Blogging from the front lines of the RIAA wars

Blogging from the front lines of the RIAA wars

Summary: Yesterday, I glimpsed the phrase "Answers From Lawyers Who Defend Against RIAA Suits" on my screensaver, which displays Slashdot headlines via RSS.

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TOPICS: Legal
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Yesterday, I glimpsed the phrase "Answers From Lawyers Who Defend Against RIAA Suits" on my screensaver, which displays Slashdot headlines via RSS.  When I had a little time later on I went to Slashdot and found the article; Slashdotters interviewed two lawyers from Vandenberg & Feliu, LLP in New York, Ty Rogers and Ray Beckerman, who are getting assignments from EFF to represent defendants "who have been sued by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for having computers whose internet accounts were used to access peer-to-peer file sharing accounts."  The Slashdot interview is terrific, featuring questions by turns intelligent, funny ("You guys are lawyers AND like to help people? What's it like on your home planet ;) ?"), and frustrated.  All by itself, the interview is highly informative as to the issues involved in, and the logistics of, these cases.

But then I went and checked out the blog Messrs. Rogers and Beckerman have been writing for a little over a year:  Recording Industry vs The People.  WOW.  (*sigh* I remember when I was actually able to stay on top of all the law blogs, especially the really good ones, but this was my first visit to Ty's and Ray's.)  These guys are doing for the RIAA suits what Groklaw did for SCO v. IBM.  In addition to discussing interesting and/or important developments in all the related litigation, these two — armed primarily with Blogger + blog*spot + their brains and determination — are creating quite a valuable collection of resources for anyone following these cases, including:

When folks like Ty and Ray narrate their work, everyone benefits.

Topic: Legal

Denise Howell

About Denise Howell

Denise Howell is an appellate, intellectual property and technology lawyer who enjoys broad industry recognition for her expertise on the intersection of emerging technologies and law.

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8 comments
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  • Here is a clue... It is NOT the RIAA vs. the people !

    It's the RIAA, MPAA and all copyright holders against Pirates and facilitators of theft. Stealing and illegally distributing copyright protected works be it music, video, software, etc. IS A CRIME in all civilized societies. The copyright holders are NOT suing honest, law abiding citizens, they are suing those who steal or distribute copyright protected works. These copyright protected files don't just appear on a PC by magic so spare me the dribble.

    The B.S. that the EFF disseminates is total bull and they know it. The EFF does NOT represent the citizens of society. IMO they represent the interest of a few companies and of individuals who profit from Piracy and illegal distribution of copyright protected works.

    Personally I believe all Pirates should be fined $10K per copy as provided by law and for any file exchanges in excess of (50) then a mandatory one year prison sentence should be imposed. Stop making deals and send these folks to prison like any other common crimnal. They know full well they are breaking the law so now it's time to pay for their crimes. When you cut thru all the B.S. we are talking about a CRIME that is punishable under law - as it should be. You steal you pay the price. That's the law. The bogus EFF can go pound salt where the sun don't shine.
    BeGoneFool
    • Please, they are suing dead people who didn't own computers

      The blog is written by lawyers defending against cases where the RIAA has sued people for allegedly infringing copyright.

      As far as only criminals being prosecuted...

      The RIAA has brought suite against an elderly woman for using a Windows only p2p app. She owned a MAC which the software won't run on.

      The RIAA has sued a dead man who didn't even own a computer.

      If you would read the blog you would see that the RIAA tactics is to try to force the individual to settle, even when there is significant evidence that they did nothing wrong, and in many cases the individuals do settle as it costs more to litigate than pay the settlement.

      Most interesting is Elektra v. Wilke where the RIAA claims they do not have proof of infringement when they filed and would not be able to prove such without discovery.


      And as far as your $10K and 1 year in jail... The fine is already $150,000 and 10 years in jail- and the RIAA/MPAA/BSA is lobbying to increase it.
      Edward Meyers
    • I'm confused

      I'm not a pirate, yet the RIAA's actions are affecting me. Their DRM schemes, their rootkits, affect my computers and limit my ability to do things with products I'd like to purchase.

