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RIAA Drops Case In Chicago 229

Posted by kdawson
from the keystone-lawyers dept.
NewYorkCountryLawyer writes, "The RIAA has dropped the Elektra v. Wilke case in Chicago. This is the case in which Mr. Wilke had moved for summary judgment, stating that: '1. He is not "Paule Wilke" which is the name he was sued under. 2. He has never possessed on his computer any of the songs listed in exhibit A [the list of songs the RIAA's investigator downloaded]. He only had a few of the songs from exhibit B [the screenshot] on his computer, and those were from legally purchased CDs owned by Mr. Wilke. 3. He has never used any "online media distribution system" to download, distribute, or make available for distribution, any of plaintiffs' copyrighted recordings.' The RIAA's initial response to the summary judgment motion, prior to dropping the case, had been to cross-move for discovery, indicating that it did not have enough evidence with which to defeat Mr. Wilke's summary judgment motion. P2pnet had termed the Wilke case yet another RIAA blunder."
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RIAA Drops Case In Chicago

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  • Counter? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ColaMan (37550) on Saturday October 14, 2006 @12:50AM (#16434005) Homepage Journal
    So is he going to counter-sue for the time and money spent defending himself against the allegations of the RIAA?
  • Re:Counter? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Swampwulf (875465) on Saturday October 14, 2006 @12:52AM (#16434009)
    Nah. The RIAA'll just refile with his first name spelled right and nail him in the second round.
  • Re:Why?? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by saxoholic (992773) on Saturday October 14, 2006 @12:57AM (#16434023)
    I disagree. All of the people that I know who download music (which is a lot on my college campus) do not own ANY of the music they're downloading. however, I think we all can agree that the RIAA and MPAA are out of line in what they're doing. I don't think that a lawsuit against them would be very succesful, but I could be wrong... I was wrong once.
  • Re:Why?? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by saxoholic (992773) on Saturday October 14, 2006 @01:23AM (#16434103)
    Agreed. According to Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Riaa/ [wikipedia.org] - "The Recording Industry Association of America (or RIAA) is the trade group that represents the recording industry in the United States. Its members consist of a large number of private corporate entities such as record labels and distributors, who create and distribute about 90% of recorded music sold in the US." So, from that I would say that since the RIAA is not an individual company it cannot be a monopoly. Do they qualify as a cartel? Possibly.
  • Standards? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by walnutmon (988223) on Saturday October 14, 2006 @01:26AM (#16434117)
    I am not very impressed by this story as a whole... The article references slashdot for discussion. That doesn't make any sense to me.

    There just isn't much information in this story, it doesn't even say if anyone paid out at all. Could it have been a settlement? What did this guy ACTUALLY do? I doubt he is being sued for literally nothing. Any news article that sites P2P websites is not really very fair or balanced.

    Next time you read something like this, please send a link to a real article, not just some web-blogger who heard something from a torrent site. Standards people, standards!
  • Re:Why?? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Danse (1026) on Saturday October 14, 2006 @01:28AM (#16434125)
    That's right, you've been planned for in advance, so mod me down as only your ignorant minds can. You are planned and accounted for, cowards, since you can mod yet you don't have the balls to do anything.

    How do balls even factor into it? Yeah, I'm sure you're frustrated and all, but you're just ranting now. Balls have nothing to do with it. It's all about money. I wouldn't want to blow my kids' college fund fighting a lawsuit against an opponent with a bottomless pit of money. So no, balls aren't the issue. It's common sense. Yes, the RIAA uses that to its advantage. No, there's not much we can do about it short of lobbying our congresscritters, which I have done on numerous occaisions. Mine don't want to hear it. They get campaign money from the recording industry. So, I don't vote for them. I tell others why I don't vote for them. I can't really afford to do much else. Out of curiosity, what are you doing? Or did you just come here to berate people?
  • by B3ryllium (571199) on Saturday October 14, 2006 @01:29AM (#16434129) Homepage
    He didn't beat them in court, there was no judgement. They just backed out of the lawsuit.

    And do you support a legal system where someone can sue YOU, using information that is so inaccurate that they actually don't even have your proper name?

