They are used to just bulling people into submission.

    I agree they need to compensate her for their unacceptable tactics.

    This needs to be plastered across every news station in the country ( but we know it wont, as the *AA is the TV industries buddy )

  • by hyades1 (1149581) <hyades1@hotmail.com> on Saturday July 05, 2008 @09:15AM (#24065375)

    If that dismissal can be called "without prejudice", then so is a Klan cross burning. They should pay "I'm a Dick Tax" as well as attorney's fees.

  • by Broofa (541944) on Saturday July 05, 2008 @09:28AM (#24065427) Homepage

    Mr. Beckerman (or other attorneys familiar with this case and the relevent law), can you comment on the merit of this request?

    I've read the plaintiff's letter [beckermanlegal.com] and to the lay-person it reads pretty reasonably. In effect, "We can't prove our case because the plaintiffs lied, hid evidence, and generally didn't cooperate to the extent required by law".

    I'm sure the plaintiffs are putting the facts of the case in the most favorable possible light to avoid a "with prejudice" dismissal. But without seeing/hearing the actual testimony it's difficult to judge just how overt the defendents actions were, and to what extent the plaintiffs persual of this case had actual merit - i.e. how justified it was and, therefore, to what extent a prejudicial decision might or might not be warranted.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 05, 2008 @10:55AM (#24066057)

      And if you read Beckerman's response at http://recordingindustryvspeople.blogspot.com/2008/07/ms-lindor-opposes-riaa-attempt-to.html then you'd have your response. He clearly lays out how any prejudice is solely plaintiff's fault. Further, he points out the defendant is an individual not accountable for anyone else's actions, and that discovery was completed 2 years ago but that the palintiff waited until the end to complain about discovery. Further, the complaint is to the wrong judge and filed in the wrong fashion, with additional defects. All of those flaws in the plaintiff's argument make it unlikely sanctions are either warranted or will be granted.

      • And if you read Beckerman's response at http://recordingindustryvspeople.blogspot.com/2008/07/ms-lindor-opposes-riaa-attempt-to.html [blogspot.com] then you'd have your response. He clearly lays out how any prejudice is solely plaintiff's fault. Further, he points out the defendant is an individual not accountable for anyone else's actions, and that discovery was completed 2 years ago but that the palintiff waited until the end to complain about discovery. Further, the complaint is to the wrong judge and filed in the wrong fashion, with additional defects. All of those flaws in the plaintiff's argument make it unlikely sanctions are either warranted or will be granted.

        Thank you for RTFA.

    • by nomadic (141991) <nomadicworldNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Saturday July 05, 2008 @11:03AM (#24066113) Homepage
      I've read the plaintiff's letter and to the lay-person it reads pretty reasonably. In effect, "We can't prove our case because the plaintiffs lied, hid evidence, and generally didn't cooperate to the extent required by law".

      Well IAAL and the letter is not especially convincing. For one thing the plaintiffs' lawyers seem to be blaming the defendant for acts by several third parties. Another thing is that a lot of the criticism uses generic weasel words, like "inconsistencies" and "deceptive and/or incomplete information," which lawyers tend to use when they don't have anything concrete to attack. The alleged inconsistencies aren't especially damning when you're talking about witnesses and parties describing events that took place a while ago. The case ID number makes me think it was filed in early '05, so I'd think that would be the earliest the discovery requests came, so it doesn't seem unreasonable to be uncertain as to who was at your house on certain exact dates several months ago.
    • by sjames (1099)

      The response makes the matter fairly clear. None of the evidence the plaintiffs claim to have been denied in discovery is relevant to their suit. That is, even if that other computer was there and actively used by it's owner (the witness) to download music (an assertion that is not proven), it would serve to support the defendant's position rather than the plaintiffs. Further, the only reason they didn't know about it two years earlier is that they chose to wait that long to depose the witness.

      In other wor

    • Why was the above post moderated "Interesting"? I don't understand. Did its author RTFA? Here [beckermanlegal.com] was my "comment on the merit of this request", within the constraint of a 3-page page limit.

      I.e., the plaintiffs' "request" is pure, unadulterated falsehood... it is one lie after another.
  • Easy..... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by IHC Navistar (967161) on Saturday July 05, 2008 @10:11AM (#24065701)

    All the defendant needs to do is show that the RIAA has *systematically* dragged out lawsuits, and then dropped them when the defendant "calls their bluff", knowing full well it's chances of winning at trial are unfavorable, and the defendant has no intention of settling. The RIAA knows it will be liable for attorney's fees if they lose at trial, so they drag everything out to the very last moment, hoping to save money by dropping the claim when the defendant doesn't settle.

    However, asking for dismissal at this point in procedure doesn't show the intent to save money from dismissal. The fact that the RIAA had done it *many* times over shows a clear, premeditated plan to shift wasteful costs for reckless prosecution to the defendent in the event that no settlement occurs and a legal victory is improbable.