      Furthermore, given the RIAA's penchant for dropping any lawsuit that gets challenged, they clearly are suing more than just guilty pirates.
      tic swayback
    • You need to have a clue to give one.

      Last I heard, in the USA you are presumed innocent until proven guilty. You are making the assumption that all the people being sued are guilty. Do you really believe that? Can I sell you a bridge?
      GrumpyOldMan
      • Re: You need to have a clue to give one.

        Yes you do need a clue. Believe you've confused criminal law with civil law. The government doesn't sue people - they charge them and try them. That's criminal law. That's where there is a presumtion of innocence etc.

        Civil law is where one party sues another - and anybody with the $$ to pay the filing fee can sue anybody else. There isn't necessarily a finding of guilt or innocence - usually one or the other of the two parties prevails, but sometimes both parties win a lttle and lose a little.
        kenneth.kelley@...
        • File sharing falls under both

          Once you excede an estimated value of damages to the market it becomes criminal;

          [i]
          ? 506. Criminal offenses

          (a) Criminal Infringement. - Any person who infringes a copyright willfully either -

          (1) for purposes of commercial advantage or private financial gain, or

          (2) by the reproduction or distribution, including by electronic means, during any 180-day period, of 1 or more copies or phonorecords of 1 or more copyrighted works, which have a total retail value of more than $1,000,

          shall be punished as provided under section 2319 of title 18, United States Code. For purposes of this subsection, evidence of reproduction or distribution of a copyrighted work, by itself, shall not be sufficient to establish willful infringement.
          [/i]

          http://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap5.html#506

          This is the criminal penalty for ilegally distributing works over P2P....

          [i](b) Any person who commits an offense under section 506(a)(1) of title 17--

          (1) shall be imprisoned not more than 5 years, or fined in the amount set forth in this title, or both, if the offense consists of the reproduction or distribution, including by electronic means, during any 180-day period, of at least 10 copies or phonorecords, of 1 or more copyrighted works, which have a total retail value of more than $2,500;

          (2) shall be imprisoned not more than 10 years, or fined in the amount set forth in this title, or both, if the offense is a second or subsequent offense under paragraph (1); and

          (3) shall be imprisoned not more than 1 year, or fined in the amount set forth in this title, or both, in any other case. [/i]

          http://www.usdoj.gov/criminal/cybercrime/18usc2319.htm

          There is also a fine on top of this for $150,000 per file.

          [i](2) In a case where the copyright owner sustains the burden of proving, and the court finds, that infringement was committed willfully, the court in its discretion may increase the award of statutory damages to a sum of not more than $150,000. In a case where the infringer sustains the burden of proving, and the court finds, that such infringer was not aware and had no reason to believe that his or her acts constituted an infringement of copyright, the court in its discretion may reduce the award of statutory damages to a sum of not less than $200. The court shall remit statutory damages in any case where an infringer believed and had reasonable grounds for believing that his or her use of the copyrighted work was a fair use under section 107, if the infringer was: (i) an employee or agent of a nonprofit educational institution, library, or archives acting within the scope of his or her employment who, or such institution, library, or archives itself, which infringed by reproducing the work in copies or phonorecords; or (ii) a public broadcasting entity which or a person who, as a regular part of the nonprofit activities of a public broadcasting entity (as defined in subsection (g) of section 118) infringed by performing a published nondramatic literary work or by reproducing a transmission program embodying a performance of such a work.[/i]
          Edward Meyers
          • I'm glad to be in Canada

            Where my rights aren't infringed on by corporate America... Well atleast not yet.
            ju1ce
  • Yes, it IS the RIAA vs the People.

    The RIAA wants to end fair use as we know it and outlaw copying music that people legitimately paid for to another media for their own personal use. (Can you spell C.R.A.P.?) They would also like to completely eliminate all time-shifting. (Can you say "broadcast flag"?)

    To suggest that this is in the interest of anyone but the RIAA and its record label constituents, and to so obviously mischaracterize the activities of the EFF, leads me to believe this posting was either by a paid representative of the RIAA or some idiot just trying to stir the pot.
    CommSoft