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The Courts

RIAA Pays Tanya Andersen $107,951 312

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "Well, Phase I of the RIAA's misguided pursuit of an innocent, disabled Oregon woman, Atlantic v. Andersen, has finally drawn to a close, as the RIAA was forced to pay Ms. Andersen $107,951, representing the amount of her attorneys fee judgment plus interest. But as some have pointed out, reimbursement for legal fees doesn't compensate Ms. Andersen for the other damages she's sustained. And that's where Phase II comes in, Andersen v. Atlantic. There the shoe is on the other foot, and Tanya is one doing the hunting, as she pursues the record companies and their running dogs for malicious prosecution. Should be interesting."
The Courts

BusinessWeek Takes On the RIAA 241

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "BusinessWeek magazine has gone medieval on the RIAA, recounting in grisly detail the cruel ordeal to which the RIAA has subjected a completely innocent defendant, Tanya Andersen of Oregon. Nobody can read the story and come to any other conclusion than that the RIAA and its lawyers are total jerks. Of course we've been reading about Atlantic v. Andersen on and on my blog, and discussing it here, but there's something extra special about a mainstream publication like Business Week really letting them have it."
The Courts

RIAA's Boston University Subpoena Quashed 39

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "As first reported by p2pnet, the motion to quash the RIAA's subpoena seeking identities of Boston University students has been granted, at least for the moment. In a 52-page opinion (pdf) the Judge concluded that she could not decide whether or not to quash until she had seen the college's 'Terms of Service Agreement' for internet service. It was only then she could decide what 'expectation of privacy' the students had. She quashed the subpoena calling for the student identities, and told them they could go ahead with a subpoena just for the terms of service agreement. Interestingly the decision was issued on the very same day as the judge in Elektra v. Barker came to some of the same conclusions."
The Courts

Should RIAA Investigators Have To Disclose Evidence? 216

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "A technology battle is raging in UMG v. Lindor, a court case in Brooklyn. The issue at hand is whether the RIAA's investigator SafeNet (the company that acquired MediaSentry) now needs to disclose its digital files, validation methodology, testing procedures, failure rates, software manuals, protocols, packet logs, source code, and other materials, so that the validity of its methods can be evaluated by the defense. SafeNet and the RIAA say no, claiming that the information is 'proprietary and confidential'. Ms. Lindor says yes, if you're going to testify in federal court the other side has a right to test your evidence. A list of what is being sought (pdf) is available online. MediaSentry has produced 'none of the above'. 'Put up or shut up' says one commentator to SafeNet."
The Courts

University of San Francisco Law Clinic Joins Fight Against RIAA 106

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "The RIAA's litigation campaign has met resistance from the academic community before, but now it's been taken to a whole new level: the defense of RIAA victims who are not part of the college community. First the University of Oregon lashed out on behalf of its students, then it was the University of Maine's Cumberland Legal Aid Clinic on behalf of its undergrads. Now, the University of San Francisco School of Law has taken the fight a giant step further. Its Intellectual Property Law Clinic's attorneys-in-training, working under the supervision of law professors, are going to bat against the RIAA by helping outside lawyers to defend their clients, pro bono. They reached out 3000 miles to get involved in Elektra v. Torres and Maverick v. Chowdhury, two cases going on in Brooklyn, NY, against non-college defendants. Two of the law students in the USF's legal program assisted in the research and preparation of briefs in these cases, opposing the RIAA's motion to dismiss the defendants' counterclaims. Thousands of honor students throughout United States law schools, most of them digital natives who actually understand the legal fallacies and technological missteps the RIAA is taking, and who can't wait to expose them, make a pretty good resource for the poor and middle class people trying to defend these cases."
The Internet

Proposed Bill in Tennessee Penalizes Schools for Allowing Piracy 129

An anonymous reader brings us an Ars Technica report about a proposed bill in Tennessee which would require state-funded universities to enforce anti-piracy standards. The universities would be forced to "track down and stop infringing activity" or risk losing their funding. The U.S. Congress requested last year that certain universities do this voluntarily. Quoting: "Efforts taken by universities thus far to deter and prevent piracy have had mixed results. The University of Utah, for instance, claims that it has reduced MPAA and RIAA complaints by 90 percent and saved $1.2 million in bandwidth costs by instituting anti-piracy filtering mechanisms. However, the school revealed that their filtering system hasn't been able to stop encrypted P2P traffic and noted that students will find ways to circumvent any system. The end result, some say, will be a costly arms race as students perpetually work to circumvent anti-piracy systems put in place by universities."

