In UMG v. Del Cid, in Tampa, Florida, the defendant had interposed counterclaims, including claims for extortion and conspiracy. On August 16, 2007, she amended her counterclaims*.
The RIAA moved to dismiss all six counterclaims.
The Court has returned its decision, granting the motion as to one counterclaim, and denying it as to the other five, including the counterclaims for extortion and conspiracy.
At the outset the Court rejected entirely the RIAA's assertion of the Noerr-Pennington defense as a basis for dismissal, since the doctrine does not protect "sham litigation", and Ms. Del Cid had alleged that the infringement suits were "sham litigation".
The Court dismissed the third counterclaim, for copyright misuse, saying that it might constitute a defense, but did not qualify as a "cause of action".
Trespass, extortion, conspiracy, Computer Fraud & Abuse Act, Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act, declaratory judgment of noninfringement
The court sustained defendant's counterclaims for
-trespass to defendant's personal property based on the RIAA's having accessed files on Ms. Del Cid's computer without her permission,
-violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act based on the RIAA's unauthorized intrusion into defendant's computer,
-violation of Florida's Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act,
-a declaratory judgment of non-infringement, and
-conspiracy to commit extortion, since defendant sufficiently alleged "a peculiar power of coercion possessed by Plaintiffs [by] virtue of their combination, which an individual alone would not possess".
Defendant's sixth counterclaim, which the Court upheld, alleges:
Plaintiffs have conspired among themselves and with others to commit theMs. Del Cid is represented by Michael Wasylik of Ricardo & Wasylik, in Dade City, Florida.
following illegal acts to further the ends of their conspiracy: (a) use of private
investigators to conduct investigations in Florida against Florida residents,
without license, in violation of Fla. Stat. Chapter 493; (b) unauthorized access to a
protected computer system, in interstate commerce, for the purpose of obtaining
information in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1030; and (c) extortion and attempted
extortion in violation of the Hobbs Act, 18 U.S.C. 1951.
Decision and Order Granting Motion to Dismiss Counterclaims as to Third Counterclaim and Denying Motion as to First, Second, Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Counterclaims*
* Document published online at Internet Law & Regulation
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