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RIAA Lied To Congress About New Filesharing Suits 204

Posted by timothy
from the honestly-they're-all-at-the-cleaners dept.
NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "On December 23, 2008, the RIAA's Mitch Bainwol sent a letter to the Judiciary and Commerce Committees of both the House and Senate, falsely representing to them that the RIAA 'discontinued initiating new lawsuits in August.' A copy of the letter is online (PDF). In fact, as many of you already know, the RIAA brought hundreds of new lawsuits since August. See, e.g., these 40 or so cases which just represent some of the cases brought in December." Maybe they're just taking a broad view of the world "initiate."
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RIAA Lied To Congress About New Filesharing Suits

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  • Hmm (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 06, 2009 @05:13AM (#26749507)

    I'm riddled with surprise.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      As my brother would say, "I find that shocking." "Really?" "No."

      RIAA should be prosecuted for perjury and contempt of Congress.

      • As Captain Renault would say, "I'm shocked! SHOCKED!"

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        RIAA should be prosecuted for perjury and contempt of Congress.

        That would require a Justice Department which is not on the RIAA's Payroll.

        Don't ya love that CHANGE?

        • Made more fun by that article the other day pointing out that some top RIAA lawyer became something like deputy attorney general (too tired to find it tho)
        • Isn't the DOJ one of the prosecutors in the RIAA v. John Doe cases? Yep some change. And then there's this: "RIAA serves defendant with summons and complaint on January 20th" - I thought RIAA was supposed to stop this stuff? http://recordingindustryvspeople.blogspot.com/2009_02_01_archive.html#1448276563095039304%23links [blogspot.com]

          And finally: "Terrorised by the labels" - http://www.p2pnet.net/story/18386 [p2pnet.net]

          Britanny, 18, is not a fake RIAA statistic. In a letter to her mother and father, she writes, "Thank you for covering for me. I'm sorry I ask if the money all the time. I'm sorry that I got you and me into all this trouble with the RIAA. If I could do this all over again I would be a lot smarter about it. I feel like I've let you all down. I let myself down. All this stuff makes me feel like an idiot. I feel like all this crap is taking away from your lives and the rest of the family. I'm sorry. I love you, and I'm glad that you have supported me and basically taken care of all this crap for me."

          "February 3, 2009, is the ultimatum day; the day the RIAA's extortionate demand to settle a file-sharing threat for $7500.00+ or be sued in Federal Court in the Western District of Michigan will expire.

          "My daughter is the target of this particular attack."

          Bastards. I now quote the Declaration of Independence: "Governments are instituted among Men, deriving th

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 06, 2009 @05:14AM (#26749515)

    Is lying to Congress illegal? Is it considered perjury?

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by auric_dude (610172)
      No, just par for the course.
    • Depends. Are you a professional baseball player accused of using steroids?

      If so, yes, lying to congress is illegal.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        And if you're a president lying to Congress about Saddam Hussein trying to buy yellow cake uranium in Niger, and thereby causing thousands of deaths, it's legal?
        • by CelticWhisper (601755) <celticwhisper.gmail@com> on Friday February 06, 2009 @11:14AM (#26752017)

          Come on now. Everyone knows the cake is a lie.

    • by noundi (1044080) on Friday February 06, 2009 @06:40AM (#26749905)

      Is lying to Congress illegal? Is it considered perjury?

      No but in RIAA's defence I think it's mandatory.

    • by Yez70 (924200)
      Isn't that what they impeached Clinton for - lieing to congress? Mitch Bainwol needs to sit in jail for a year or two and think about it.
    • If it was, the jails would be more full than usual. Perhaps it's time to implement perjury in this context!

    • by dkleinsc (563838) on Friday February 06, 2009 @09:01AM (#26750553) Homepage

      Is lying to Congress illegal? Is it considered perjury?

      I do not recall.

