RIAA faces possible class action over suing the innocent

After the RIAA finished sending out a new batch of 503 "pre-litigation letters" to 58 different universities around the USA, offering to let students settle copyright infringement claims "at a discounted rate" before those claims go to trial, the group learned it was on the receiving end of a class action lawsuit. The development hopes to make a class out of those "who were sued or were threatened with sued by Defendants for file-sharing, downloading or other similar activities, who have not actually engaged in actual copyright infringement."

Single mom Tanya Andersen, a defendant in a previous lawsuit brought by the RIAA, sued the RIAA for malicious prosecution after her case was dismissed with prejudice (it cannot be refiled at a later date). Her attorney filed court documents in an Oregon federal court on Wednesday that seek to elevate the case to class action status (the first time that a judge has been asked such a request for such a case). In the complaint, Andersen alleges that the RIAA "has engaged in a coordinated enterprise to pursue a scheme of threatening and intimidating litigation in an attempt to maintain its music distribution monopoly." Andersen alleges that the RIAA has violated the RICO racketeering act and charges the organization with malicious prosecution. She is also going after the RIAA's investigative arm, SafeNet, formerly known as MediaSentry. This group allegedly "conducts illegal, flawed and negligent investigations for the RIAA and its controlled member companies."

News source: Ars Technica

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"threatened with sued" :P

I hope the RIAA loses, though that should go without saying. They've run amok long enough.

Exactly! If any of us told someone "I know you broke the law so pay me or I'll report you to the FBI", it is a crime. How does the RIAA get away with it openly?

Exactly, it's extortion. You may not have done it but why risk the chance of having to pay more later, get in on our discounted price now or else.

Unwonted said,
If any of us told someone "I know you broke the law so pay me or I'll report you to the FBI", it is a crime.

The problem there is that the "victim" of this extortion would have to report it to the authorities and press charges. But if the person who is being blackmailed is actually guilty of the crime for which he is being blackmailed, do you think he would report it to the police or FBI? Not!

But if he isn't guilty, then the blackmailer has a real problem, which is exactly what is happening in this RIAA suit. The problem isn't that the RIAA has been committing extortion, but that it that it has been committing indiscriminate extortion. Instead of making sure that the parties they're prosecuting are actually guilty before they take action, they've been casting a wide net without regard to who's getting caught (and injured) in the netting. As a result, they've been catching the innocent as well as the guilty – and now they get to pay for their laziness and greed.

Will the RIAA lose? You bet your ass they will! Not only because they're guilty as charged, but because they've made so many enemies that they'd have to be tried in the middle of an Amazon jungle to get an impartial jury – and maybe not even then! They've made their bed, and now they have to lie in it!

The RIAA knows that their claims will be thrown out of court so that is why they do this in order to make money. It is extortion, plain and simple.

I hope the judge give status because this will make example out of why corp shouldn't fck with there customers.
if they want to catch true pirate start with those make money off it you will find them here all over the place in NYC.

Something needs to be done about RIAA's frivolous "John Doe" lawsuits at least. They're a legal abomination. Sure, it's done to combat copyright infringement that's illegal, but they really, really, need to start respecting law better in providing substantial evidence rather than abusing the legal system and using fear tactics rather than proof to force users into submission. It's disgusting and definitely about time they need to change these tactics.

Last thing I read about this was just today on Digg and someone who had a letter sent to him from these guys, forwarded to him by school, and about some songs he had never downloaded. He had about 40 days to settle out of court or see a suit being filed. RIAA didn't even know his name, and the songs were apparently wrong. WTF? Sure, he can get a lawyer and all, but it'll boil down to a lot of hassle because RIAA is more interested in money than doing their job right!

It's easy enough to see through their tactics too, as RIAA often backs out if a victim tries to seriously defend him/herself rather than settling out of court. They know so well from the start that their "evidence" (of something like an IP address and nothing more, like IP's can't be shared due to NAT's) isn't enough. And that's just not right. Then they shouldn't try settle in the first place!

Also, always remember that the RIAA doesn't exist as an own organization. It's a coalition of music companies, mainly the "Big Four" -- EMI, Sony BMG, Universal, and Warner Music. They're using the RIAA label to hide themselves from bad PR.

Idea #1: Allow unrestricted music copying and distribution as long as the music being ripped from CDs and the like is of a somewhat reduced bitrate and sampling frequency - like 96kbps / 22kHz - so that the listener will be compelled to actually PURCHASE the CD.

-ScottKin, that will not work they can easily just rip the music off the cd, once they purchase it and make it available on P2P Networks as well as BitTorrent sites.

yayme123 said,
-ScottKin, that will not work they can easily just rip the music off the cd, once they purchase it and make it available on P2P Networks as well as BitTorrent sites.

But if you flood the internet with crap quality sound, it will make it harder to pick the real thing from the crap. It's better than the current option, where all music you find on the torrent sites are perfect.

Piracy will never be stopped, but it can be hindered. The harder you make it to pirate the higher your revenues go (unless you protect your stuff with starforce or something intrusive like that).

Unwonted said,
But if you flood the internet with crap quality sound, it will make it harder to pick the real thing from the crap. It's better than the current option, where all music you find on the torrent sites are perfect.

File size. File name.