    RIAA vs. Osama Bin Laden Aliscool, tonight, on THE PEOPLE'S COURT.
  • by Crimson Wing (980223) on Saturday October 14, 2006 @01:33AM (#16434145)
    There is no end to the stupidity of the Human race--expecially in large groups.
  • here's one (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 14, 2006 @01:34AM (#16434147)
    Try a price fixing cartel. Technology indicates that pre recorded music should be much cheaper than what it is, yet you look on the shelves-and it isn't? Coincidence, or large scale and entrenched (and ignored) price fixing? Or if you are an "artist", how about for fraud. Their contracts would make a mafia loan shark blush. Or how about collusion for bribery in congress? How about no matter how many of them get caught doing some form of payola, none of them are ever forced to stop being in the recording and distribution business *at all*? Why is they are allowed to continue, decade after decade, getting away with the same crimes and just passing along their joke fines they get wussy slapped with to the consumer?

    There are several potential avenues to explore.
  • by tchristney (133268) on Saturday October 14, 2006 @01:46AM (#16434189)
    Piracy is wrong. However, using the term pirate to refer to a copyright infringer really makes the act sound much worse than it actually is. It's propaganda, plain and simple. Try and keep a little perspective on the rhetoric, OK?
  • by rolfwind (528248) on Saturday October 14, 2006 @02:03AM (#16434247)
    You still don't get it, do you? They'll find you. That's what they does. That's all they do! You can't stop them. They'll wade through your lawyers, reach down your throat, and pull your fucking heart out.

    Listen. And understand. The RIAA is out there. They can't be bargained with. They can't be reasoned with. They don't feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And they absolutely will not stop, ever, until you are dead.
  • by Dorm41Baggins (858984) on Saturday October 14, 2006 @04:08AM (#16434611)

    Actually, calling a copyright infringer a pirate just makes the act sound cooler than it actually is. Plenty of cracker groups in the 80s and 90s latched onto it for that very reason.

    Of course, these days it has lost most of it's potency- positive or negative. Calling a copyright infringer a pirate is given no more thought than calling a custodian a janitor.

    The use of the term as a negative propaganda tactic has failed miserably.

  • Re:Counter? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ColaMan (37550) on Saturday October 14, 2006 @05:18AM (#16434849) Homepage Journal
    Loser-pays, man. Loser-pays.

    But he didn't lose, the case was dropped, "amicably". Nobody won, nobody lost. But the guy is still out his time and legal expenses. What if they'd searched his house, confiscated his equipment, sent him to the point of bankruptcy with legal fees and then went, "Ah, hah-hah, we ,er, don't have a case. Yeah, er, sorry about that. Let's call it even, eh?"

    Or worse, at that point, they say, "Well, the evidence is shaky. But we've got the time and money to draaaag this out.We're very persistent, you know. We believe you're guilty of *something*. Care for an out-of-court , undisclosed, settlement?"

    How many cases does the RIAA have to screw up like this before the law realises that they're out firing random lawsuits at people on the internet?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 14, 2006 @05:53AM (#16434951)
    [...]will convince them to settle for a few grand out of court.

    It makes me wonder how much money they're losing if they're paying their attorneys and only getting a few grand here and there.

    RIAA is funded by the same record companies that claim to be losing millions due to piracy, while throwing money to support the whole RIAA infrastructure and to be spent on stupid (or cruel) lawsuits like this one.

  • Re:Why?? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jb.hl.com (782137) <joe@joe-baldwi[ ]et ['n.n' in gap]> on Saturday October 14, 2006 @06:08AM (#16434997) Homepage Journal
    most of us (at least 60%,) own the CDs we're downloading off the net

    And I thought most of the other arguments given for downloading RIAA-label music off the Internet were the ultimate in bullshit.

    Why, pray tell, would you want to download music, ripped into a lossy format by some unknown encoder, that you already own on CD? If your answer involves the words "Sony", "BMG" or "rootkit" then I know you're talking gibberish.
  • by Eternal Vigilance (573501) on Saturday October 14, 2006 @06:13AM (#16435011)
    Funny! But that last line should read "And they absolutely will not stop, ever, until music is dead."
  • Re:Why?? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by secolactico (519805) on Saturday October 14, 2006 @06:32AM (#16435049) Journal
    when most of us (at least 60%,) own the CDs we're downloading off the net

    Can you back that up? I'm guessing you pulled that number out of your ass. Like you, I can only speak of anecdotal evidence, but I've yet to meet someone who downloads music he already owns the cd for.

    Of course it might be that I'm simply hanging around with the wrong crowd but I suspect that's not the case.
  • Re:Standards? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 14, 2006 @10:13AM (#16436245)
    The RIAA once sued a woman who doesn't even own a computer. They have questionable evidence of some scren shot and an IP address. They then get names from the ISP of who should be using that IP. They do not sue people who download (yet). They sue people who upload. I have also heard they use the ISP to get information off the harddrive of the user, but I have never checked into this and it sounds odd.

