Tuesday, March 13, 2007

RIAA Sues Stroke Victim in Michigan

The RIAA has now brought suit against a stroke victim in Michigan in Warner v. Paladuk:

Summons in Warner v. Paladuk*

Although the defendant John Paladuk, an employee of C&N Railroad for 36 years, was living in Florida at the time of the alleged copyright infringement, and had notified the RIAA that he had not engaged in any copyright infringement, and despite that the fact that Mr. Paladuk suffered a stroke last year which resulted in complete paralysis of his entire left side and severely impaired speech, rendering him disabled, and despite the fact that his disability check is his sole source of income, the RIAA commenced suit against him on February 27, 2007.

* Document published online at Internet Law & Regulation

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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

33 comments:

Alter_Fritz said...

well Ray, what do you expect from the "lovely" Mr. Krichbaum?!

He maybe hopes that a partialy paralysed and speech impaired defendant is unable to challenge all that recording industry stuff.

[me selfcensoring here, Krichbaum isn't worth that I look up some english vocabulary I don't know at the moment to express my german thought processes]

Ray Beckerman said...

For those of you who may not have followed the cases as closely as alter_fritz, Mr. Krichbaum is the attorney who handled Motown v. Nelson, and was, in that case, accused by a teenager of having told her what to say in her deposition testimony.

Alter_Fritz said...

your answered faster than i could find the old link:
Mr. Krichbaum well-known



Krichbaum seems to be a well-known lawyer just like those well-known record companies love them the most!

AMD FanBoi said...

Isn't there something in the law where plantiffs have to assert to the best of their knowledge that those they sue aren't children, infirm, or in the military? Or is that just in terms of how long defendants are allowed in making their replies?

Kenneth said...

'The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers' ~ Henry VI (Shakespeare)

hehe barring ofcourse all the lawyers defending against the RIAA :P We love you guys, and gals ;)

Ray its been a long time since I posted but I've always been reading up and glad to see that you're still fighting the good fight. :)

Ok, moving on. Seriously, there should be more stern laws against this sort of thing, where if one brings this kind of case that is moraly questionable at best.. I'm thinking getting whacked with a cane like in Singapore.

Buuut they won't be touched, too many people in their back pockets.

Ray, I know you will, but I still want to say this anyways, I hope some time soon when you get a chance, and the judge denies the RIAA's motion to withdraw when they are losing their lil' temper tantrum lawsuit, that you'll go right for the throat, no punches pulled, that you nail them to the scales that lady justice holds.

Ray Beckerman said...

1. Remember, folks, no profanity. The RIAA reads this blog, and they have referred the judges to it. So let's keep the commentary dignified. No profanity, no unsupported personal attacks, etc.

2. The quote from Shakespeare was uttered by a character who was trying to seize power and become a tyrant.

Fatal_Flaw said...

Er, sry if I let a curse word slip by, wasn't intended.

About Henry VI, sadly I admit I've never actually seen the play in its entirety, but I wan't to. As to the would be tyrant, I think I'd rather take my chances with him/her than live with the constant day to day of hearing what the RIAA are doing to innocent families all in the name of the all mighty dollar.

Not caring who's lives they destroy just because they couldn't buy their 1,937th ferrari enzo, possibly taking the money out of the pockets of a family that needs it for an operation or something.

I'm sure the hospital isnt going to support this stroke victim and write off the bill.

And the Riaa's opinion? Who cares, he possibly, and we're just guessing with very little to no evidence at all, let alone water tight, downloaded a mp3 that was already in the wild and the damage he supposidly did or did not do is actually miniscule in the grand scheme of things.

I'm actually suprised the major media outlets aren't having a field day with this one.

Alter_Fritz said...

Fatal_Flaw

The major media outlets have no intention to report about the injustice of the RIAA actions. It's all one big conglomerate of the same companies and shareholders.
And with regards to your opinion about mp3 and damages. Since the copyrightholders themself DO NOT offer to sell mp3 music that those "criminal thiefs" want, there is never ever one single cent damage if someone gets a product that is not for sale in the first place after all.

StephenH said...

RIAA has poor manners to go after someone who just suffered a stroke and probably did not download or share any music. RIAA needs to understand that their evidence is unreliable and more importantly doesn't prove infringement.

Anonymous said...

The only response that works on the RIAA is shaming. And that requires media attention, and by media I mean the Mainstream Media. Blogs can be dismissed as the rantings of fanatics. But if we can get the folks who support disabled people riled up & upset at the RIAA, we can get some leverage. So keep it polite & try to pass this on to people who will do better at getting MSM attention.

Anonymous said...

