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RIAA Walks Away From Another "Discovery" Case 164

Posted by kdawson
from the seeking-the-light-switch dept.
NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "You may recall that the RIAA walked away last week from one of their 'discovery' cases seeking the identities of 'John Does' who attended Rhode Island College. We have just learned that they walked away from another one, BMG Music v. Does 1-14, in Greensboro, North Carolina. 2 of the 14 John Does had settled, but the other 12 — who hung tough — will never be identified to the RIAA lawyers and will not have to pay any 'settlement.' This adds fuel to the debate over whether the RIAA has finally seen the light or is still sneaking around in the dark."
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RIAA Walks Away From Another "Discovery" Case

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  • Objection (Score:5, Funny)

    by sakdoctor (1087155) on Sunday January 18, 2009 @08:21AM (#26505515) Homepage

    I object to the verb 'sneaking' in TFA.
    It suggests purpose, strategy, and some level of intelligence.

  • by mpe (36238) on Sunday January 18, 2009 @08:30AM (#26505555)
    I suspect the two people who paid up are now wishing that they hadn't.
    • by upuv (1201447) on Sunday January 18, 2009 @08:50AM (#26505633) Journal

      I second that statement.

      I actually got a letter a little over a year ago which was one of these you are in deep s$%t for downloading music. Only issue it was addressed to "Occupant". I almost wet myself laughing. In my over exuberance I tore up the letter. I will probably regret that move for many years. It is something to be framed.

      The best part is. I have never ever downloaded music from the net illegally. I still like that physical quality of a CD.

      Oh Nothing happened. There was ZERO follow up on the letter by the sender.

      • re: RIAA

        Nuke them 'til they glow, and then shoot them in the dark. They are no better than communists.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by jc42 (318812)

          They are no better than communists.

          One could argue that the RIAA is a lot worse than the Communists were. Consider the Soviet Union: The Communists were voted out of power despite all the vote rigging that the party in power always does everywhere, and they accepted the vote. This wasn't a fluke; it has happened in most of the countries that had Communist governments. The RIAA and MPAA were never elected to their positions, and we can't vote them out. They'll be around longer than any Communist governme

          • by Ihmhi (1206036)

            Yeah, bringing the Internet under control works out REAL well.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by JackieBrown (987087)

            I guess you are not counting all those millions killed under the State as a "bad" thing.

          • They are no better than communists.

            One could argue that the RIAA is a lot worse than the Communists were. Consider the Soviet Union: The Communists were voted out of power despite all the vote rigging that the party in power always does everywhere, and they accepted the vote. This wasn't a fluke; it has happened in most of the countries that had Communist governments. The RIAA and MPAA were never elected to their positions, and we can't vote them out. They'll be around longer than any Communist government, and there's not a whole lot we can do about it. They are private corporations created by other private corporations to "coordinate" their business so that no real market could develop. Judicious bribery, uh, I mean campaign contributions, led to the draconian copyright laws that helped prevent a market in music or movies.

            Maybe the move to the Internet will end this whole centrally-controlled system. Or maybe they'll find a way to bring it under control. Stay tuned ...

            Don't forget, through the DMCA the "central authority" at the RIAA issues forth the command "thou shalt build X device X way, or not at all".

            A command economy under the command of one corporation is no different then a command economy under the control of an authoritarian government.

            Oh wait, it's worse, because, in this case, they own the media, and we're still "free" because we elect people who will loyally stand by proclaiming every day activities "theft"

      • by PhreakOfTime (588141) on Sunday January 18, 2009 @10:02AM (#26505985) Homepage

        I wish you would have saved it as well. It seems to be a well kept secret of how often this type of intimidation is used under the guise of 'legal threats'.

        A year ago, I received a Cease and Desist letter about some domains that I owned. The level of accuracy was similar, as it was addressed to my name but a different address, apparently pulled from the phone book. The letter was threatening all sorts of off the wall things; civil charges, punitive damages, and CRIMINAL charges among others. You can read the letter here sent by
        Caton Commercial [demystify.info]

        Sure, I could have played along and used the same legal system to smack down the lawyer for making such unfounded threats(it would fall under ethical rules of the bar assn), but instead I decided to post it for all to read.

        In that period of time, when searching for the name of the company who sent it, the letter comes up in the top 4 results, along with a link to all the court cases the company is involved in in the local county courthouses publishing of cases. According to my logs, almost 10,000 people have read the letter since its posting.
        oops...

        • by Rasit (967850) on Sunday January 18, 2009 @11:57AM (#26506959)
          It is even more fun now that you can vote up/down certain search result. I already voted your site up, I wonder how many votes it would take to get your site above theirs.
        • by wvmarle (1070040)
          Reading that letter: can it be that they are simply after the domain names stated in this letter? That is quite a list of domain names which resemble the name of their client. To me it sounds just like a way to try to get you to give them those domains. Adding some claims about possible libel and so to soften you up.
          • If you are interested, there is more back story to this. You can read some of my previous posts, if you care to learn more. At least more from my side of the story, as every story always has more than one side.

            Thanks for reading. Pass it on

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Arancaytar (966377)

        My name is John Occupant you insensitive clod! :)

        • You jest, but lots of people have named based upon location or job or relationship. My last name means "home" in German or Dutch. (Actually the literally translation is "hedge" but it refers to a person's home.)

    • I suspect the two people who paid up are now wishing that they hadn't.

      That was my first thought as well.

      • Is iit over yet? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Weaselmancer (533834) on Sunday January 18, 2009 @12:38PM (#26507355)

        Any chance they could sue to get their money back? If the settlement letter they paid off is bogus (and it demonstrably is in this case since the RIAA dropped the discovery and walked away from it, which says they had no intention of following through with prosecution) it seems to me that the RIAA gained the money through something resembling fraud.

