Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Carnegie Mellon student "John Doe", appearing pro se, wins motion for severance, loses motion to quash

In Fonovisa v. Does 1-9, 2008 U.S. Dist. Lexis 27170, 2008 WL 919701 (W.D. Pa. April 3, 2008), targeting students at Carnegie-Mellon University, a student (John Doe #3), appearing pro se, lost her motion to quash the subpoena, but won her motion for severance. Her motion to dismiss the complaint was denied without prejudice to her raising the same arguments in a summary judgment motion.

The court's order, by Magistrate Judge Lisa Pupo Lenihan, dismissed the case as to John Does 1-2, and 4-9, and ordered the RIAA to commence 8 separate proceedings against each of them, with separate filing fees, cover sheets, etc., for each.

The court also held that the new cases may NOT be deemed "related" cases.

Decision dismissing as to Does 1-2, and 4-9*(2008 U.S. Dist. Lexis 27170, 2008 WL 919701)

* Document published online at Internet Law & Regulation

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


Anonymous said...

Why again aren't all Does after Doe #1 severed, instead of this keep a random (or non-random) Doe in the middle and severing the rest?


Anonymous said...

Viewed in light of the forgoing liberal pleading standards, this Court finds that at this early stage of the proceedings, Plaintiffs have alleged sufficient facts (taken as true) to suggest conduct that satisfies the required elements of a copyright infringement claim against the Doe Defendants.

This logic only makes sense if "this case" was to actually proceed to trial. If the case exists only to use the hammer of the federal court subpoena system to unmask anonymous defendants as the RIAA has done time after time after time in the past, that logic makes no sense at all. The RIAA has turned the legal system upside down, yet the judges continue to play by all the old rules. This makes mockery of the whole judicial process.

Of course, now that the case is severed down to a single defendant, maybe the RIAA will stay with it.

Was there some error in logic on Doe #3's part on why he/she was left in this case while all the other Does were severed? Should he/she have argued that the only fair approach was to sever all Does after Doe #1, because the way the judge has handled this seems to punish Doe #3 for filing the case, while letting all the other Does off the hook for now. So much for equal treatment under the law.

Plaintiffs submit that Doe # 3's arguments are premature, and Doe # 3 will have ample opportunity to deny Plaintiffs’ allegations and to contest their theory of the case.

Oh, and when might that be, given plaintiff's track record of dismissing suits without prejudice once they've got your name?

I feel Doe #3 should now attack that the only evidence plaintiffs have against him/her is illegally gathered by MediaSentry and that no federal court should allow a subpoena based on such tainted evidence, which only rewards the plaintiffs for their illegal acts otherwise. To permit otherwise is a fraud on the court. See the earlier entry today for precisely how such arguments might be worded.

Better still in front of this judge, Doe #3 should get his university to get off of their duffs and fight the subpoena themselves on behalf of their students. That's what a proper university should be doing. Ensuring that they aren't throwing their students under the bus to cases with no legal foundation.

In fact, I'm waiting for the day some student DOES sue their university for not taking steps to protect their privacy against this neat sidestep that the RIAA is attempting by saying only the university itself has standing to object to the subpoena (like that's going to happen) since the subpoena was only served on them. By and large, with a couple outstanding exceptions, universities are outright cowards.

The outright glaring defect in the American judicial system, and the one that the RIAA brazenly exploits, is that they can cost you tens of thousands of dollars in a case that will never be brought to trial. And every judge who doesn't stop the RIAA at this stage is complicit in this outright robbery of these defendants!


the district court found that plaintiffs demonstrated sufficient good cause to warrant expedited discovery.

Only by using completely tainted evidence. Does this judge know nothing?

It's very distressing to me that the judge can take one thing you filed for, turn it into something else that you NEVER FILED for, and then grant that NEVER FILED FOR item against you. Is there on recourse, no appeal, for that misconduct?