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Has recording industry stopped lawsuits?

Discussion in 'Tech Talk' started by Romadoc, Jun 14, 2009.

  1. Romadoc


    Aug 26, 2000
    Sarasota, FL
    If I understand this correctly, the recording industry will no longer prosecute persons using file sharing. As stated, however, all lawsuits already filed will proceed.

    The lawsuit is among the last vestiges of an anti-piracy campaign that the recording industry ultimately dropped amid widespread criticism. The Recording Industry Association of America said in December it had stopped filing lawsuits like these and would work instead with Internet service providers to cut access to those it deems illegal file-sharers. But the recording industry plans to proceed with cases that are already filed.

    This excerpt was taken from an article about a woman challenging the verdict in a lawsuit involving the downloading of music.
  2. IndyGunFreak


    Jan 26, 2001


  3. Romadoc


    Aug 26, 2000
    Sarasota, FL
    Entire article:

    Woman Who Lost File-Sharing Suit Gets Replay

    Sunday, June 14, 2009

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    Jammie Thomas-Rasset is shown with her former lawyer.

    MINNEAPOLIS — The Minnesota woman who became the nation's only music file-sharing defendant so far to go to trial is getting a replay two years after losing the case.

    Jammie Thomas-Rasset, a 32-year-old mother of four and self-described "huge music fan," will be armed with aggressive new lawyers when her retrial begins in federal court here Monday.

    The lawsuit is among the last vestiges of an anti-piracy campaign that the recording industry ultimately dropped amid widespread criticism. The Recording Industry Association of America said in December it had stopped filing lawsuits like these and would work instead with Internet service providers to cut access to those it deems illegal file-sharers. But the recording industry plans to proceed with cases that are already filed.

    Thomas-Rasset is the rare defendant who has fought back.

    • Click here to visit's Personal Technology Center.

    Music companies have filed more than 30,000 similar copyright lawsuits in recent years against people they accused of illegally swapping songs through Internet file-sharing services such as Kazaa. None of the others has made it to trial yet.

    Faced with huge legal bills, most settled for an average of about $3,500, even if they insisted they had done nothing wrong. Thomas-Rasset's new lawyer, K.A.D. Camara, notes the settlements add up to more than $100 million; the RIAA contends its legal costs exceeded the settlement money it brought in.

    The lawsuits have turned into a public relations nightmare for the recording industry, putting music companies in the position of going after their most ardent fans. Blogs and media reports have highlighted heavy-handed tactics against several improbable targets.

    In 2006, for example, the industry dropped a lawsuit against Tanya Andersen, a disabled single mother in Oregon. Andersen said she had been misidentified and never downloaded the music she was accused of stealing. Industry representatives allegedly threatened to question her 10-year-old daughter if she didn't pay up.
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    * Lawyer: Ripping MP3s Illegal, Grounds for Lawsuit
    * Judge Throws Out LimeWire's 'Antitrust' Lawsuit Against Record Companies
    * Music Industry Wins $220,000 in File-Sharing Trial

    And in 2007, the companies backed off their attempt to sue an elderly Texas grandmother, Rhonda Crain, who had been displaced by Hurricane Rita in 2005 and said she never downloaded music. They settled for no money, just her agreement not to download any music illegally.

    Camara said he hoped to turn Thomas-Rasset's retrial into a trial against the RIAA, both before the jury and in the court of public opinion. A win by the defense, he said, could undermine the other music-sharing cases.

    "What you'll see in Minneapolis will be the first battle in what we think will be a successful campaign against the recording industry," Camara said.

    RIAA spokeswoman Cara Duckworth insisted the music companies will again prevail, just as they had in 2007 when a federal jury in Duluth found Thomas-Rasset violated copyrights by offering 24 songs on the Kazaa file-sharing network. She was ordered to pay $222,000 in damages, or $9,250 per song.

    "The facts in evidence have not changed in this case," Duckworth said. "We're confident that a new jury will see it no differently from the first time around."

    Duckworth said the group doesn't have figures on cases still pending, but the industry will press ahead with them, saying it had to pursue those "who have regularly illegally downloaded music and thumbed their nose at the law and the legal process."

    Nor did Duckworth have figures on how many defendants decided to settle after Thomas-Rasset lost.

    "Suffice to say, the first trial generated a fair amount of attention and certainly caused a number of people to think twice about downloading music illegally," she said.

    Thomas-Rasset, who still denies any illegal song swapping, is getting a retrial after U.S. District Judge Michael Davis decided last September he erred in telling jurors the companies didn't have to prove anyone downloaded the copyright-protected songs she allegedly made available. Davis later concluded the law requires that actual distribution be shown.

    The companies suing are subsidiaries of all four major recording companies, Warner Music Group Corp., Vivendi SA's Universal Music Group, EMI Group PLC and Sony Corp.'s Sony Music Entertainment.

    The defense is now being handled by Camara and his partner, who agreed to take the case for free after the court last month relieved her previous attorney, Brian Toder, who had put in nearly $130,000 worth of unpaid time.

