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The Courts

Submission + - Motley Fool:"RIAA's Day in Court Nearly Over&#

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes: "The Motley Fool investment web site claims that"the music industry's lawsuit crusade against defenseless college students and housewives appears to have hit the skids". It says "Some lawsuits have proven ridiculous from the outset, targeting computer-illiterates and dead people, or accusing grandmothers of downloading gangsta rap. Others have been dismissed for a lack of evidence against the purported file-sharers. Nearly every standard weapon in the recording industry's legal arsenal has been proven ineffectual at best, and unconstitutional at worst." At least one commentator noted with interest that these observations emanate not from a socially conscious blog but "a hard-core commercial web site discussing stocks, investing, and personal finance"."

Feed Techdirt: Another Day, Another Smackdown By A Judge Against The RIAA (techdirt.com)

In the early days of the RIAA lawsuits, it seemed like judges just took the RIAA's word on things, but that's long since changed as lawyers defending those accused have become more sophisticated -- often realizing that the RIAA research tactics were questionable, the evidence they had was quite flimsy and the system was guaranteed to accuse all sorts of innocent people without much support. As this has happened, judges have become increasingly skeptical of these RIAA lawsuits and those who haven't done anything wrong actually (finally) have a decent chance of pointing out that the RIAA's evidence is wrong. And, in fact, judges are increasingly pushing the RIAA to pay the legal fees of the people they falsely accuse. In the latest such decision, a judge has smacked down the RIAA and ordered them to pay the legal fees in the case of Tanya Andersen. You may recall that the RIAA had accused Andersen of copyright infringement a few years ago -- and then continued to pressure and intimidate her long after it became quite obvious that Andersen clearly was not guilty of what the RIAA was accusing her of doing. The RIAA eventually dropped the case, but Andersen wanted her legal fees paid (separately, she's also suing the RIAA, claiming their investigation techniques are illegal).

The ruling from the judge on paying the legal fees is well worth reading, as it suggests yet another judge is sick and tired of the RIAA assuming that it can just throw up some flimsy evidence and then bully people into paying:

Copyright holders generally, and these plaintiffs specifically, should be deterred from prosecuting infringement claims as plaintiffs did in this case. Plaintiffs exerted a significant amount of control over the course of discovery, repeatedly and successfully seeking the court's assistance through an unusually extended and contentious period of discovery disputes. Nonetheless, after ample opportunity to develop their claims, they dismissed them at the point they were required to produce evidence for the court's consideration of the merits..... this case provides too little assurance that a prosecuting party won't deem an infringement claim unsupportable until after the prevailing defendant has been forced to mount a considerable defense, and undergo all that entails, including the incurring of substantial attorney fees.

The Courts

Submission + - Florida Judge OK's Claims Against Record Companies (blogspot.com)

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes: A federal judge in Tampa, Florida, has ruled that an RIAA defendant's counterclaim against the record companies for conspiracy to use unlicensed investigators, access private computer records without permission, and commit extortion, may move forward. The Court also sustained claims for violations of the federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act as well as a claim under Florida law for deceptive and unfair trade practices. The decision (pdf) by Judge Richard A. Lazzara in UMG v. DelCid rejected, in its entirety, the RIAA's assertion of "Noerr Pennington" immunity, since that defense does not apply to "sham litigations", and Ms. Del Cid alleges that the RIAA's cases are "sham".

Pascal is a language for children wanting to be naughty. -- Dr. Kasi Ananthanarayanan