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RICO Class Action Against RIAA In Missouri 213

Posted by kdawson
from the take-'em-down-dano dept.
NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "In Atlantic Recording v. Raleigh, an RIAA case pending in St. Louis, Missouri, the defendant has asserted detailed counterclaims against the RIAA for federal RICO violations, fraud, violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, prima facie tort, trespass, and conspiracy. The claims focus on the RIAA's 'driftnet' tactic of suing innocent people, and of demanding extortionate settlements. The RICO 'predicate acts' alleged in the 42-page pleading (PDF) are extortion, mail fraud, and wire fraud. The proposed class includes all people residing in the US 'who were falsely accused ... of downloading copyrighted sound recordings owned by the counterclaim Defendants and making them available for distribution or mass distribution over a P2P network and who incurred costs and damages including legal fees in defense of such false claims' or 'whose computers used in interstate commerce and/or communication were accessed ... without permission or authority.' This is the second class action of which we are aware against the RIAA and the Big 4 recording companies, the first being the Oregon class action brought by Tanya Andersen, which is presently in the discovery phase."
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RICO Class Action Against RIAA In Missouri

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  • by jornak (1377831) on Friday November 21, 2008 @01:52PM (#25847995)
    Here RIAA RIAA RIAA. Come and get me and my 200+ gigabytes of stolen music.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 21, 2008 @02:05PM (#25848189)
      you need to click the little box to post anonymously...
      • by mweather (1089505) on Friday November 21, 2008 @02:11PM (#25848281)
        Why would he need to be anonymous? Haven't you heard? IPs don't identify people.
        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Unless you change your name to your IP address like I did.. say hello to Mr FA.CE.FE.ED Jones.

          • by jebrew (1101907) on Friday November 21, 2008 @04:25PM (#25850161)
            Yeah, I've been getting a lot of flack since I changed mine to DE.AD.C0.ED
            • Funny story (Score:4, Funny)

              by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 21, 2008 @04:52PM (#25850595)
              I changed my routers MAC address to DE:AD:BE:EF:BA:BE

              The problem is, I forgot all about it for roughly 2 years.
              Right up until the time I had to call my ISP about something. The tech on the other end asked me what kind of router I had and when I told him, he says "No, you don't have (brand x)". I'm thinking "wtf is he talking about?" because the router is, literally, right there in front of me. So we argued about it for about 10 minutes and I finally got done what I needed.

              After we hung up, I realized why he was asking....

              Now, I can't help but wonder whose router he THINKS I have? Who the hell would use DEADBEEFBABE as a default MAC address?
    • by philspear (1142299) on Friday November 21, 2008 @02:12PM (#25848283)

      Do you live in St. Louis? I'm not with the RIAA*, I am a fellow youngster living in St. Louis who would like to recieve some illegal stolen music from today's popular artists, then maybe go and drink an alchoholic beverage with you. I have videogames that we can play as well. We can "hang out." I want to emphasize that I am not with the RIAA*.

      (* RIAA here does not refer to Recording Industry Association of America)

      • by dontmakemethink (1186169) on Friday November 21, 2008 @03:01PM (#25848973)

        Do you live in St. Louis? I'm not with the RIAA*, I am a fellow youngster living in St. Louis who would like to recieve some illegal stolen music from today's popular artists, then maybe go and drink an alchoholic beverage with you. I have videogames that we can play as well. We can "hang out." I want to emphasize that I am not with the RIAA*.

        (* RIAA here does not refer to Recording Industry Association of America)

        I'm in St. Louis, and would love to meet. There's a nice dark alley on Pine between N 11th and N 12th, we could meet there. I assure you that I do not have a gun*.

        (* the word 'gun' does not refer to any type of firearm)

        • (* the word 'gun' does not refer to any type of firearm)

          Better would have been, "the word 'gun' refers to a crew-fired weapon."

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Chris Burke (6130)

          I assure you that I do not have a gun*.

          (* the word 'gun' does not refer to any type of firearm)

          I'd be more worried if you wanted to meet me in a dark alley, and you were assuring me that you did have a gun, with the same caveat.

    • by Aphoxema (1088507) *

      Wow, I hope that's in FLAC! I have 59 gigs in 192kbps vorbises and I don't even like most of the stuff I've picked up. I end up deleting stuff all the time because I'm like, "Why do I have this music I don't like?"