How come pay per song music sites (approved of by the RIAA) sell mp3's for .99 cents, while the RIAA says the songs are worth $150,000 each in a lawsuit? The punishment doesn't seem to fit the crime.

Jadeic (aka Dave) said...

Anonymous said...

"The punishment doesn't seem to fit the crime."

Welcome to the whacky world that is the RIAA.

Ray Beckerman said...

Here's the actual quote
from Shakespeare's King
Henry VI:

http://www.online-literature.com/
shakespeare/henryVI2/14/

It's actually a great tribute to lawyers, and to the rule of law, that a charlatan and would-be tyrant recognized that the first order of business would be to silence lawyers.

marty said...

RIAA... said to see how sue your customers... especially when it looks like they haven't done anything wrong.

Maybe if RIAA spent more on embracing new technology and actually giving the artists/songwriters their fair share of the profits instead of wasting it on court fees, people would respect them more.

Anonymous said...

*1. Remember, folks, no profanity. The RIAA reads this blog, and they have referred the judges to it. So let's keep the commentary dignified. No profanity, no unsupported personal attacks, etc*

i dont believe any amount of profanity would be enough to condemn a body that would sue a disabled guy paralysed on one half of his body
i came across this on digg, i dont follow the stories of the riaa but this caught my eye, its void of any humanity and decency

Ray Beckerman said...

This is the comment policy on "Recording Industry vs. The People". If you think any part of it is unfair, or if you think I've omitted anything that should be in there, please let me know.
Thank you.

Comment policy:

-no comment spam
-no profanity
-no RIAA trolls masquerading as something else (if RIAA PR flacks present themselves for who they are, they are welcome to participate)
-no unsupported accusations
-no defamation
-no unsupported anti-lawyer or anti-judge insults (if you know of something specific that a lawyer or judge did, with which you disagree, and you want to comment fairly upon it fine, but I don't want people here denigrating the legal profession with undocumented insults; I think that is a tactic used by RIAA trolls and some other big corporations who are trying to discourage ordinary people from talking to lawyers and learning about their legal rights, or from going to court to fight for their rights; lawyers and judges are the cornerstone of the rule of law, which is the cornerstone of our democracy)
-nothing to detract from the dignity of "Recording Industry vs. The People" as a forum for the discussion of very important issues.

Ray Beckerman said...

Dear anonymous, I agree with you that the RIAA executives and their attorneys who are suing that poor man are "expletives deleted".

Just remember to delete the expletives and keep this forum dignified.

Miharu said...

On the subject of how much actual "damage" is caused by illegal downloading, the textbook for my course in American Popular Music had this to say about downloading music around when the iTunes Music Store was created and when Roxio acquired Napster:

While there was no question that CD sales had gone down in this period, there were many questions regarding just how much, what portion could be attributed to free downloading, and, whether, in its relentless pursuit of file swappers, the music industry had lost sight of its primary mission. Industry figures of decline ranged from 26 percent to 31 percent over the three-year period marking the start of the new millenium and file sharing was always cited as a major source of the problem. According to statistics from Forrester Research, however, the decline in sales since 2000 had been 15 percent, with only 35 percent of that amount due to unauthorized downloading.* In addition to being perceived as the cultural schoolyard bully, there was also some sense that the industry was exaggerating both its losses and the proportion that could be attributed to file swapping. Seldom did the music industry analysis attribute the decline to competition from DVDs and video games or the fact that so many record labels were in play that industry executives were more concerned about cutting costs, trimming artist rosters, and managing bottom lines than producing music. Nor did anyone mention that the music industry's losses were comparable to the decline in the economy as a whole following the devastating effects of 9/11. Moreover, implicit in the music industry's logic was an unproven assumption that a CD downloaded was a CD not bought. If anything, there were more studies showing that downloaders bought more music than nondownloaders, rather than the other way around. Whatever the actual figures, it finally had to be admitted that while punitive lawsuits might make file swappers fearful of downloading for a time--at best, a temporary reprieve awaiting better user anonymity--they certainly were not designed to stimulate CD sales. The San Jose Mercury News put it best when it editorialized: "Suing your customers, as a long-term strategy, is dumb."**

That and the fact that we're listening to *formulated* music rather than anything original. Everything sounds alike these days, no wonder nobody wants to buy CDs--they don't want to listen to anything new!

Excerpt from Reebee Garofalo's "Rockin' Out - Popular Music in the U.S.A.", Third Edition.
* Neil Strauss, "File-Sharing Battle Leaves Musicians Caught in Middle," New York Times, 14 September 2003. URL: http://www.nytimes.com/2003/09/14/technology/14MUSI.html
** Editorial, "The Sound of Lawsuits," San Jose Mercury News, 9 September 2003. URL: http://www.bayarea.com/mld/mercurynews/news/opinion/6727444.htm

Will said...

