Friday, March 23, 2007

In Capitol v. Foster, Court Directs RIAA to Turn Over Attorney Billing Records to Ms. Foster's Lawyer, Rules that Documents Are Confidential

In Capitol v. Foster, the Court directed the RIAA to turn over its attorney billing records to Ms. Foster's attorneys by March 26th, rejected the RIAA's request that the records be placed under seal, and directed that the documents shall be treated as confidential by Ms. Foster's lawyers pending further order of the Court:

March 22, 2007, Order, Granting Motion to Compel, Rejecting Request to Place Documents Under Seal, and Directing that Documents are Confidential Pending Further Order of the Court*

* Document published online at Internet Law & Regulation

Keywords: digital copyright online download upload peer to peer p2p file sharing filesharing music movies indie label freeculture creative commons pop/rock artists riaa independent mp3 cd favorite songs

14 comments:

Megan said...

I'm a bit confused about "treat as confidential" vs. "sealed".

I know from reading (many) filings on Groklaw that when things are under seal, the public gets to see a redacted version where the proprietary/confidential/whatever bits are omitted.

How does "treat as confidential" differ?

Ray Beckerman said...

Under seal means it's at the courthouse.

AMD FanBoi said...

Haven't I read elsewhere that billing records such as these are virtually never considered confidential, or privileged? If so, isn't this something that the judge will likely soon make public because there is no legal basis to keep them hidden?

Anonymous said...

"If so, isn't this something that the judge will likely soon make public because there is no legal basis to keep them hidden?"

IANAL, but my guess is that the judge is asking the defendant to not release those records because he is considering the "reconsideration" motion.

Alter_Fritz said...

funny argument they have:
since I spoiled their secrets about the roadmap for "would-be infringers" they now claim that the billing information would offer a road map for "being defendants" about litigation.
I bet Ray, next week they ask the government to close your blog, since it offers a road map for defendants too!

Aren't they a bit paranoid now?
Trust us RIAA, nobody wants to devestate you, it's all your own fault because you simply refuse to sell what people want! Even college students does not want your stupid DRM infected shit if they could get it for free via your approved outlets. They rather "steal" then take your free presents! Isn't nobody with a bit of a brain working for the RIAA members anymore to see that?!

Uplinktruck said...

Pity about the confidential part. I would love to see what they are spending on these cases vs. what they are bringing in.

Ray Beckerman said...

amd...

you've read somewhere that they're not privileged.....

that is a totally separate issue from the issue of whether they can be made public.....

Ray Beckerman said...

alter_fritz....

in response to your question................


no

Ray Beckerman said...

uplinktruck.......

the judge ruled on it provisionally. he hasn't determined that they are going to stay confidential.

certainly their substance will be discussed when the judge renders his final order determining the amount of the attorneys fees.

Alter_Fritz said...

uplinktruck, your curiosity is exactly what they fear. See their Motion Argument:
"If the hundreds of other current and future defendants in cases like this one had information concerning how much plaintiffs spend on a particular case, that would give them an unfair advantage over Plaintiffs and would negatively impact Plaintiffs' ability to settle future cases"*


* http://www.ilrweb.com/viewILRPDF.asp?filename=capitol_foster_070322RIAAMotProtectiveOrder

Sanji Himura said...

And considering that they file John Doe suits at $600 a pop instead of tens of thousands of dollars, I think that the public should know how much the RIAA spends on high end cases such as this. It is embarrassingly high, I should assume.

Dr_Art said...

From the document (emphasis mine): "If the hundreds of other current and future defendants in cases like this one had information concerning how much plaintiffs spend on a particular case, that would give them an unfair advantage over Plaintiffs and would negatively impact Plaintiffs' ability to settle future cases"

I thought they've already sued ~20,000 so far. So what about the "unfair advantage" posed by Plaintiff's "100s" of lawyers and seemingly "unlimited" cash over the resources of a single defendant? Is there some way to turn this around on a counter claim as a class action so the defendants can pool their resources?

ryan said...

Well I dislike admitting it but they did finally say something that sounds reasonable. As much as I would like to see the details and as much as I feel their cases are unjust, the release of that info would be bad for litigation on their part. In general if you know your opponents 'break' point it gives you an 'unfair' advantage. However the RIAA has been having an unfair advantage in the fact that they knew they were most likely to have WAY more money than anyone they sued. So as much as they have filed strange protection orders and confidentiality requests this one will likely be upheld. Then again that may depend on what is actually in it.

As for the Hundreds, well they did sue thousands of people, but most have been either settled or defaulted, so the ‘hundreds’ may be appropriate.

I have a feeling the judge is annoyed a bit a both parties here with his statement “5. All other relief, including any party's attorneys' fee or costs arising with respect to this motion is herby DENIED.” IE The defense will not get paid back for the time it took to file the compulsion order as part of the other legal fee awards.

Dr_Art said...

Yeah, I especially thought that the denial of recovery of fees was unfair to the Defendant. After all, this phase of the case is to determine "reasonableness" of the attorneys fees that the Plaintiff will have to pay, and the current order is to enforce a previous order of the judge. The Plaintiffs are just trying to add conditions after the fact.