      Though I must admit my lack of scruples is not as lacking as some peoples', a large portion of stuff I have is free music I got off MP3.com forever ago, OCRemix collections I torrented, and other places that offered it legally.

    • by ZarathustraDK (1291688) on Friday November 21, 2008 @02:49PM (#25848811)
      Now the RIAA can feel how it's like to be hunted by an ambiguous four-letter abbreviation which can't be reasoned with.
  • "falsely accused"? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Otter Popinski (1166533) on Friday November 21, 2008 @01:52PM (#25847997)
    How do you demonstrate that you've been falsely accused? Does that mean you've defended yourself in court against the RIAA and been successful? If so, isn't that a very small class?
    • by Ngarrang (1023425) on Friday November 21, 2008 @01:57PM (#25848071) Journal

      In the USA, we are supposedly innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. Thus, you can claim you are falsely accused up to the point where a judge banks the gavel and declares you guilty.

      At least, that is what my elementary school teacher taught me back in the 70's.

      • by matazar (1104563) on Friday November 21, 2008 @01:58PM (#25848083) Homepage

        Exactly, these people were targeted by the RIAA who has no proof of infringment and abuses the system.
        Whether or not they are actually guilty, the RIAA should be providing proof, which they are incapable of.

        • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 21, 2008 @02:10PM (#25848261)

          Here's the thing, though. The RIAA does have some information. They're not suing people at random--they're suing people that they believe have done something wrong. Their methods are almost certainly unsound, and their theory of what constitutes infringement is questionable. Their evidence for infringement is generally weak. And their attempts to strong-arm people into settlements is also unsettling.

          However, whether this constitutes criminal behavior is also questionable. The RIAA can claim that they have a reasonable belief that they've sued are the right people. They can argue a reasonable belief that they will prevail in court. And they can claim their settlement offers are reasonable within the standards the law currently provides. The RIAA may be wrong about all these things (and probably are), but that doesn't necessarily mean what they're doing is illegal.

          Not everyone who brings a lawsuit and loses is a criminal.

          • by mweather (1089505) on Friday November 21, 2008 @02:13PM (#25848301)
            With enough money at my disposal, I can reasonably believe I'll win any lawsuit I care to file, regardless of merit.
            • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

              I used FDR of raping me years after he died, and won. Thank you, Powerball Lottery!
              • by Dogtanian (588974) on Friday November 21, 2008 @02:56PM (#25848919) Homepage

                I used FDR of raping me years after he died, and won.

                FDR raped you years after he'd died...?!

                OMG ZOMBIESECKS!!!!!1111111

                • That's what "Twilight" is about, isn't it?

                  To whoever marked me "Offtopic", perhaps I should have cited something real: Pearson v. Chung, the case of a Washington, D.C. judge, Roy Pearson, who sued a dry cleaning business for $67 million (later lowered to $54 million), has been cited[12] as an example of frivolous litigation. According to Pearson, the dry cleaners allegedly lost his pants (which he brought in for a $10.50 alteration) and refused his demands for a large refund. Pearson believed that a 'Satisfaction Guaranteed' sign in the window of the shop legally entitled him to a refund for the cost of the pants, estimated at $1,000. The $54 million total also included $2 million in "mental distress" and $15,000 which he estimated to be the cost of renting a car every weekend to go to another dry cleaners.
            • by click2005 (921437)

              Thats true unless your opponent has similar kinds of finances... which most victims of RIAA lawsuits dont have.

          • by Weaselmancer (533834) on Friday November 21, 2008 @02:39PM (#25848633)

            The RIAA can claim that they have a reasonable belief that they've sued are the right people.

            Most of their legal paperwork is of the John Doe variety. By its very nature they are saying "we know something bad happened, but we're not sure who did it." I don't think that argument would hold much water.

            They can argue a reasonable belief that they will prevail in court.

            The vast majority of their legal actions are dropped in their extortion racket. "Pay us $3k and we'll go away."

            If they really believed they could win in court, why offer these settlement notices up front? Especially when they claim damages far in excess of $3k? Who throws money away like that?

            RICO was made for just such a circumstance (IMHO, IANAL, and so on).

            • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

              I'd just laugh if they tried to sue me for 100,000$ !!! I'd just go shucks, and go on welfare or whatever they call it. Or work for a non-profit. And, so would most people. However, many many people will pay 3000-5000$ to make a problem go away.