Also, no, they're not. Perfect would be lossless, and there's not a lot of that unless you specifically search for it, which brings up the huge file sizes again.

Also, no, they're not. Perfect would be lossless, and there's not a lot of that unless you specifically search for it, which brings up the huge file sizes again.

Lossless is only CD quality though, CDs are heavily compressed data in the first place - I can't believe they're still the main form of storing Audio, as long as you keep you Vinyls clean - they would have better audio quality.

Unwonted said,

But if you flood the internet with crap quality sound, it will make it harder to pick the real thing from the crap. It's better than the current option, where all music you find on the torrent sites are perfect.

Piracy will never be stopped, but it can be hindered. The harder you make it to pirate the higher your revenues go (unless you protect your stuff with starforce or something intrusive like that).


true. but also, people can also put real version or better quality in the mp3 name aswell. which i have seen before but, who knows for sure

This is an action the governemnt should've taken on a long time. How can the governemnt let some big corporation get away with this? I'll tell you how. The RIAA is paying them off, that's how. The people that run this country are just as crooked and dishonest and as good as bullying people as the RIAA has ever been.

cork1958 said,
This is an action the government should've taken on a long time. How can the government let some big corporation get away with this? I'll tell you how. The RIAA is paying them off, that's how. The people that run this country are just as crooked and dishonest and as good as bullying people as the RIAA has ever been.

Exactly, it's called Lobbying. While there are inherent flaws in this system that allow powerful corporations, like the RIAA group, to greatly influence our nations policy makers, it serves a purpose for the common interest groups as well. It is unfortunate that certain administrations in our history tend to pay more attention to the corporate interest rather than the common interest. But then again, this nation was built on capitalism, not communism.

In any case, it's good to see the people fighting back in this case because this has been an injustice that's gone on quite long enough.

Glen said,
It is unfortunate that certain administrations in our history tend to pay more attention to the corporate interest rather than the common interest. But then again, this nation was built on capitalism, not communism.

These administrations are being funded (payed) by a great deal of money by these corporations. It will be interesting to see how will this case end. Maybe RIAA will pay his mom a few millions to STFU. By the way, do you remember how the US administration promoted in the past (and still is promoting) hatred towards the communism ideas? Rings any bell? You think that propaganda would work back in the '50s if there was Internet those times like today?

buletov said,
By the way, do you remember how the US administration promoted in the past (and still is promoting) hatred towards the communism ideas? Rings any bell? You think that propaganda would work back in the '50s if there was Internet those times like today?

Do I think that propaganda would have worked in the 50's with today's information technology? Actually, yes I do think it would work, just as it has in recent elections and administrations since the advent of the internet. The idea of propaganda has not changed even though the medium by which it is distributed has. Perhaps I'm jaded, but I just don't see that we, as a society, have become more savvy in our efforts to distinguish the truth from the lies when they are handed to us by very intelligent people who are very good at what they do. While each generation believes they are smarter and better informed, so too are the people who's job it is to deceive us, so the balance is maintained.

But, back on topic... I completely agree with you that the RIAA will most likely buy their way out of this mess and do whatever it takes to minimize the fallout. I will be watching this story unfold with great interest.

Glen said,
Do I think that propaganda would have worked in the 50's with today's information technology? Actually, yes I do think it would work, just as it has in recent elections and administrations since the advent of the internet. The idea of propaganda has not changed even though the medium by which it is distributed has. Perhaps I'm jaded, but I just don't see that we, as a society, have become more savvy in our efforts to distinguish the truth from the lies when they are handed to us by very intelligent people who are very good at what they do. While each generation believes they are smarter and better informed, so too are the people who's job it is to deceive us, so the balance is maintained.

You've got a point there, but then again, you must agree that other parties are easier to hear with the general availability of the Internet as a quite uncensored technology (at least here in the west; take a look at China, I wonder how long can they keep censoring the Internet).

buletov said,
You've got a point there, but then again, you must agree that other parties are easier to hear with the general availability of the Internet as a quite uncensored technology (at least here in the west; take a look at China, I wonder how long can they keep censoring the Internet).

Absolutely I agree. But the problem remains in the pursuit in distinguishing lies from the truth. Especially when the lies are packaged up to taste so good and so many people are hungry for what they are selling. Propaganda works on a simple marketing principle: Tell the people what they want to hear while you quietly sell them your agenda. It worked then, it works now, and it will probably continue to work until the end of time.

As long as people have hopes and dreams, there will be ways to exploit them. This isn't pessimism, it's humanism.

i hope the class action wins and riaa will go f@k themselves ... they have gone too far and are playing a russian rulette ... and i think they just lost

what nobody seems to realize is that even if the riaa loses this class action, they will only lose money. that means they will just go after more people more aggressively to make that money back.

what i fail to understand is why so many people/corporations think money is the answer to everything. maybe those in charge of the riaa need to consider the TRUE reasons for their actions, not that i have a clue what they are.

lothodon said,
what nobody seems to realize is that even if the riaa loses this class action, they will only lose money. that means they will just go after more people more aggressively to make that money back.

what i fail to understand is why so many people/corporations think money is the answer to everything. maybe those in charge of the riaa need to consider the TRUE reasons for their actions, not that i have a clue what they are.


c

cuz money is everything.

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