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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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  • Change in attitude? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by fishmasta (827305) on Saturday October 14, 2006 @02:00AM (#16434041)
    When's the last time the RIAA sued a new batch of people? It seems like with all these setbacks that they might be slowing down the lawsuits.
  • by Firehed (942385) on Saturday October 14, 2006 @02:29AM (#16434131) Homepage
    Cruelty maybe, but not stupidity. They start every single case knowing that they're relying on nothing but scare tactics (which is basically racketeering, illegal under the RICO act... google it, it's 2:30am), and hope that the thought of a several hundred thousand dollar settlement if they win an in-court case will convince them to settle for a few grand out of court. This is one of a few cases where the defendant knew they had no case (or assumed as much), said "OK, to court we go", and then they had to admit they had no case and drop the thing. If they didn't own half the government, I'm almost positive they'd be fined for wasting the court's time.
  • by SeaFox (739806) on Saturday October 14, 2006 @03:22AM (#16434295)
    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?

    How do you get dragged into the lawsuit to begin with when it isn't your name? When they brought the papers by why didn't he just say "Sorry. That's not my name, you have the wrong address," and close the door on them?
  • by Ibag (101144) on Saturday October 14, 2006 @03:34AM (#16434327)
    Call me crazy, but something doesn't make sense. For the RIAA to have a screen shot of any relevance, it has to be of a file listing on a p2p network of someone with an IP traced back to Mr. Wilke. A screen shot of his actual computer would not only be impossible to obtain, but would also not show any infringement, and there aren't many other types of screen shots that would make any sense in this context. If it is also true that "3. He has never used any "online media distribution system" to download, distribute, or make available for distribution, any of plaintiffs' copyrighted recordings," then the only scenario that makes sense is the following:

    The RIAA took a screen shot of something on a P2P network with either IP addresses or user names which were then incorrectly traced back to Mr. Wilke, who had never logged onto the network but coincidently had the songs in the screen shot.

    This sounds a bit unlikely to me. The statement sounds a lot like, "I never touched the girl, and in any case she kissed me first." Perhaps even more accurately, "Yeah, sure I did it, but we both know you can't prove it." I don't approve of the RIAA lawsuits, but I don't really like to see dishonesty coming from either side. I wish that the side getting sued would counter sue (to keep the RIAA from just backing away from people who try to fight them), be honest about what they did, and then win in such a way as precedent keeps the RIAA from ever successfully wining such a suit again. Getting the suit dropped because they accidentally put down the wrong first name seems like a hollow victory at best.
  • by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Saturday October 14, 2006 @07:37AM (#16435067)
    Think about what we are saying here folks. Piracy is wrong. It is at the VERY LEAST immoral.

    Is it more immoral than the vast theft that was perpetuated on the public with each extension of the term of copyright? All those works were created, published and sold under the terms of copyright at that time. Yet, the MAFIAA [mafiaa.org] was able to unilaterally change those terms by bribing enough people in congress.

    If stealing millions, maybe even billions, of dollars worth of content from the public is not only OK, it is sanctioned by the people who should be looking out for the public's interest in the first place, then on what grounds is it immoral when members of the public do the very same thing back to the MAFIAA, except on a much, much smaller scale?
  • by nurb432 (527695) on Saturday October 14, 2006 @10:51AM (#16436097) Homepage Journal
    And you will still get ground into the ground until you submit.

    He was wealthy and able to fight, it was worth it to them just to drop it. The PR of actually losing the case would be much worse.
  • by Saxerman (253676) * on Saturday October 14, 2006 @11:31AM (#16436423) Homepage
    There is more creative content available today than there has been in the whole of human history. But God help us creative artists if we actually want to charge money for that year's worth of writing/painting/composing/sculpting work, or leave a legacy for our families.

    Only the most jaded of free information zealots don't believe artists should be able to charge for their content, so I don't really think that's the central issue of the copyright debate. The real issue is how much control society should grant the content holders. Should they have the right to forbid others from making digital copies of their content?

    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?

    Guess what - asking you to pay for somebody else's hard work is not theft.

    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?

  • by AdamD1 (221690) <adam@brainrub . c om> on Saturday October 14, 2006 @04:46PM (#16438873) Homepage
    Actually according to that website [blogspot.com]:

    The only "notice" the "John Does" get is a vague letter from their ISP, along with copies of an ex parte discovery order and a subpoena, indicating that an order has already been granted against them: i.e., instead of receiving notice that the RIAA is applying for an order, they instead are notified that they have already lost the motion, without ever even having known of its existence.


    And later:

    They are not given copies of (i) the summons and complaint, (ii) the papers upon which the Court granted the ex parte discovery order, or (iii) the court rules needed to defend themselves. Most recipients of this "notice" do not even realize that it means that there is a lawsuit against them. None of the recipients of the "notice" have any idea what they are being sued for, or what basis the Court had for granting the ex parte discovery order and for allowing the RIAA to obtain a subpoena.


    He was never "served" this charge in the first place, nor have any of these high-profile cases against what appear to be largely innocent, unassuming individuals. He was only contacted by the settlement facility long after the RIAA decided he had already "been served".

    This is without question the most crooked legal tactics I have ever seen in my life. In my opinion, the time for a class-action suit against the RIAA and each of the major distributors it represents is long overdue. I would love to see someone with deep pockets take that one on.

    Having said that: of course piracy is rampant. But holy crap people. Legal precedent! Due Process! Yadda yadda yadda!

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