Thursday, March 02, 2006

Mystery : RIAA Discontinues Against John Doe #8 in Atlantic v. Does1-25

A great mystery:

RIAA has discontinued its case against John Doe #8 in Atlantic v. Does 1-25.

Notice of Voluntary Dismissal (Published at Internet Law & Regulation)

That is the case in Manhattan federal court before Judge Swain, in which defendant John Doe #8 had moved to vacate the court's ex parte discovery order, affidavits of programmer Zi Mei were presented challenging the Jonathan Whitehead declarations, and Mr. Whitehead later corrected an "error" in his submissions.

We don't know why this discontinuance has occurred.

Usually RIAA does that only when the name and address information has been turned over. But for that to have occurred here, it would probably mean that the ISP and the RIAA would have been violating a court-ordered stay.

Possibly they discontinued because they felt they would lose the motion and did not want to set a bad precedent.

We will keep you posted if we get any additional information.


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CodeWarrior said...

You're probably right Ray.

At least, it shows a chink in their armor to me.

zi said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
qwasinaut01 said...


The notice says "dismiss ... against the remaining defendants" (emphasis mine). Does that indicate that Does 4 and 22 were already dismissed and the whole action has now been discontinued?

jaded said...

Hypothetical questions:

If the RIAA were to dismiss suit against all those that would lead to a court case, how would any sufficient precedent get set? Are there grounds for any of the Does to bring suit against the RIAA to force the issue (assuming they wanted to/could bear the costs of such)? Are there a sufficient number of other cases that will probably go to trial to accomplish that?

I'm also curious as to particulars of Does 4 & 22.


Ray Beckerman said...

1. According to that document, the whole action is now dismissed.

2. jaded, I don't understand your questions but I can tell you: (a) under the rules a plaintiff can voluntarily dismiss a case before a defendant has served an answer; (b) I personally believe that there are many people who have grounds for suing the RIAA, and indeed Tanya Andersen has done that in Oregon; (c) I have no knowledge of how many cases there are or how many probably will go to trial.

Ray Beckerman said...

At this point it is all speculation.

I have asked the RIAA's attorneys what is going on, and they have not responded.

There has been an eery silence.

All I know is that there is some confusion in their ranks.

One very serious possibility is that John Doe's name and address was turned over in violation of the stay. If this occurred it would be a very serious matter, a contempt of court, which could be a very grave matter for an attorney or for a law firm, and it may be that the highest echelons of the law firms -- even those partners who have nothing to do with the RIAA litigation -- are involved in trying to figure out how best to present this matter to the Judge without getting themselves in worse trouble.

Right now I can only wait, but I think the Judge will want to know what's going on as much as I do.

Ray Beckerman said...

Dear Zi

In response to your speculation about what I meant, I never can presume to predict what will happen in any given case. It is up to the judge and the jury, not me.

All I know is that with respect to the instant motion, the Judge appeared to be very familiar with the applicable law, and to have read and studied the caselaw carefully, all of which gives me great optimism, but I would never try to say what will "likely" happen.

David Fedoruk said...

A chink int he armour indeed! I hope for the best here.

For a long time I have known that there is an underlying problem in the upper echalons of the businesss world. It is that they are completely disconnected with the advances in technology.

They are not technophobes by any means. Their power and positions have enabled them to simply bypass it. They have "left the details" to others for so long they no longer know what "the details are".

Steve Jobs had to explain this in detail to them, to get them to understand that the word "burn" in conjunction wiht making a CD-ROM meant to write data to the blank media and not to steal or hurt someone else.

The lack of basic technical understanding on the part of someone they call a Vice President Johnathan Whitehead was truly alarming. He knew less than a highschool computer technologies student would be expected to know.

How on earth can major corporation think they can run a whole industry when they cannot even keep up in the changes in technology which directly affect it?


David Fedoruk said...

Is anyone willilng to take a guess at how long Johnathan Whitehead will remain in his current position?

One of the possibilities is that they someone has realised that the people they thought new enough to gather evidence, in fact were not competant to. They will restrucfture the team and find people more technically competant.

Just another wild guess,


Ray Beckerman said...

Dear David Fedoruk,

You seem to be assuming facts not in evidence -- i.e. that the RIAA is operated rationally.

Best regards,