              I'd ask them for a unlimited license for 5000$ and immunity from all future prosecution and civil judgments capped at 1$ per TB. I'd laugh just as hard if/when they laugh.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by Sancho (17056) *

              If they really believed they could win in court, why offer these settlement notices up front? Especially when they claim damages far in excess of $3k? Who throws money away like that?

              Because one of their goals is to try to scare people. Another is to not go bankrupt suing everyone.

              Most people don't have the money to pay fines in the amounts that they're looking at with copyright infringement. What is it now, a $750 minimum statutory award? Doesn't take many songs for that to be well outside of a person's ability to pay. And that's the low end. If the RIAA spends thousands upon thousands of dollars fighting these cases and the person is forced to file for bankruptcy, they're truly j

              • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                by Weaselmancer (533834)

                Oh sure, I agree completely. But there is an assumption in your post that sort of makes my point:

                Compare to the $3k settlements. That's sustainable. They can keep doing that as long as they want, because the settlements pay for the settlement center operation, and most people can work out a payment plan for that kind of money.

                This is a business model.

                A business model based on litigation threats and fear. That's why RICO applies, IMHO. This is a racket. Someone does you wrong? Fine. Take them to

                • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                  by Sancho (17056) *

                  Someone does you wrong? Fine. Take them to court. Sue them.

                  I think it's a fine line. Most lawsuits are settled, and they're settled precisely because both sides hedge their bets and realize that they have a lot to lose by going into an all-out court battle. It's hard for me to accept that offering a settlement up front is inherently wrong to do.

                  Furthermore, the sheer impossibility of going through with a full lawsuit for every person that the RIAA finds to be sharing files is a problem. While I tend to err on the side of the individual, the record companies shou

                  • by Weaselmancer (533834) on Friday November 21, 2008 @07:52PM (#25853285)

                    I think it's a fine line. Most lawsuits are settled, and they're settled precisely because both sides hedge their bets and realize that they have a lot to lose by going into an all-out court battle. It's hard for me to accept that offering a settlement up front is inherently wrong to do.

                    Yeah, you make a good point there. True. Settlements do not imply an unwillingness to sue. I hadn't really thought of it in that way, and you're right.

                    But there is also a counter point hidden in your argument:

                    Furthermore, the sheer impossibility of going through with a full lawsuit for every person that the RIAA finds to be sharing files is a problem.

                    By your own argument, it would be impossible for the RIAA to follow through with every threat they send out. Therefore they must be filing at least a percentage of these fraudulently.

                    For instance, if you have ten lawyers, and a lawsuit takes about a month, then you could reasonably file 120 cases a year. If you file 200, you are possibly committing fraud. If you file 400, you are probably committing fraud.

                    Now, I'm not sure of their exact numbers - but I'll bet they don't have the resources to follow through with every single complaint they file. [eff.org]

                    I'm pretty certain they've moved into the fraud category.

                    • by Sancho (17056) * on Friday November 21, 2008 @08:17PM (#25853533) Homepage

                      Fair points, all. The question now becomes whether or not an expected settlement is cause enough to spread your resources this thin. When I first heard about the lawsuits, my first thought was that it would be a long time before anyone fought it out, since that would be so costly. Now it turned out that people started fighting them earlier than I expected. That's pretty cool. It may have caught the RIAA off guard, too.

                      I suspect that you're right. I suspect that the RIAA is intentionally abusing the system. I think that their intent is probably not to go through with any lawsuits (they expect everyone to settle, after all), but that's different from a willingness to go through with it. So far, they've mostly gone through with lawsuits for people who fought. In the cases where they've dropped it, there's usually a good amount of evidence that the defendant has a case (at least, in the cases which we've heard about.)

                      So is intent enough to get them? I don't think that it should be, but in our system, it probably is.

                      Of course, we may find out. If they're found guilty of racketeering, they'll have to either go through with lawsuits or stop suing. I don't see the latter happening.

                • This is without a doubt a protection racket.

                  You mean like the RIAA telling Ohio University that if the university pays $76,000 to the RIAA's expert witness's company, the letters will stop, and then the university pays, and then the letters suddenly stop [blogspot.com]?

