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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: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Swampwulf (875465)
      Nah. The RIAA'll just refile with his first name spelled right and nail him in the second round.
    • by Merovign (557032)
      Loser-pays, man. Loser-pays.
      • 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?
  • Change in attitude? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by fishmasta (827305) on Saturday October 14, 2006 @01:00AM (#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.
  • the dogs (Score:5, Funny)

    by Wiarumas (919682) on Saturday October 14, 2006 @01:21AM (#16434095)
    lets bring in the cd sniffing dogs and search his house for incriminating evidence!
  • Standards? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by walnutmon (988223)
    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 s
    • by ColaMan (37550)
      From what I can tell, they both came to some sort of 'amicable agreement' and each covered their own court costs.
      So..... going from that, there might have been *cough* some little bit of guilt involved.

      I wish some truly innocent person would counter-sue after one of these backdowns for legal costs ... and, say, a hundred million for emotional trauma from being branded a horrible, filthy, industry-ruining pirate.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        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 b
  • by tom_75 (1013457) on Saturday October 14, 2006 @01:26AM (#16434119)
    ... all these songs from exhibit B, which resided on my HDD, were duped from perfectly legal sources (namely CD's) that I rushed out and bought right after RIAA has launched its accusations. I find them pretty good... My pirating days are over ! Set me free !
    • by bky1701 (979071)
      I would have just fought it out. I mean, they can't make you have such a cruel and unusual punishment, why subject yourself to it???
    • were duped from perfectly legal sources (namely CD's) that I rushed out and bought right after RIAA has launched its accusations.

      That's actually an interesting point...Can anybody comment as to how you need to present your "previously owned music" as evidence? How do you prove that you owned it before the RIAA if you've tossed your receipts out? What is to stop exactly what parent poster said? Can college students being sued just go out, buy the CDs with cash (so as not to leave a credit trail), toss th

  • 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, d
    • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Saturday October 14, 2006 @03:03AM (#16434403)
      You present essentially every defense you can think of. You are presenting multiple levels and angles of an argument. It's like if you asked if I robbed a store and I say "No I was at work that night, and even if I was near the store I'm not nearly stupid enough to do something like that." The second part of the statement isn't saying the first is false, it's just saying that even if you don't believe me that I was at work, you still should believe I didn't do it.

      In the event of a lawsuit like this, that's how you'd go about it. Off the top of my head I'd challenge if the listing was undoctored (since screenshots are easy to fake), if it was of the right client (many P2P networks will misreport what you have on accident sometimes), if they verified the contents of the files, if they verified that they were coming from the stated IP address, if the IP to account mapping was accurate and unaltered, and if there was a way to prove that nobody else was using my network. It's just pointing out all the levels of problems. So even if the judge/jury buys everything else is legit, they believe it is likely someone else was using my network.

      You'll find in some civil cases there can be hundreds of responses as to why the plaintiffs are full of shit. It's just how the game is played. You throw out any and everything that is wrong with their case, and see what you can get to stick and shoot it down.
    • by cliffski (65094)
      agreed. People dont really care that the RIAA had shaky evidence, they just care that its a crime that they support, and hope the guy gets away with it. If this guy had mugged some old lady in the street, and was getting away with it because they spelt his name wrong, the same people would be (rightfully) up in arms about the failure of the legal system.
      Obviously Im not equating the 2 crimes, but you have to be consistant. The wrong name just sounds like an admin blunder, its not in the RIAAs interests to t
    • by Todd Knarr (15451) *

      Or he could just, as per #2, be saying that he's coincidentally got some of those songs but not because he got them from any file-sharing service. More than one person has likely ripped any given song, so it's entirely possible that he's got songs ripped from his CDs that someone else also has and is sharing.

    • by swordgeek (112599)
      As one person mentioned, in civil cases you throw everything you've got against the wall, and see what sticks.
      Regardless, what were the songs in question here? Is it some obscure indie band that maybe six people in the world listen to, or is it Madonna? If it's the latter (or something like), then it's entirely possible that he's got a CD and other people are sharing the songs.
    • They key word is "some". The RIAA showed two screenshots from what I remember. Mostly likely there were screenshots from a p2p program that listed songs from some p2p user. Paul claims he doesn't own any songs from list A and "some" songs from list B but those songs were legally purchased. He also claims that he does not have any p2p software. The RIAA has to prove that in court. Unfortunately, with the way they have approached investigative work, they may actually have to search his computer. Which t

  • by SilentBob0727 (974090) on Saturday October 14, 2006 @06:28AM (#16435045) Homepage
    ...had he listened to this first: http://youtube.com/watch?v=Yz-grdpKVqg [youtube.com]
  • Last I checked, it's the riaa's job to find the evidence. It seems like in this case they are saying they don't have enough evidence to prove guilt, but because they "strongly suspect" the other party is guilty, that the courts should go on a legal fishing expedition to try to find evidence against him.

    That's why we don't just issue search warrants because someone suspects you are guilty. You have to have credible evidence to go looking (legally) for additional corroborating evidence. You use evidence to
  • by nurb432 (527695) on Saturday October 14, 2006 @09:51AM (#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.
  • Spartacus (Score:3, Funny)

    by Migraineman (632203) on Saturday October 14, 2006 @10:17AM (#16436287)

    {stands up} No, I am Paule Wilke

    ... on second though, maybe that's not such a good thing to do ...
    {sits back down}

God doesn't play dice. -- Albert Einstein

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