    If there is a case where someone had and account undersomeone else's name, or someone's computer was being used without their consent, or someone had an open wireless connection and they can show there were several strange internal IP address, there are still many reasons why they may settle instead of fighting RIAA or sueing RIAA. Maybe RIAA has more money, power and desire to be in court? Maybe the defendants don't want to pay lawyers, take off work and have their lives continually disrupted just to deal with nasty tactics from an army of well paid lawyers who have nothing else to do but work on the RIAAs case.

    The RIAA is rich and powerful, what every they say about the ripple effect. The RIAAs lobbyist have already bought the politicians and changed US laws for the worse. They are also using our tax dollars as well as their own money to try to pressure other countries into changing their local laws. Have you noticed what's going on with allofmp3?

    What makes you think you can stand up to the RIAA in court in the real world? They have more money, more influence and more experience. They also don't give a rat's fanny about justice. If they aren't paying the judges that accept screenshots as evidence, they should be (I'd rather have corrupt judges than stupid one). You can tell me how it works on paper. I'll believe it when I see it.

    All you "They must have done something wrong" people don't get it. In theory, the RIAA is supposed to prove they did something wrong. Instead, they do little better than pull names out of a hat, and proceed on the theory that everyone is guilty of something. Thanks for backing them up on that.
  • by Garwulf (708651) on Saturday October 14, 2006 @05:45PM (#16439603) Homepage
    "As you say, we now have a great deal more creative content available than ever before. Yet is this because of copyright law or despite of it? With so much content available, society as a whole can not afford all of it. Is this a cost benefit selection where consumers must make do with the limited amount of content they can afford? Does preventing the free flow of digital expressions of thoughts and ideas really encourage the creation of new thoughts and ideas?"

    I would say that the amount of content available right now has almost nothing whatsoever to do with copyright. It does have a lot to do with population, literacy, pop culture, and perception of the trade (there is this idea that writing for a living is this wonderful, glamourous life with lots of sex and money, but that is almost never the case in reality - the joke in the trade is that if we had exciting lives, we wouldn't be spending all our time writing). But people start creating out of love for the craft. When they get good enough that they can spend months on a single project and have it be worth something, they need to support themselves, and copyright law is there to prevent them from getting screwed over.

    For example, one of my acquaintances is an amateur writer who has actually stopped posting her work. From what I hear, she's only a couple of steps away from her writing being professional quality. But, every time she posted a story, a bunch of websites copied it, took her name off it, and slapped on their own. That's what copyright is supposed to protect artists from. I really wish she had the time and money to sue those people - the credit for her own work should never have been taken away from her. And now she's been so badly burned that it's quite possible that none of her new writing will ever see the light of day - content none of us will ever read.

    This is an abuse that shows up a lot. There was even a Slashdot news story about how a lot of bloggers were plagerizing, rather than doing their own work. Copyright is the law that allows the original author to fight against that.

    The idea that society can't afford all of this content is laughable. Society doesn't just buy content wholesale - creative artists put it on the market, and people buy or rent what they like. And there are lots of inexpensive means of distribution. Songs can be listened to for free on the radio. Books can be borrowed from a library for only the cost of a library card. Movies can be rented for a minor fee from a video rental outlet. And that's not counting all the content that shows up on television, paid for either by advertisements that don't cost the consumer a cent, or a small fee in the case of cable television. And then there's places like Amazon, which offer discounts on pretty much any orders. We may be overwhelmed by the sheer quantity of content, but unable to afford it? Not at all.

    To think that copyright prevents the free flow of ideas is nonsense. Copyright law does not allow one to copyright an idea - only a specific implementation of one. There is nothing stopping somebody taking the same idea and going their own direction with it, nor should there be. Patent law, which is a much different matter, allows one to monopolize an idea. And copyright law is not about taking away the expression of thoughts and ideas - merely ensuring that the creator of the expression of thoughts and ideas is able to decide what happens with their own work. Having to pay X amount of dollars for a book doesn't stop that book from being on the bookshelf in the first place. It's still available. It's just your choice whether or not to pay to read it.

    To deal with your final paragraph:

    "Nothing wrong with asking. But is it okay to demand for payment? Is it acceptable to deny others access to your hard work? Does society really benefit more by keeping your content under legal protection? Isn't the debate over where to draw this line exactly what society should be having right now?"

    Yes, it is okay to demand pa

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