    The RIAA drops it suits when:

    1) The defendant calls their bluff by refusing to settle and forces them to support a baseless claim at trial, which the RIAA knows it will lose.

    To save money, the RIAA then asks for a dismissal without prejudice.

    It might be a stretch, but a good legal beagle could probably argue that this constitutes Conspiracy To Defraud.

    • Re:Easy..... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Junta (36770) on Saturday July 05, 2008 @10:25AM (#24065799)

      To save money, the RIAA then asks for a dismissal without prejudice.

      Given the scale of RIAA legal costs incurred during that prolonged phase, I would say they aren't trying to save money at all. The defendant's legal fees are trivial next to the cost of trying to drag it out to avoid paying them.

      It's quite obvious they want everyone to feel that regardless of the findings of a court, the defendant will have lost, and it's best to do as they say in the first place, regardless of guilt or innocence. RIAA doesn't care much about appearing to be in the right or anything anymore, they just want to induce fear, safe in the knowledge people will still fund the music industry as they way RIAA leads it.

      Given the obvious systematic tactics of making a business of milking the Justice system, the courts really need to thoroughly strike down RIAA's efforts.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by dshadowwolf (1132457)

        You've hit the nail on the head here. The RIAA isn't going for the "dismissal without prejudice" to save money. They are doing it for the financial hurting it puts on the defendant and so they can point and say "we aren't done with it, but that's okay, we'll get that one next time".

        Basically they are getting a victory without having proved their case and have the option of re-filing the case to get a second-chance at winning. Nobody should be able to do this - but until the RIAA is made to really hurt it w

        • by Zeinfeld (263942)
          The RIAA is pushing for dismissal without prejudice to avoid the precedent that it is forced to pay lawyers fees every time it loses a lawsuit. If that happens the game is going to become much more expensive for them. They would face real risks when they file speculatively.

          At the moment the RIAA are probably spending as much in lawyers fees as they recover. If they were paying defendants costs in losing cases they would face huge loses. The lawyers for the RIAA know this and are desperate to keep their me

      • It's quite obvious they want everyone to feel that regardless of the findings of a court, the defendant will have lost, and it's best to do as they say in the first place, regardless of guilt or innocence. RIAA doesn't care much about appearing to be in the right or anything anymore, they just want to induce fear, safe in the knowledge people will still fund the music industry as they way RIAA leads it.

        Precisely. Which is why Dow Jones Market Watch compared them to the Mafia [marketwatch.com].

  • by dloyer (547728) on Saturday July 05, 2008 @10:55AM (#24066059)

    This is another example of how the civil court system exists only to make money for lawyers.

    The judges will put on a show to make it look fair, but judges exist to help lawyers make money from Marks (Anyone who is not a lawyer).

    If you have ever been involved with a lawsuit, you will quickly learn that it is all about how much the lawyers get paid to stumble through their process at $5/min. Facts don't matter. There is no real risk for the plaintiff to sue someone, the burden is on the defendant who must respond or loose by default.

    If you are the defendant and you win, you still loose and if you loose, you loose more.

    Since the cost of defense is so high, it is almost always cheaper to settle, and the lawyers know this.

    If you are a lawyer and hold a grudge, you can really fuck someone over making claims that are not true. And they do. Judges will turn a blind eye.

    The process is completely corrupt and serves no one other than the lawyers that infest it.

    Am I bitter? Yes.

  • by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Saturday July 05, 2008 @11:10AM (#24066187)
    "Would somebody please shoot an official of the RIAA, so that they finally get the point?"

    Of course I would not suggest such a thing in reality... but DAMN... are these people so far removed from reality that they don't know what people think of them? Or do they just not care what their customers think?
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Tubal-Cain (1289912)

      "Would somebody please shoot an official of the RIAA, so that they finally get the point?"

      I'll do it. What server do they play on?

  • by dloyer (547728) on Saturday July 05, 2008 @11:11AM (#24066197)

    It would be a first person shooter.

    The goal would be to kill as many villains (lawyers) as possible.

    The hero would fight his way to the supreme court, leaving a long, bloody trail of greedy lawyers and corrupt judges.

  • What have lawyers and sperm got in common?

    1 in 100,000,000 has the chance of becoming human.

  • It would be nice if some of the more innocent victims of the RIAA assaults slapped them back with barratry lawsuits. The RIAA lawyers have already established a pattern of abuse with their shotgunning approach that shows that they are not acting in good faith.

  • by caladine (1290184)
    Anyone else notice that the motion also seeks to sanction the defendant and her lawyer for "discovery abuse"? The RIAA's lawyers actually have the gall to accuse someone else of "discovery abuse"? If there's worse case of the pot calling the kettle black, please let me know.
    • Anyone else notice that the motion also seeks to sanction the defendant and her lawyer for "discovery abuse"? The RIAA's lawyers actually have the gall to accuse someone else of "discovery abuse"? If there's worse case of the pot calling the kettle black, please let me know.

      No there is not a worse case of the pot calling the kettle black.

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