                  • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                    by Weaselmancer (533834)

                    Good lord. I hadn't read that before - thanks for the link.

                    The only thing that story is missing is a guy in a cheap pinstripe suit and brass knuckles saying "It would be a shame if somethin' bad should happen to your routers. Yeah. A real shame."

                    Wow. I just keep continuing to be amazed by the sheer criminal audacity of those people. It's just stunning.

          • by Marful (861873) on Friday November 21, 2008 @03:07PM (#25849057)

            Here's the thing, though. The RIAA does have some information. They're not suing people at random--they're suing people that they believe have done something wrong. Their methods are almost certainly unsound, and their theory of what constitutes infringement is questionable. Their evidence for infringement is generally weak. And their attempts to strong-arm people into settlements is also unsettling.

            However, whether this constitutes criminal behavior is also questionable. The RIAA can claim that they have a reasonable belief that they've sued are the right people. They can argue a reasonable belief that they will prevail in court. And they can claim their settlement offers are reasonable within the standards the law currently provides. The RIAA may be wrong about all these things (and probably are), but that doesn't necessarily mean what they're doing is illegal.

            Not everyone who brings a lawsuit and loses is a criminal.

            The problem is that when you use illegal means to gain information to then use to coerce an individual into an unfavorable settlement, else they face great financial damages executed by your behalf against them, and you do this to a great many people, that is called racketeering or extortion. Which is illegal.

            What the RIAA is doing is in effect the same as a Mob boss shaking down businesses in an area for "Protection" money.

          • by Nefarious Wheel (628136) on Friday November 21, 2008 @08:47PM (#25853849) Journal

            What the RIAA is doing is falsely accusing large numbers of people, knowing that only a small number are possibly actionable. This "drift net" technique is indeed "suing people at random" and is not allowed by any court's procedures. They then exercise ex parte discovery (i.e. without the accused being able to answer the charges in court) which is basically rounding up bunches of people and asking them to turn out their pockets on the hope that they'll catch someone.

            They then drop the nonproductive suits (after costing them a packet on legal fees) focus on the remainder, bring suit to assess egregious civil damages, which is counter to the principle of the 8th Amendment, in the core document of US law. Read NYCL's article on the subject at his web site - he's the authority on their techniques.

            So I have to disagree with you -- it does necessarily mean that what they're doing is illegal.

            "Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted." -- Eighth Amendment to the US Constitution.

      • by Zordak (123132) on Friday November 21, 2008 @02:46PM (#25848755) Homepage Journal

        In the USA, we are supposedly innocent until proven guilty in a court of law

        That platitude only applies to criminal law. In civil cases, they just say that the plaintiff bears the burden of proving his case by a preponderance of the evidence (i.e., more likely than not). So to win a suit against the RIAA, you need to prove that it's more likely than not that you didn't pirate any music (e.g., "I don't even own a computer," or "I'm Ted Stevens") along with whatever else the particular law requires.

        • by mcgrew (92797) * on Friday November 21, 2008 @02:59PM (#25848941) Homepage Journal

          Yes, but the point was that the RIAA is accusing you of criminal copyright infringement. If you accuse me of being a thief, you'ld damned well better have a court record saying I was found guilty of stealing or I'll slap a slander suit on your ass so fast it'll make your head spin.

          And unlike stealing or copyright infringement, slander IS a civil suit.

        • That platitude only applies to criminal law. In civil cases, they just say that the plaintiff bears the burden of proving his case

          So, what you are saying is that I am innocent until the plaintiff proves that I am guilty?
          • by Zordak (123132) on Friday November 21, 2008 @04:24PM (#25850133) Homepage Journal

            No, because "innocent" and "guilty" don't mean anything in civil cases. Also, you have to treat "prove" as a term of art. "Prove" means something entirely different in a criminal context than in a civil context. "Innocent until proven guilty" actually means, "you are presumed to be 'not guilty' until the state has cleared all the numerous constitutional hurdles we have intentionally placed in its way to make it very hard to 'prove' that an innocent person is guilty, and then proven beyond a reasonable doubt that you are guilty of the charged crime." It means, "Jury, if you're not sure, if you still have some lingering doubts, if you think, 'He probably did it, but I can see how he could reasonably be innocent,' you must acquit the defendant." It means you are entitled to Sixth Amendment guaranteed trial by jury instead of Seventh Amendment trial by jury guaranteed if you happen to be in federal court and the judge feels like it. It means (in most cases) that a jury of twelve of your peers must vote against you unanimously. It means you are protected against self incrimination and you get the Confrontation Clause. It means your adversary is the Sovereign State, so we're going to stack the cards heavily in your favor. It means you get the benefit of the Exclusionary Rule if the state unlawfully searched you or seized things. It means you're starting out WAY ahead of your adversary, and your adversary must make up all that ground and blow way past you to win.