    • by NicknamesAreStupid (1040118) on Friday February 06, 2009 @10:01AM (#26751005)
      It is illegal for people who testify before Congress under oath to lie (perjury). However, there is no law against organizations misrepresenting themselves in such a way. Corporations do not take an oath, people do. Therefore, if you can construct an organization that can misrepresent itself through its people without those individuals who testify under oath actually testifying a known (to themselves) falsehood, then you have a legal loophole. You might think that in order to construct such an organization there must be a conscious and concerted effort among the leaders to create such a deception, but that is not necessarily true. If the charter of the company is in line with its need for self-preservation and sustained growth, you might envision how its "misguided" practices might ignore the rights of others and the laws that govern people. There are other remedies for corporations, but they are treated quite differently (and more differentially) than people. This may not seem right because it shouldn't be. However, half of all murders go unsolved, and that is not right but it is true.
    • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

      by mcgrew (92797) *

      iANAL but IINM they can be charged with "Contempt of Congress". Except they can't, because the fix is in, the RIAA has bribed "your" and "my" representatives with campaign cash. There isn't a snowball in hell's chance of these scumbags ever being charged with anything.

      You have no representation in the US government. Only corporations and the very rich are represented.

      OT but on the same note, Madoff will never be put in a cell despite his stealing fifty billion dollars.

    • It might be if you receive a BJ from a woman in a blue dress and lie about it.

    • by BCW2 (168187)
      It probably is, but only when under oath.

      Then again it would be hard to enforce since it is almost impossible to find a member of Congress who knows how to recognize truth.
  • Congress will pass whatever the RIAA wants

    • Slashbots will post whatever populisms they want.
  • Somehow I doubt (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    that this will result in any form of purgery charges for said lawyer, or any form of legal consequence.

    The RIAA seems to enjoy making a mockery of the legal system and legal process.

    • Re:Somehow I doubt (Score:4, Insightful)

      by johanw (1001493) on Friday February 06, 2009 @05:30AM (#26749589)
      They have learned a lot from their teachers in the scientology cult, and are now perfecting it. It's about time that China (I can see noone else with sufficient power) drops IP laws altogether and forces the rest of the world to just cope with it. At least they have a threat the US fears: if they dump all their US dollars the yearly US inflation will reach 4-digit numbers.
      • Re:Somehow I doubt (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 06, 2009 @05:40AM (#26749643)

        if they dump all their US dollars the yearly US inflation will reach 4-digit numbers.

        They can't start dumping anything because they have a shitload of dollars: If the dollar goes down, so does the Chinese economy. The same goes for most economies of course but China is by far more reliant on the dollar than others...

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          If the dollar goes down, so does the Chinese economy. The same goes for most economies of course but China is by far more reliant on the dollar than others...

          If China destroys the American dollar, they have a huge manufacturing base that will be happy to sell goods for Euros.

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by johanw (1001493)
          Dumping their dollars (and losing their value in the process) is still far cheaper for them than to start a conventional war. And what other are those dollard good for otherwise? It's not that they have any realistic chance of ever spending most of them for real products or services.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Dan Ost (415913)

            It's not that they have any realistic chance of ever spending most of them for real products or services.

            You mean, besides buying oil with it?

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by adamchou (993073)

          China is by far more reliant on the dollar than others...

          depending on how you define reliance, that would actually be wrong. Since 2005, the renmibi has been pegged to a basket of currencies [wikipedia.org]. There are however numerous other countries whose currencies are pegged to solely the USD [wikipedia.org] still.

          but then again, in today's world economy, everyone is reliant upon the US economy

      • by Shakrai (717556)

        It's about time that China (I can see noone else with sufficient power) drops IP laws altogether and forces the rest of the world to just cope with it

        You know, there is a happy medium somewhere between "absolutely no IP laws whatsoever" and lifetime + 100 year copyrights. And if China did that they'd instigate a trade world that would drag down the global economy and do them at least as much (if not more) harm as it would to the US or anybody else.