        I'm not sure if it would be fraud, or extortion, or whatever - but it just seems to me that the RIAA doesn't have a legal claim on the money. "Pay us and we won't take you to court." So someone pays. But they didn't take the non-paying people to court and dropped the case. So the settlement letter is absolutely bogus. Shouldn't be too difficult a point to make in front of a judge. IANAL though, so I might be very wrong, but it seems that way.

        • Unfortunately the courts are awash with multi-million dollar suits against corporations that kill people physically instead of just emotionally. Don't worry, eventually the RIAA will resort to that too, but not just now.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 18, 2009 @09:13AM (#26505729)

    As has been posted here, the RIAA is changing its target from suing individuals to (trying to) sue ISPs who do not do the their dirty work (checking, tracking, denying access) for them.

    Small ISPs who cannot do that (too few customers -> no business) will simply die from the RIAAs litigations, and the bigger ones (who can deal with a few less customers) are softer targets, as they have got less to loose (as opposed to an individual which can loose upto a few times his yearly income), especially not when simply ending a customers contract on the first sign of RIAA related trouble.

    Lets hope the Judges are allready sensitivised to the RIAA to such a level that even seeing their paperwork will give them an instant itch ...

  • by meist3r (1061628) on Sunday January 18, 2009 @09:52AM (#26505919)
    All that retreat mumbo-jumbo at the moment is just the precursor to what will be brought against the people in 2009 and beyond. Obama has selected an RIAA supporting ass. attourney general [cnet.com] with David Ogden and now that the industry has a seat on the presidents team and wan't to "cooperate" with ISPs they don't need these awful lawsuits anymore.

    My piratey sense is tingling ... I sense a great disturbance in the warez.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by u38cg (607297)
      Do you know that David Ogden personally supports the position of the RIAA or do you just presume that because you happen to know he worked for them? If the latter, do you also presume that lawyers who work for murderers and rapists are also themselves keen on rape and murder?
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by sexybomber (740588)

        Do you know that David Ogden personally supports the position of the RIAA or do you just presume that because you happen to know he worked for them?

        I think that can be safely assumed. Nobody put a gun to his head and forced him to represent the RIAA. Lawyers are free to refuse cases if they can't reconcile the need for zealous representation with their own personal code of ethics. (Except public defenders, but that's a whole different ball game, and beside the point here.)

        So yes, Mr. Ogden probably does

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by meist3r (1061628)
        The first time I heard the name David Ogden I didn't know either. Then I went on Scroogle.org and found myself some documents with his name on them. Lots of them were from copyright litigation cases and such. He effectively assisted in the legal proceedings that lead to sentences in favor of the RIAA and other organisations. That to me, personally, acts as proof. I obviously can't say what he'll do once in office but his team has pretty much been called. Read the article I linked my first post and then do s
        • I obviously can't say what he'll do once in office but his team has pretty much been called...

          I know what he'll do.

          he'll get right into that office near the boiler and grumble about his stapler.

          Seriously, the guy is at the third tier!

          My mother is a claims adjuster for a subsection of healthcare coverage, maybe I should burst into her room and start kicking her all over the place because no insurance company will cover my chronic condition?

          • by meist3r (1061628)

            My mother is a claims adjuster for a subsection of healthcare coverage, maybe I should burst into her room and start kicking her all over the place because no insurance company will cover my chronic condition?

            So you're comparing a one-in-a-few-thousand claims adjuster's position for an insurance company with "Deputy Attorney General" which according to the all-knowing trash heap is "the second-highest-ranking official in the United States Department of Justice". Pretty fancy boiler he'll stand around ...

            And if your Mom did coincidently put lots of her work into refusing chronic patients and advising other adjusters to do as well?

        • by u38cg (607297)
          Congratulations on completely missing the point (in fairness, so did everyone else that replied). A lawyer's personal opinions have no bearing on the position he puts forward. Maybe he does believe that the RIAA deserve everything they ask for in court. Or maybe he just realises it's a tricky area, with lots of scope for nailing down points of law, and he fancies being a part of that.
          • A lawyer's personal opinions have no bearing on the position he puts forward.

            As someone who's been a litigator for 30 years I beg to differ.

            Any lawyer who says things he does not believe in has a fool for a client.

  • NYCL, does it? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by multimediavt (965608) on Sunday January 18, 2009 @12:21PM (#26507195)

    This adds fuel to the debate over whether the RIAA has finally seen the light or is still sneaking around in the dark.

    Does it? Really? Or, does it point to them just not having the money in this downward spiraling economy to continue these frivolous lawsuits while they, in parallel, scramble to redesign their digital content schemes?

    I have a feeling that this is going to be a lull for a few years while they regroup, retask and come at the file sharers again, or seek legislation to aid their fight; the latter being less likely under the incoming administration. The RIAA (and MPAA) are not going down without one hell of a fight. This type of battle may be ending, but evil never sleeps and is constantly trying to devise new ways to overcome good. These idiots are just confused and don't see the good in what file sharing does for their (still growing) sales.

    To quote Frank Herbert, "This is all far from over..."

  • Nope, they won't quit.
    Yes, the RIAA is ridiculous. Yes, they treat humans like scum. Yes, they continuously do things which makes our hair stand on end. Yes, they will continue to do their best to create new, even more idiotic laws.

    And that's their job. As long as they keep getting paid by the industry, they will keep standing there as The Bad Guys To Hate. Instead of, say, the industry responsible for this.

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