            "Proof by a preponderance of the evidence" means everybody starts out on equal footing and the plaintiff wins if he inches a little ahead of the defendant.

            So no, they're not remotely the same thing.

            • by Zordak (123132)
              I guess that's a little exaggerated. In civil trials, you don't really start out on equal footing. The defendant starts out slightly ahead (presumption is still with him), and to win, the plaintiff must inch a little bit past him.
              • by Svartalf (2997)

                Uh, not always.

                Look at all the injunctions placed in Civil cases. In many cases you start out uneven the other way or on equal footing.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by LordLucless (582312)
          No, innocent until proven guilty applies in all courts. The difference between civil and criminal court isn't that proof is required, it's the level of proof. Criminal court requires "beyond reasonable doubt". Civil requires "a preponderance of evidence". Regardless of the requirement, the defendant is still innocent until that requirement is met. (IANAL, etc)
    • by zappepcs (820751) on Friday November 21, 2008 @02:02PM (#25848147) Journal

      I'd say that NYCL has enough information there (see my sig) to show that everyone who has been accused was accused under false pretense, without evidence, or accused for what someone else had actually done. While there certainly has been file sharing, and accordingly some loss of revenue to the recording industry. Neither the amount of the loss nor the act of copyright infringement via distribution has been proven. Both are exaggerated by the RIAA legal team. The only thing they have to show is that their assignees accessed other people's computers and downloaded copyrighted works. If you ask me, that's not cricket!

      The RIAA continues to show the style and grace of a skydiver with a ripped chute and no backup plan.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by TooMuchToDo (882796)

        I look forward to your replacement of Slashdot car analogies with skydiving analogies ;)

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by mcgrew (92797) *

        While there certainly has been file sharing, and accordingly some loss of revenue to the recording industry.

        That's not a proven fact. As Lawrence Lessig says in his book (I just read it last week) Free Culture [nowis.com] (link is to HTML version of the book, which is published under a CC license),

        File sharers share different kinds of content. We can divide these different kinds into four types.

        A. There are some who use sharing networks as substitutes for purchasing content. Thus, when a new Madonna CD is released, rat

        • by zappepcs (820751)


          While there certainly has been file sharing, and accordingly some loss of revenue to the recording industry.

          That's not a proven fact. As Lawrence Lessig says in his book (I just read it last week) Free Culture [nowis.com] (link is to HTML version of the book, which is published under a CC license),

          The meaning of 'some loss of revenue' in this case is not meant to indicate that the loss is sufficient or large enough to give cause for the RIAA's legal crusade against grandparents and kids. 'Some loss' could mean as little as a few dollars or any amount you want to guess at. The point is that it is unknown. Even Mr Lessig points out that some people will download instead of buying. This is the part where some loss of revenue occurs. It would be easier to estimate the grans of sand on a beach than to est

    • by UnknowingFool (672806) on Friday November 21, 2008 @02:09PM (#25848245)
      There already many cases where this has occurred. Lindor, Anderson, Foster to name a few. However these people that actually persevered in court had to spend years and tens of thousands in legal fees to clear their name. Add to that the documented cases where the RIAA sued people who didn't have computers, dead people, etc. Most people I suspected just paid the fine instead going through the whole ordeal. While it may not be successful, the discovery process may unearth what we have long suspected: The RIAA does not adequately investigates someone before suing them, does not dismiss lawsuits when it appears that they may have erred, and will continue to abuse the legal system in this way.
      • There already many cases where this has occurred. Lindor, Anderson, Foster to name a few. However these people that actually persevered in court had to spend years and tens of thousands in legal fees to clear their name. Add to that the documented cases where the RIAA sued people who didn't have computers, dead people, etc. Most people I suspected just paid the fine instead going through the whole ordeal. While it may not be successful, the discovery process may unearth what we have long suspected: The RIAA does not adequately investigates someone before suing them, does not dismiss lawsuits when it appears that they may have erred, and will continue to abuse the legal system in this way.