        • by jank1887 (815982)
          Too big to fail. Applies to national economies as well as big banks and automakers. Gotta love it.
      • by jbeaupre (752124)

        1) They would not be creating new dollars, so it would not directly create inflation (They can't directly increase the pool of dollars).

        2) They have dollar denominated assets. If they try to quickly dump them, it depresses the value of those assets, creating a bargain for the buyers. An unless it's the Fed buying up the assets, it temporarily sucks up a ton of cash from the economy. Together, that creates deflation. Arguably worse than inflation.

        2a) However, there is now a glut of US debt instruments,

  • RIAA Lied (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward

    In other news grass is green, bears defecate in the woods. More at 11.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 06, 2009 @05:33AM (#26749607)

    According to this [gizmodo.com] link on Gizmodo.

  • Promissory estoppel? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Andy_R (114137) on Friday February 06, 2009 @05:36AM (#26749625) Homepage Journal

    Does this make promissory estoppel a defence in these new cases? (I didn't know what it was either until it was mentioned on /. a while back, basically it's legalese for 'hey no fair, they said they wouldn't sue if I did it'.)

    • by adamchou (993073) on Friday February 06, 2009 @06:22AM (#26749833)
      IANAL.... but my gf is =)

      If my understanding is correct

      1) Promissory estoppel is used for contract law and there was no contract initiated by the RIAA and the people so it wouldn't be valid here

      2) The document linked to on Mr. Beckerman's site says they discontinued the lawsuits. They didn't specify a length of time that it would remain discontinued for so it'd seem to me they're free to start again when they wanted.

      I'm not trying to take the RIAA's side... just making a point. I still hate them with a passion.
      • by Kjella (173770) on Friday February 06, 2009 @06:59AM (#26749995) Homepage

        1) Promissory estoppel is used for contract law and there was no contract initiated by the RIAA and the people so it wouldn't be valid here

        Actually, it can apply if you make public statements or behavior that leads the general public to perform acts that'd otherwise be copyright infringement. It has happened with fictional works that have been presented as fact, when the author later tried to claim copyright infringement it was barred by estoppel (Arica Institute, Inc. v. Palmer, 970 F.2d 1067 (2d Cir. 1992).

        However, there is a considerable gap between the RIAA publicly admitting to changing legal strategy and the RIAA giving implicit permission to non-commercial copying of their works. As long as tjey don't give the impression that this is legal, whether infringements can be effectively prosecuted or not, I don't see that estoppel applies.

        • As long as tjey don't give the impression that this is legal, whether infringements can be effectively prosecuted or not, I don't see that estoppel applies.

          IANAL also - however, estoppel doesn't have to give the impression that it's legal, only that they won't pursue the legal remedies made available to them.

          For instance, if I own Killer Widgets and publicly state that individuals can freely copy the utility for personal use, I can still file copyright claims against MS, Dell, or any other company that cop

      • by YourExperiment (1081089) on Friday February 06, 2009 @07:23AM (#26750109)

        IANAL.... but my gf is =)

        Yeah, my gf loves that too. Oh wait, sorry...

      • Exactly right.

        the lawyers all took a coffee break, and that counted as a cessation of lawsuits.

        of course, then their caffeine riddled corpsus's began again.

      • IANAL.... but my gf is =)

        Nice to see someone screwing a lawyer for a change...

      • by geobeck (924637)

        They didn't specify a length of time that it would remain discontinued...

        So the fine print might have been "We will not initiate any more file sharing lawsuits*

        *until we finish typing this sentence."

        Kind of like a local radio DJ's insistence that the Vancouver Canucks are on a one-game winning streak, and are going to stay on a roll, continuing the streak until tomorrow night--the next time they play.