    Camara, who's about to turn 25, was just 19 when he became the youngest person ever to graduate from Harvard Law School, and he graduated with high honors. He and his partner at their Houston law firm, Joe Sibley, 34, a classmate, were already involved in a couple of similar cases. He said they agreed to defend Thomas-Rasset for free in hopes of setting precedents for other cases.

    On orders from Sibley, Thomas-Rasset declined to say why she's kept up the fight for so long when she could have settled for a few thousand dollars at the start.

    Thomas-Rasset, who pronounces her first name as JAY'-mee, lives in the central Minnesota city of Brainerd. She said her musical tastes are "very eclectic" ranging from rock to country to classical. "It all depends on my mood and what I'm doing and who I'm with," she said. She also said she doesn't buy many CDs anymore because she spends what little discretionary income she has on concerts instead.

    In the short time since they took over the case, Camara and Sibley have tried some new legal tricks, with mixed success.

    On Thursday, Davis shot down their request to suppress evidence gathered by the MediaSentry anti-piracy service. The judge didn't buy Camara's claim that MediaSentry violated a federal wiretapping law and a state law regulating private detectives when it tracked down his client. Had Camara won on that point, however, the recording companies could have been left without much of a case against her or other defendants.

    But the defense did manage to create at least a headache for the music labels by demanding that they produce certified copies from the U.S. Copyright Office of the copyrights on the 24 tracks in question, to prove they really do own the songs.

    The industry's lawyers were caught by surprise, having gotten by with uncertified copies during the first trial. Although music companies told Davis this past Monday they weren't sure they could get certified copies in time for the new trial, Davis reminded them that they had the burden of proving they owned the copyrights. Camara said he'll seek dismissal of the case if the plaintiffs fail that test.

    Corryne McSherry, a staff attorney with the digital-rights group Electronic Frontier Foundation, said the new defense team is taking a creative approach. She said it would have been interesting to see how all the cases that settled might have turned out if those defendants had free lawyers who were willing to push as hard.

    "This case could end up being the tail end of a frankly shameful and certainly failed campaign to go after users," McSherry said. "Maybe this will be the coda to that long campaign."
  4. Clinton, Bush, Frank, etc. insist they too have done nothing wrong.

    So I guess "it aint be stealin if everybody be doin it."?
  5. MavsX

    MavsX The Dude Abides

    Jan 19, 2009
    Arlington, VA
    i read in article this month in playboy that said the same thing. the people being sued will still be sued...they just aren't suing anybody new.

    and we are talking about p2p here, not BT's or usenet
  6. dotsun

    dotsun Shark Stomper

    Mar 25, 2007
    Knoxville, TN
    Playboy has articles? Oh um, yeah I mean that's why I buy PB...:whistling:
  7. minderasr

    minderasr NRA Life Member

    May 19, 2009
    New York
    What I read was the MPAA/RIAA claim they're not pursuing any new law suits. However their actions say different.
  8. havensal

    havensal Nozzle Jockey CLM

    Aug 14, 2003
    Western, NY
  9. justinsn95

    justinsn95 Im in jail...

    Oh boo-hoo they dont make as much money as they used to. Sorry if i feel zero pity for a bunch of super rich people. It's just like that south park episode: "Stan, due to all the illegal downloading, the drummer for metallica will have to wait until next week to put in his guitar shaped swimming pool. Now do you see why downloading music is bad?"
  10. MavsX

    MavsX The Dude Abides

    Jan 19, 2009
    Arlington, VA
    exactly right. Maybe they should not have flaunted their riches on MTV Cribs back in the day!
  11. SKeefe


    Mar 11, 2003
    I agree, that's why I think it shouldn't be illegal to burglarize or rob people who make over X amount of dollars.

    Rise up workers of the world! :upeyes:
  12. So it's OK to steal provided the person from whom you are stealing has what you want?
    I'll bet you are not-quite sure of the defininition of plagiarism, either, are you.
  13. justinsn95

    justinsn95 Im in jail...

    So neither of you have ever downloaded a song off limewire or napster or imesh or something? You're full of it. If you want to start bringing the law into this, i can do that. Here in the great state of Texas, it is not illegal (you can't be prosecuted) for driving off with less than $4.00 of gasoline. Did i pay for that gas? No. Was it mine? No. Did i steal? Not according to the law. So lets see, how much can you buy songs for? 99 cents? Hmm....:upeyes:

    And i never said anything about them "having what i want". I said that regardless of what happens, they will remain superich. So yeah, hard to feel sorry for em.
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2009
  14. Patrick Graham

    Patrick Graham Footlong Jr.

    Sep 7, 2001
    Kokomo Indiana
    When it comes to the movie and music industry I sometimes wonder who is stealing from whom.

    Some of the crap they have both been putting out and calling good seems to amount to nothing less than stealing from the audience under the guise of entertainment.
  15. kc8ykd


    Oct 6, 2005
    You have two separate points here.

    One, you consider taking something from someone else to be not stealing since it's apparently not illegal if you don't take over a certain amount? :upeyes:

    Two, you believe that download songs, that you should pay to get, is ok because you believe all recording artists are rich? :upeyes:

    You should know that very few are super rich, or even rich. You should know that you're also depriving the recording, mixing and mastering engineers of money. You're also depriving the promotion people and distribution people of money. Money that they use to support themselves and their families with. You are, quite literally, taking bread off someone's table with your actions.

