Music/Popular Culture

RIAA’s legal overreaching is being brought under control

Since RIAA decided to start their misguided anti-downloading crusade, they’ve relied on fear of overwhelming legal fees to get their targets to settle out of court for thousands of dollars. And they’ve used the easily abused Digital Millennium Copyright Act as a means to get preliminary rulings against anonymous targets that effectively extort people to settle before risking federal lawsuits.

But some people haven’t been willing to provide the information, and so they’ve gone to court to fight against the DMCA and RIAA’s legal overreaching. And today, we have two bits of news about people who have fought back.

In the first case, Capitol vs. Foster, RIAA submitted that they were planning on appealing any award of fees to Ms. Foster in their lawsuit. Ms. Foster refused to be pushed around and filed to request that RIAA put up a $210,000 security against paying her current and future legal fees to fight the appeal.

In the second case, Capitol v. Alaujan, the judge has denied a request for a summary judgment against the self-representing Colleen Fanguiaire based on the fact that RIAA didn’t serve their legal documents to either the court or to Ms. Fanguiaire. It probably didn’t help RIAA’s case that the initial request to Ms. Fanguiaire mentioned only 9 songs, but the request for admissions to the court mentioned 41.

People are refusing to be bullied by bad federal laws and even worse RIAA lawyers, and as they do so, they’re winning in court and making RIAA spend legal fees to get bad free press. This needs to continue, and it will until RIAA and the rest of the global recording industry learn to live with downloading instead of fight against it. And when the music industry finally figures this out, they’ll also have come to terms with the fact that their profits keep falling not because of downloaders, but rather because of the all crappy music that’s not worth spending money to acquire.

(Thanks to Slashdot for pointing me to these.)

Categories: Music/Popular Culture

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3 replies »

  1. And I don’t think that last bit can be overstated. Sure, free is a great price, but people are willing to pay a fair price for value. However, when they see your product getting worse and worse and your business approach looking more and more like a Sopranos episode, it’s going to engender a certain bad faith in the marketplace.

    Spend some goddamned money on artist development and ask a fair price and see if things don’t improve…

  2. Exactly, Sam. If the record companies (and their corporate masters) could understand that the music “industry” isn’t really an industry, but an art form being turned into merchandise, they’d either a) get out and let people who understand this make the business profitable again or b) die like the gravy sucking pigs they are.

    I don’t care which happens….

  3. They ought to list the RIAA and SoundExchange under the classification of nuisance suits. Yet still another case of the corporate welfare class of America sponging rather than working. And as far as SoundExchange, this is interesting.

    Dvorak: What the French got right with proposed DRM law

    Tuesday, March 28, 2006

    “So France doesn’t like the idea that Apple and the iPod and iTunes are intertwined with a proprietary structure that has no way for any other player/music download service to compete. The French say that Apple must either open the kimono, as it were, or be banned. Apple thinks it may as well walk away from France,” John C. Dvorak writes for PC Magazine. “Screw those French!”

    “The French are also skeptical about the whole movie-piracy phenomenon. Why should illegally downloading the equivalent of a $19 disc result in a $250,000 fine and 5 years in prison? Shoplifting a $100 item from a store