  • by macraig (621737) <(mark.a.craig) (at) (gmail.com)> on Friday February 06, 2009 @06:29AM (#26749861)

    ... and use good old-fashioned violence. The effectiveness of physical violence in achieving goals is much underrated these days. I seem to recall the American Revolution involved a bit of violence, didn't it, and we trumpet the success and worthiness of that violence in every classroom in the country, right? A second revolution in these not-so-entirely-United States seems a bit overdue. We have more than a few barons and overlords and Captains of Industry just begging to be introduced to a guillotine. I think the folks in Texas would readily understand this notion that some people just need killin' (http://bennettandbennett.com/blog/2007/11/texas-murder-sentences-probation-to.html).

    What sort of revolutionary vigilante violence might we visit upon the RIAA's clients and its sympathizers in Congress?

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      Shoot the RIAA CEO in the head. I promise you his replacement will be afraid and discontinue the extortionate letters to citizens.

    • by MarkvW (1037596)

      Willing to kill and die . . . for pop music?

      Be sure to keep your firearms WAY separate from your ammo, dude.

    • by couchslug (175151)

      The RIAA markets shit music that it invents to entertain morons, so refresh us on why this is worth a fight?

      Revolution wouldn't fight for access to crap we should not want in the first place, but create new, free entertainment. The RIAA punishing consumers of its nasty products is useful in the way that proprietary software companies making their users experience suck is useful. I approve of both "strategies".

      Fighting the RIAA is exactly like fighting for easy access to warez when the goal should be to repl

    • by G00F (241765)

      I believe one of the biggest lies is the phrase: Violence doesnt solve anything. It only makes sense for those in power, as they keep power from the masses this way. We could all dress up as Indians and raid their warehouses full of CD/DVD's and dump/burn them.

      But honestly, most of you I don't want to see shirtless. And I'm sure there are even some geek girls I don't want to see shirtless either.

    • by Braino420 (896819)

      I seem to recall the American Revolution involved a bit of violence, didn't it, and we trumpet the success and worthiness of that violence in every classroom in the country, right?

      What do you think happened during the American Revolution? Do you think we went to Britain and attacked them or something? All we did was make our own government and defend ourselves, we didn't shoot first. So, your example actually works against you, because Britain was the one who used violence, and you see how that worked out.

    • by StikyPad (445176)

      Yeah, if only we relied more on violence. Why, I bet it could even solve international disputes too!

  • well yeah, you could say that the alleged downloaders did the actual initiating by taunting the poor little RIAA du.

    the old "he started it!" defence

  • by erroneus (253617) on Friday February 06, 2009 @06:47AM (#26749929) Homepage

    ...then recontinued very shortly thereafter. I discontinue driving at every red light...

  • OK, so the power of the RIAA's lawsuits was not so much in the money they were going to extract from victims, but rather the general fear that ensued.

    Then the RIAA goes on to say they won't be doing that anymore, thus discontinuing the fear.

    But they never actually stopped, only gave up some of their power (fear is power in their case).

    Could anyone please find some logic in this?
    • by genner (694963)

      Could anyone please find some logic in this?

      It's business logic...also known as non-logic.....also known as stupidity.

  • by kulakovich (580584) <slashdot@@@bonfireproductions...com> on Friday February 06, 2009 @08:28AM (#26750381)
    Never has there been such a parallel in our history. The Prohibition in the United States, from 1920 to 1933, and the Information Prohibition, 1996-2010.

    A close second is the novel Dune and the parallel to the Clinton/Bush/Obama triumvirate.

    Enjoy your history humans, you're living it.

    ~kulakovich
  • Would any world initiate be a pretty "broad view"?
  • These are not "initiated" suits, they are "retaliatory" suits. See the difference. :D

  • Is lying to Congress illegal? Is it considered perjury?

    No it's required.... Name one corporate whore, military person, or congress person who has had to testify before congress that todl the truth... They ALL lie! it's just that no one on the "investigative commitees" has the balls/tits to come right out and say "Your a F!@#ing lier!" to the boobs.

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