        Well according to this guy [blogspot.com] their investigative methods are untested, have never been accepted in the scientific community, have never been published, were not subjected to peer review, are completely secret, and ... he invented them himself, out of his own head. And according to this guy [beckermanlegal.com] the "instructions and parameters" for the investigations were given to the investigators by the lawyers.

        So why wouldn't you think the RIAA's investigation is reliable, UnknowingFool?

        • I was merely pointing out that the RIAA doesn't adequately investigate anyone before suing them. Given the limited information we have so far, it appears that the RIAA knows that their methods cannot accurately identify an individual but proceeds anyway. Again, even if this suit isn't successful in the end, the discovery part will shed light on this.
          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            I was merely pointing out that the RIAA doesn't adequately investigate anyone before suing them. Given the limited information we have so far, it appears that the RIAA knows that their methods cannot accurately identify an individual but proceeds anyway. Again, even if this suit isn't successful in the end, the discovery part will shed light on this.

            And I was agreeing with you. I guess I should have included the ":)".

        • Mr Beckerman, I mean this in the most sincere way I can..

          According to Civil law (what I understand, IANAL) one can be in err if one is 51% wrong, and can be judged as such. If the RIAA was suing a family for illegal uploading, could it not be seen that regardless who did it that the owner of the connection is at fault for either condoning it, or allowing it to happen via not setting basic security? Isn't one who buys the connection responsible for their endpoint?

          Would the court entertain this idea?

    • by pentalive (449155)

      Perhaps those who paid the "make it go away fee" to the RIAA and thus were never in court?

    • by Aphoxema (1088507) * on Friday November 21, 2008 @02:47PM (#25848765) Homepage Journal

      Copying music isn't something that really leaves fingerprints and you certainly can't get caught with the blood on the knife.

      In many cases an IP can identify a household (assuming they don't have someone exploiting their WiFi), but it can NEVER identify the individual, it's impossible to get proof for that without 'breaking' into someone's computer and finding relevant material, and even that's difficult to prove hasn't been forged because it'll always be the same 1s and 0s.

      This is also a civil case, unblemished authorities aren't here to collect blood samples and take pictures of the murder scene, there's no trustworthy neutral party like there normally is (or is expected to be) in a murder/theft/whatever investigation. It's Citizen VS Citizen, and the RIAA has yet to prove that it has any legal right to conduct the investigations it has.

      What's worse is they're targeting colleges and dial up users, and even some DSL and cable users' IPs change often. You have to get another entity involved in these situations, so it becomes Citizen VS Innocent Mediator when the RIAA tries to get service providers involved, something that hasn't really happened much historically in anything.

      It is absolutely vital people distinguish the RIAA separately from qualified agencies. The RIAA is another you and me, not an organization we voted for or was appointed into existence by those we voted for.

  • Stating the Obvious (Score:5, Interesting)

    by whisper_jeff (680366) on Friday November 21, 2008 @01:59PM (#25848089)
    Stating the obvious here but it is my very, very strong hope that the judge that presides over this (and the other) case see things through to completion and agree that the RIAA's tactics _do_ amount to RICO violations. It's about time that they get served the counter-justice that they deserve.
  • by rzei (622725) on Friday November 21, 2008 @02:01PM (#25848131)

    I wonder how many times has this been pointed out that someone should roll up a RICO class action suit against RIAA?

    Great that it is finally coming to life :) Real life imitating slashdot :)

  • Obviously File Sharer is interchangeable with witch here... VILLAGER #1: We have found a witch. May we burn her? CROWD: Burn her! Burn! Burn her! Burn her! BEDEVERE: How do you know she is a witch? VILLAGER #2: She looks like one. CROWD: Right! Yeah! Yeah! BEDEVERE: Bring her forward. WITCH: I'm not a witch. I'm not a witch. BEDEVERE: Uh, but you are dressed as one. WITCH: They dressed me up like this. CROWD: Augh, we didn't! We didn't... WITCH: And this isn't my nose. It's a false one. BEDEVERE:
  • I'd love to see the feds swoop in and seize all the RIAA's 'base'. If they can do it to you and me without a conviction, why can't they swoop on the RIAA right now?
  • by jsse (254124) on Friday November 21, 2008 @02:19PM (#25848371) Homepage Journal
    I must have woken up in the wrong parallel universe.