Did the alleged infringement take place in Michigan? Was the defendant in Michigan at the time? Does the defendant have an Internet connection in his name in Michigan that someone else was using? Does the defendant own property in Michigan?

I'm just trying to figure out why the RIAA thinks the Eastern District of Michigan would have jurisdiction over the defendant.

Ray Beckerman said...

This is the comment policy on "Recording Industry vs. The People". If you think any part of it is unfair, or if you think I've omitted anything that should be in there, please let me know.
Thank you.

Comment policy:

-no comment spam
-no profanity
-no RIAA trolls masquerading as something else (if RIAA PR flacks present themselves for who they are, they are welcome to participate)
-no unsupported accusations
-no defamation
-no threats
-no unsupported anti-lawyer or anti-judge insults (if you know of something specific that a lawyer or judge did, with which you disagree, and you want to comment fairly upon it fine, but I

don't want people here denigrating the legal profession with undocumented insults; I think that is a tactic used by RIAA trolls and some other big corporations who are trying to

discourage ordinary people from talking to lawyers and learning about their legal rights, or from going to court to fight for their rights, thinking the system is stacked against them; lawyers

and judges are the cornerstone of the rule of law, which is the cornerstone of our democracy, and they are the closest thing we have to an equalizer in our society)
-nothing to detract from the dignity of "Recording Industry vs. The People" as a forum for the discussion of very important issues.

ElbowGeek said...

I can only say that miharu's citations and comments are spot on. I've had kids tell me that the real reason they download one or two songs is that basically they only find the one or two worth downloading, the rest being garbage in their view. Also, music produced today is so digitally processed and "polished" - with all audible flaws that would have otherwise lent character to the performance burnished out - that it really holds no long term staying power.

As an example, one can listen to an original Beatles tune a thousand times and still hear something you never heard previously. However modern day, digitally processed pop is so devoid of anything worth listening to beyond it's original release date that it's very disposability makes the thought of "owning" the tracks a waste of money.

For my part, I get my music for free - by acquiring vinyl. I rarely listen to digital music and I have people just handing me vinyl for free all over the place. It sounds vastly better than digital and it's a heck of a lot cheaper.

Cheers

Ray Beckerman said...

Someone put in a post that said it's okay to sue a stroke victim.

I don't know if that person is or is not an RIAA troll, but I have no patience for that type of mentality.

Following are my comment policies:

This is the comment policy on "Recording Industry vs. The People". If you think any part of it is unfair, or if you think I've omitted anything that should be in there, please let me know.
Thank you.

Comment policy:

-no comment spam
-no profanity
-no RIAA trolls masquerading as something else (if RIAA PR flacks present themselves for who they are, they are welcome to participate)
-no unsupported accusations
-no defamation
-no threats
-no unsupported anti-lawyer or anti-judge insults (if you know of something specific that a lawyer or judge did, with which you disagree, and you want to comment fairly upon it fine, but I don't want people here denigrating the legal profession with undocumented insults; I think that is a tactic used by RIAA trolls and some other big corporations who are trying to discourage ordinary people from talking to lawyers and learning about their legal rights, or from going to court to fight for their rights, thinking the system is stacked against them; lawyers and judges are the cornerstone of the rule of law, which is the cornerstone of our democracy, and they are the closest thing we have to an equalizer in our society)
-nothing to detract from the dignity of "Recording Industry vs. The People" as a forum for the discussion of very important issues.

Anonymous said...

Having worked in the digital publication industry I can tell you that there's only about a 10% loss due to piracy. Most people prefer print mags unless they are news or circulation mags. The digital publishers get an earful from the publication companies about how piracy is costing them $$$. The pub industry feels if someone is willing to pirate their mag or book then that's $50 (or whatever the full price is) lost. However, if anti-piracy measures are put into place they actually find themselves losing revenue in their digital ventures. Turns out piracy was a form of advertising.

The old monolithic media architectures obviously aren't doing their job and adapting to the new internet medium. For crying out loud it's been 6 years since most people have subscribed to broadband. Criminalizing your customers has never worked. Just ask Microsoft. Has their sales of Vista risen since the implementation of their aggresive registration system? NO it hasn't! It's gone down. The reality is that the product is not needed and full of issues that haven't been ironed out yet. Ergo, all the returned laptops and desktop PCs with Vista installed on them.

Anonymous said...

The sad fact is that money is the only thing some people and companies care about, no matter what we might think of them.

I too am tired of random facts twisted to "prove" copyright infringement. While the RIAA most likely didn't know anything about the guy they were suing until after the lawsuit was filed, its not likely they'll give any consideration to his situation with their history.