RIAA Not Sharing Settlement Money With Artists 233

Klatoo55 writes "Various artists are considering lawsuits in order to press for their share of the estimated hundreds of millions of dollars the RIAA has obtained from settlements with services such as Bolt, KaZaA, and Napster. According to TorrentFreak's report on the potential action, there may not even be much left to pay out after monstrous legal fees are taken care of. The comments from the labels all claim that the money is on its way, and is simply taking longer due to difficulties dividing it all up."

RIAA Wants Songwriter Royalty Lowered 343

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "Lest there be anyone left who believes the RIAA's propaganda that its litigation campaign is intended to benefit the 'creators' of the music, Hollywood Reporter reports that the RIAA is asking the Copyright Royalty Board to lower songwriter royalties on song file downloads, from the present rate of 9 cents per song — about 13% of the wholesale price — down to 8% of wholesale. Meanwhile, the big digital music companies, such as Apple, want the royalty rate lowered even more, to something like 4% of wholesale. So any representations by any of these companies that they are concerned for the 'creators' of the music must henceforth be taken with a boxcar-load of salt."
The Courts

RIAA Wants $1.5 Million Per CD Copied 408

I Don't Believe in Imaginary Property writes "Not content with current statutory damages, the RIAA is pushing for higher damages for infringement, damages that would total $1.5 million for copying a CD with ten songs. It's all part of debate over the proposed PRO-IP Act. William Patry, a lawyer who wrote the seminal seven-volume reference on US copyright law, called it the most 'outrageously gluttonous IP bill ever introduced in the US.'"

RIAA Drops Case, Should Have Sued Someone Else 195

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "Once again the RIAA has dropped a case with prejudice, this time after concluding it was the defendant's daughter it should have sued in the first place. In the case of Lava v. Amurao, mindful that in similar scenarios it has been held liable for the defendant's attorney fees (Capitol v. Foster and Atlantic v. Andersen), the RIAA went on the offensive. In this case there was actually no attorney fee motion pending, making their motion all the more intriguing. The organization argued that it was the defendant's fault that the record companies sued the wrong person, because the defendant didn't tell them that his daughter was the file sharer they were looking for."
The Courts

RIAA Argues That MP3s From CDs Are Unauthorized 668

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "In an Arizona case against a defendant who has no legal representation, Atlantic v. Howell, the RIAA is now arguing — contrary to its lawyers' statements to the United States Supreme Court in 2005 MGM v. Grokster — that the defendant's ripping of personal MP3 copies onto his computer is a copyright infringement. At page 15 of its brief (PDF) it states the following: 'It is undisputed that Defendant possessed unauthorized copies... Virtually all of the sound recordings... are in the ".mp3" format for his and his wife's use... Once Defendant converted Plaintiffs' recordings into the compressed .mp3 format and they are in his shared folder, they are no longer the authorized copies...'"
The Courts

Record Company Collusion a Defense to RIAA Case? 275

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "Is collusion by the record companies a defense to an RIAA case? We're about to find out, because the RIAA has made a motion to strike the affirmative defense of Marie Lindor, who alleged that "the plaintiffs, who are competitors, are a cartel acting collusively in violation of the antitrust laws and of public policy, by tying their copyrights to each other, collusively litigating and settling all cases together, and by entering into an unlawful agreement among themselves to prosecute and to dispose of all cases in accordance with a uniform agreement, and through common lawyers, thus overreaching the bounds and scope of whatever copyrights they might have" in UMG v. Lindor."

RIAA Mischaracterizes Letter Received From AOL 287

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "In Elektra v. Schwartz, an RIAA case against a Queens woman with Multiple Sclerosis who indicates that she had never even heard of file sharing until the RIAA came knocking on her door, the judge held that Ms. Schwartz's summary judgment request for dismissal was premature because the RIAA said it had a letter from AOL 'confirm[ing] that defendant owned an internet access account through which copyrighted sound recordings were downloaded and distributed.' When her lawyers got a copy of the actual AOL letter they saw that it had no such statement in it, and asked the judge to reconsider."

Use the Force, Luke.