    Hi there. I'm new here.
  • Now let's see if they can actually make this stick.

    If they do, I'll be clapping till my hands fall off.

  • by swschrad (312009) on Friday November 21, 2008 @02:25PM (#25848465) Homepage Journal

    these RIAA guys have been acting like burglars on crack for a long time, and now they have to defend themselves.

  • by CodeBuster (516420) on Friday November 21, 2008 @02:32PM (#25848555)
    The issue of RIAA RICO has been discussed at least twice before here [slashdot.org] and here [slashdot.org] on Slashdot and Ars wrote an article [arstechnica.com] last year explaining why a RICO suit was unlikely to succeed against the RIAA, scumbags though they may be.
  • So for discovery I would like a complete inventory of all material the RIAA claims domain. This inventory is to include the original recording information, who, where, and contracts. All assignments and associations since the original recording that have resulted in the present rights claims. Also this list is to be updated quarterly during the proceedings of the trial.

    In addition a complete copy of the material is also requested. They can make it available directly to my iPod id.

  • there's gotta be a rat somewhere feeding information to the feds. i grew up in the old school, where made RIAA guys would never flip.

  • by dcavanaugh (248349) on Friday November 21, 2008 @02:47PM (#25848771) Homepage

    Years ago, I had a cable modem. In the beginning, all customers had static IPs. I had several lengthy outages that ultimately led to ditching cable in favor of slower but more reliable DSL. One of the more interesting problems occurred when someone else decided (or was mistakenly assigned) to use my static IP address. Obviously, I had service trouble (as I suspect the other person did as well). The ISP's solution was to assign a NEW address to ME.

    The interesting part is this: On some networks, it is possible to assume a static address that you did NOT receive via DHCP and it just might work. It may or may not be subject to somebody else's DHCP lease. Even if it is, the other person's computer may be off. In my case, it all happened by accident. Maybe it's not always an accident.

    Between the static address, DHCP leases, ISP bumbling on the management of either one, combined with both intentional and unintentional user mistakes about configuration, there is more than a reasonable doubt about the identity of ANYONE based on simply an IP address. And of course a MAC address can be easily faked.

    A friend of mine received an RIAA nastygram sent by his cable ISP. Fortunately, this guy kept logs of his DHCP address assignments and quickly proved the ISPs records to be false. It seems the address used for the downloading was assigned to my friend AFTER the alleged downloads took place. The cable clowns never bothered to compare the date/time of the alleged activity with their logs; they just launched a nastygram to whoever had the current address. Morons.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Reziac (43301) *

      People in low places claim that there are ways to find and make use of other folks' IP addresses, and IIRC part of it was much as you say -- "wrong lease" and "live but not presently in use". That was some years ago but I doubt it's changed much.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I worked for a while as a programmer on an ISP billing and provisioning application. What I found out is this:

      Every address you get from an ISP is DHCP'ed. Static IP's aren't static. They're just reserved DHCP addresses. That's why "static" IP's from the cable company require you to tell the ISP your MAC address. They're just setting up a DHCP reservation that gives your MAC address the same IP each time it renews.

      With DSL, they can just use caller ID to verify the line, so they don't need your MAC address.

      • Static IP's aren't static. They're just reserved DHCP addresses.

        As a network admin and a former ISP tech, I'm entirely unclear on the distinction you're trying to make. A DHCP server configured to allocate a given IP to the a certain customer 100% of the time is as static as you'd ever need it to be. Sure, you could change the DHCP server. You could also reconfigure the ISP's end of a T1. Functionally, there's no difference.

        • DHCP assigns IP addresses, sometimes based on the MAC address of the request. It does not authenticate or establish the identity of anything. The address assigned by DHCP is not necessarily the ONLY address that can be used at the moment. Clients that have their own idea of an IP address can ignore DHCP -- with unpredictable results. A bad person might take their DHCP assignment and use it to determine the proper subnet and default route for a unilateral static assignment in the same subnet. Depending o

  • And then.... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Kleen13 (1006327)
    So what happens if the RICO action succeeds? Do all those who settled/lost get their money back?
    • by danzona (779560)
      So what happens if the RICO action succeeds?