The recording industry seems to be tightening their grip because there's less good product and more consumers looking to get away from anything to do with them. Suing people outside your target market to scare your diminishing source of income is pretty low, and people see through that.

All we want to do is discover and share good music. Limiting that with frivolous lawsuits will drive listeners further away and to other means of satisfying those needs. What's next, banning internet radio because it can be recorded in a round-about way? We better ban computers then... just to be safe. I'm surprised there isn't already a hefty tax on all internet connections. Although, I wouldn't mind that tax as much if it allowed unlimited music downloading and sharing with no DRM.

I would ask anyone of influence in these RIAA lawsuits to forget about the money and think about what kind of future this is creating. What good can come of destroying lives for money and bad press?

Ray Beckerman said...

Actually they did know before commencing suit against him anyway.

Alvin said...

There are a number of remedies available to those who are subjects of improper lawsuits, including a suit back for "abuse of process."
Also, there is an old English common law offense called "barratry," which means the filing of excessive lawsuits. Any judge hearing of this will surely be amused, since he or she studied this in law school, but has very likely not seen it since. Were I subject to this type of RIAA suit, I would immediately countersue on those grounds. This is not expensive, and surely one can find a law student to help (anonymously, and without fee) in drafting the proper papers.

Cloud8Blogger said...

OMG! What the hell were they thinking?!?!

Cloud8Blogger said...

OMG! I can't believe that they've done that! Poor man!

zi said...

hello miharu, great excerpt!! I read Reebee Garofalo's "ROCKIN' THE BOAT: Mass Music and Mass Movements" for one of my SOC classes. I certainly agree w/ Prof Garofalo. I believe that the RIAA is going about this all wrong. They have now blaming p2p networks rather than face the ugly truth: the times are a-changin' technologically, culturally and economically and they have failed to keep up. Any student of history and economics knows that events and trends are cyclical. Something comes along, established dominance for a while, then declines as the next wave of innovation and change takes hold. 8 tracks were replaced by cassette tapes, which were replaced by CD's. VHS was replaced by DVD, which will soon be replaced by HD-DVD/Blu-ray.

In NYC, where I live, more people seem to own mp3 players than CD players now. It is quite rare to see someone with a portable CD player on the train or bus. If it's not an iPod (but in 75% of cases, it's an iPod), it's another brand of player, or a PSP, cellphone, or other digital music player. What is happening with the music industry now is a part of the natural order, but that is not what the RIAA wants you to know. No.. it's not changing consumer preferences and technology -- it's them thieves like Mr. Paladuk. UMG chairman Doug Morris says: "These devices are just repositories for stolen music, and they all know it".

If the RIAA were to spend even a fraction of the $$ on promoting goodwill and music appreciation that they're spending on these unjust lawsuits, they'd come out on top. Kids don't have a lot of money, but they have a lot of time, and collectively, a lot of power (MySpace, YouTube). When they grow up and have jobs, they'll have a LOT of disposable income. Like it or not, p2p and file-sharing isn't going away. Napster changed the entire world, and no amount of suing can undo that effect.

Instead of turning young people on to a lifelong love of music and support for the arts by encouraging musical discovery and sharing, the RIAA is doing the opposite-- creating resentment and fear. By suing kids and families, the RIAA is making new enemies everyday.

As a music lover, I discovered almost all the music I like now as a result of music sharing, from roommates, co-workers, and friends. I was exposed to stuff I never heard of before, and would never even think to pick up in a store. For $18 a CD, that's a big risk if the CD sucks, but if I could listen to a friend's CD or song and decide I like it, I'll go buy the CD. I agree with Prof Garofalo.. sharing actually promotes sales. If I only had access to radio or MTV, my music tastes right now would be pretty limited and poor. I'd be limited to top 40's, not the eclectic collection I have now, from great ladies of the blues and Woody Guthrie to Finnish death metal. I would say I spent several thousand dollars buying music that was introduced to me by friends or the Internet.

Anonymous said...

Gotta say, this hits close to home, and only reinforces my position that I will never purchase another music CD, and have stopped my friends from buying CD's due to these peoples actions.

Anonymous said...

I'm not very much into music, in part because of the high cost, plus I prefer live music.

Regardless, I tend to think that RIAA is essentially a terrorist organization, operating in the corporate interest.

You can find some RIAA wrongdoing listed here.

Anonymous said...

Did the alleged infringement take place in Michigan? Was the defendant in Michigan at the time? Does the defendant have an Internet connection in his name in Michigan that someone else was using? Does the defendant own property in Michigan?

Like that matters.

You have to fight back, people. Every time someone settles, they feed the monster.

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