    In the end, you're not only ripping off the artists, but a lot of other people that produce and promote and distribute that music.

    There's lots of options for legal downloads, more than just amazon and itunes.
    You don't have any excuses to not use them, unless you just don't have any morals and are a criminal (since stealing music is well...stealing).

    And no, I don't download off those places, I go to Amazon myself and have also ripped my collection of 300+ cd's to mp3 format for exclusive use in my own mp3 players. Being a Sound Engineer for a Blues band, I understand the business side of the industry and am amazed by conceptions like yours.
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2009
  16. aspartz


    Oct 19, 2000
    Sandstone, MN 55072
    My ISP called me a few weeks back saying they got a complaint from the publisher that I was BTing something from Harry Potter. Perhaps that's the next target -- the ISP's or getting them to deny you service.


    ETA: I was not getting anything Harry Potter, but it was in the torrent I was getting pieces of.
  17. justinsn95

    justinsn95 Im in jail...

    Well if you want to get technical about it then no, actually i am not stealing. According to the law, a peer to peer filesharing program is completely legal. This would be limewire and the like. When the bands of the world united and shut down napster, they were forced to define the theft, or else it couldn't be theft, now could it? So they defined what napster was doing, and it was server to client. So that's against the law. Peer to peer, is not. Yet. When it is, you will have a valid point. But at this time, the government does not define peer to peer as theft. And i know you will say something like "Well, it's still immoral and you know it". So why not make everything that's questionable illegal? We wouldn't have radar detectors, and we wouldn't have guns either. I swear there is always some pansy sticking up for corporate fatcats, even though the fatcats may be taking a dump on their heads as they speak.
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2009
  18. kc8ykd


    Oct 6, 2005
    I do want to get technical about it, yes, you are stealing when it comes to your example of gasoline and copyrighted material.

    Taking something that isn't yours without the owner's consent is stealing.

    You can try and justify that a million different ways in your own mind, but the fact is, it's theft, plain and simple. And since you brought up morals, I'll also bring up ethics. If this is your prime example of your morality and sense of ethics, I've got to say I'm less than impressed.

    To try and stretch it to guns and radar detectors doesn't even make sense. Why do you think guns are questionable? Are you a felon or an otherwise disqualified person in possession of a gun? If not, then your legal to own one and there isn't anything 'questionable' about it. Same with a radar detector, if it's legal for you to own and use, then there isn't anything questionable about it since you are within the boundaries of the law. You should stop trying to bring other non-similar arguments into this discussion, it looks silly and looks like you are trying to distract from the topic being discussed.

    A program for accessing p2p networks is, in and of itself, not bad or illegal. It's what you do with it that's wrong. There are plenty of files and torrents that are GPL'd or given away freely by their owners.

    However, when you use a p2p program to facilitate your STEALING of copyrighted material, then your use of that program still isn't illegal, your actions of stealing the material are. If you want to get really technical, you could consider it wirefraud as well as theft since most likely you're using interstate communications facilities to commit theft.

    Also, napster was p2p software. The really big difference between that and most networks today is the way the files available are indexed, and with torrents, how many sources the files come from.

    In the case of napster, limewire and similar software clients (along with the gnutella network itself), files are still pulled from individual computers. Being that the gnutella network and protocol are opensource, anybody can write clients for it and that makes it very difficult to try and shut down (unlike with naptster which as a business contained the central indexing service as well as published the client). Either way, files are still pulled from individual computers across the network just the same.

    With torrents, it's the same general idea, except your pulling parts of the file from lots of computers at the same time and there is a plethora of indexing services.

    Also, the government never defined 'napster' as illegal. Napster was found to be liable for facilitating it's users committing copyright violations on a massive scale. They basically got sued out of existence. With opensource software and networks, that's a little more dificult to do, however, we're seeing attempts at it with cases like the pirate bay.

    Basically, bro, your showing the world here you've got very low morals and a very questionable sense of ethics.

    Again, you'll try and spin this a million different ways in your own head to try and justify it as not stealing copyrighted material, but when you remove all the excuses, your doing just that.

    When you download copyrighted material and didn't pay or provide some other negotiated typed of compensation for it, then you've stolen said copyrighted material, plain and simple.

    And ya, that whole argument about 'them' being super rich so they can afford to be stolen from sounds a whole lot like retribution of wealth...
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2009
  19. South Fla

    South Fla ©South Fla 2015

    Oct 10, 2006
    I don't download songs off the internet without paying for them, but I liken the whole P2P lawsuits to this:

    Is it illegal to let someone else read your newspaper, magazine or a book after you have bought it? Same principal.
  20. kc8ykd


    Oct 6, 2005
    In those instances though, your giving up the physical media and not retaining a copy of it yourself. You are transferring any licenses with the physical media to another singular person, and thus is why book and CD/DVD/record/tape resellers are all perfectly legal and good.

    A closer example would be making exact copies of a news paper or book and distributing them to anybody who wants them.
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2009