      From Wikipedia:
      Under RICO, a person who is a member of an enterprise that has committed any two of 35 crimes--27 federal crimes and 8 state crimes--within a 10-year period can be charged with racketeering. Those found guilty of racketeering can be fined up to $25,000 and/or sentenced to 20 years in prison per racketeering count. In addition, the racketeer must forfeit all ill-gotten gains and interest in any business gained through a pattern of "racketeering
  • by mlwmohawk (801821) on Friday November 21, 2008 @03:25PM (#25849363)

    I sort of got a bit of a bad rap for a post I made yesterday calling for extreme disrespect and outright harassment against lawyers and executives involved in these law suits. Let me restate my position with a little more of my thinking so my point is a little more clear.

    These organizations are performing acts of terror. They aren't using bombs, they are using the courts.

    They bribe (oops, "lobby") politicians to pass outrageous laws that defy common sense.

    They use the immense power and legal shielding of multi-billion dollar multi-national corporations to bully innocent people who have no hope of defending themselves. Destroying lives with no conscience what so ever.

    Because of the legal liability shield of the corporation, they get to do this to people with complete impunity.

    Why do we let F*&^*ckers like this do that? If a bully picks a fight with you, do you fight him on his home turf? No, you move the fight where you can better defend yourself. In our case, that's the street.

    Ruin their lives, make them pay for what they do. Do you think the courts will? Do you think the politicians will?

    These people are worse than any mugger. They are worse than any street thug. They walk around in expensive suits and ruin the lives of helpless people they accuse without credible evidence merely to create fear.

    It isn't until it is clear that unethical behavior will not be tolerated by society and that there is a price to pay for it, will we ever regain the freedoms we have lost to corporations like this. They can buy the politicians, but they can't buy the good will of society that human beings need to survive. Reject them everywhere. Shun them. It is the *only* way we will ever rid ourselves of these parasites.

  • Now let's go after the oil companies, banks, auto makers and congress.
  • by bzipitidoo (647217) <bzipitidoo@yahoo.com> on Friday November 21, 2008 @03:48PM (#25849635) Journal

    I imagine many of the accused are indeed guilty. Jammie Thomas, for instance.

    But the RIAA has been so convinced of their objective guilt that they've failed to see why they should have to prove it. Everyone knows everyone is guilty of filesharing, right? Why do we need to prove anything? And consequently some genuine innocents have been snared in the dragnet.

    The RIAA has really made a mess of what case they had in the court of public opinion, which ultimately counts for the most. "Of the people, by the people, for the people." How about them apples if they manage to get the public so riled up that a constitutional amendment like the 21st (revocation of Prohibition), or the 13th (abolition of slavery), gets rammed through? We're nowhere near a revocation of intellectual property, yet, and I think that's primarily because it isn't possible to enforce their vision. And they still have some brainwashed masses on their side. For the most part the people on the RIAA's side are the ones with dreams of becoming authors or musicians, those who have not yet experienced the realities. And those who have been convinced that copying is stealing.

    This RICO lawsuit can only make the RIAA look even worse. Just the mere fact it has been filed is big, never mind the outcome.

  • by zogger (617870)

    As in price fixing and collusion, then it could be open to all legal music purchasers. Where are the *cheap* legal downloads, and the much cheaper music on disks, that modern technology indicates is quite possible? And no, 99 cents for a few megs download is not cheap. They could have sidestepped most of this piracy nonsense if they would have radically dropped prices "per song unit" as technology changed and made it dramatically cheaper to "manufacture" and distribute digital copies.

    A nickle

    • by cdrguru (88047)

      Nice idea. And, while we're at it, where is the corresponding improvement in programming? In the 1970's programmers were paid $30-50 an hour to code in Assembly language on IBM hardware. For a moment let's assume that your average Perl or Python programmer is 100x more productive than someone writing in 370 Assembler. Therefore, the cost for programming should be 100x less, right?

      Unfortunately, we are pretty much past the 100 million sales mark for recorded music. So let's say they charge $0.10 per son

  • When the government uses RICO they invoke a pre-prosecution confiscation of all your property. Will that happen this time too?

    If so, then we don't need to wait for the trial to start rejoicing. (And probably might as well celebrate now, as I bet that they'll just disband the RIAA, and the backers will start a new organization.)

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