Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Magistrate allows RIAA to take depositions of more relatives of Marie Lindor in UMG v. Lindor

In UMG v. Lindor, a case in which the defendant has never used a computer, and in which the RIAA has already taken depositions of (a) defendant, (b) defendant's adult son,(c) defendant's adult daughter, and (d) defendant's adult nephew, the Magistrate has denied defendant's motion to quash two new subpoenas to take depositions of another adult daughter who lives in Illinois and another relative who lives in Connecticut.

March 26, 2008, Letter of Richard L. Gabriel to Hon. Robert M. Levy (new 3d party discovery)*
March 26, 2008, Letter of Ray Beckerman to Hon. Robert M. Levy (new 3d party discovery)*
April 15, 2008, Order denying motion to quash and for protective order (new 3d party discovery)*

* 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

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24 comments:

Alter_Fritz said...

argh ..
must...
resist ...posting

Anonymous said...

Is there ANYBODY the RIAA can't harass - er, depose - once they've filed the suit against one individual only?

Hi, come into my lair and incriminate yourself to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars of legal liability with one careless word, their deposition demands ought to read if Truth in Labeling applied to legal cases.

Questioning all these other people just reinforces in my mind how much they have no evidence - and no case - at all against the person they've actually sued. This kind of investigation should have gone on BEFORE a case was ever filed. The RIAA has clearly NEVER "already secured the evidence necessary to prove your guilt."

This magistrate judge is giving me a really low opinion of magistrate judges in general for not seeing that there is no case here. At least not against the person actually sued so far.

Maybe this magistrate judge is a real sportsman. One who really enjoys fishing, and feels everyone else does as well.

-DM

Anonymous said...

One is left to question: What is the proof that either of these new Lindors actually used the computer and the Internet heavily around the time in question, or at all for that matter?

User names on a computer mean nothing. Anybody can click on them.

E-mails sent or received (which shouldn't have ever been allowed to have been discovered in the search for KaZaA software and/or illicit music files) say nothing about who actually sent or received them.

Same for any other files edited on specific dates. You don't even know if the compuer's clock was set correctly when it wrote those file timestamps.

Short of someone else already testifying under oath that such-and-such person was directly witnessed using this computer often, and out on the Internet, at these times, the RIAAs' got a big NOTHING!

And now we've gotten multiple "Junior Lindors". Who has ever established that "jr" stands for "Junior" in the first place? How many other "Junior Lindors" exist in this great country? And speaking of "jr", J. R. Eweing anybody?

I fail to see any probably cause that ties any of these other people into this case.

-DM

Barry said...

In other news, the RIAA was reported to be hiring a team of genealogists to assist them in the case UMG v. Lindor. It is thought that their strategy in this case will be to prove that everyone is related to each other in at least some distant fashion. Considering the distances, both hereditary and geographical, that the RIAA's net has been successfully cast in this case, this would enable the RIAA to eventually subpoena the entire world.

Anonymous said...

I heard a rumor that Baby Lindor, a newborn in Helsinki, Finland, is the next on the deposition block, as someone who, by virtue of sharing the same last name, may have discoverable evidence.

-Funhouse

Ray Beckerman said...

I find the Magistrate Judge's decision to be incorrect on a number of counts:

1. plaintiffs have made no showing that deposing these people has anything to do with defendant's liability

2. a defendant has standing to challenge deposition notices and subpoenas for 3d party discovery

3. the Magistrate seems to suggest that writing "brief" papers is a vice, and that verbosity is a virtue

4. the Magistrate fails to take into account the financial burden this witch hunt imposes on the defendant

5. this is a pure fishing expedition, and should not be allowed

I am outraged and perplexed. And, even though almost all of Magistrate Levy's rulings have favored the plaintiffs -- following a general rule that anything the plaintiffs do is okay and anything the defendant does is not okay -- I am even surprised. I actually believed he would vacate these depositions, because they are so obviously beyond the pale. Obvious to everyone, I guess, except the one person who gets to make the call.

I am extremely upset.

Anonymous said...

Ray -
Is there any possibility of pre-trial appeal of these depositions?

If I were the new parties disposed, I'd only answer questions which relate to Jamie Lindor's infringement of copyright, and refuse to answer any other questions.

Q

Alter_Fritz said...

DM don't worry given that reasoning of the Mag. this case will drag on for much after the RIAA is already history and then it doesn't matter anymore!
according to 411.com they have "183 listings matching "Lindor, United States" still to depose. Assuming behind every listing is are at least 3 persons -a mom a dad and one child- and they need 4 weeks to depose each of them that would be
183 x 3 = 549 x 4 = 2196 weeks or about roughly 42 years to come.

http://411info.whitepages.com/search/Find_Person?firstname=&name=Lindor&city_zip=&state_id=&x=0&y=0

If it wasn't so outrages what this Judge is doing here if would actually be funny.

--
One serious question though:
If I understand it correctly all we have so far is the word of Mr. Gabriel in a letter that is not an expert report or anything that could get him in real trouble if he had lied that they "developed" this new information".
Have they offered at least to the court any kind of evidence that this claim is true?

I mean if Lindor was about to claim that Mr. Gabriel was once a visitor and she developed on their image of the HDD that some RichardL.Gabriel@kazza used the PC can she question all Gabriel's in boulder?

Ben said...

So what's the compulsion to these (non-)parties to testify. Can they take the 5th as it were or do they simply have to answer the questions? Assuming for the purpose of discussion that they were actually guilty of copyright infringement in an unrelated matter, they might be in a very awkward position, no?

Jadeic said...

'Reverend' Jim Ignatowski:

"If you find yourself in a confusing situation, simply laugh knowingly and walk away."

Serenity...

bbsux said...

Ray, are you perhaps planning to appeal this decision?

Ray Beckerman said...

anonymous XKE, your comment was rejected as almost every word of it was in violation of comment policy #7...

Ray Beckerman said...

do like alter_fritz....

next time you have thoughts like that, "resist posting"....

Anonymous said...

I don't get this.
Isn't it a far (and i mean FAR) stretch to be trying to get 'evidence' from the Harddrives of relatives whole don't even live in the same place? I thought the entirety of RIAA's 'evidence' could be summed up into "We have this random IP that *might* be associated with this person (but we've made a ton of mistakes) and so we want to sue.".... so how does this allow them to request HDs from people that don't even live remotely close? And... even if so called 'evidence' (and I'm using this term very loosely, as we all know the quality of the 'evidence' the RIAA brings up in these cases) were to be found on these harddrives.... what the heck does it have to do with the defendant? Shouldn't they have to prove that the relative's harddrive was there on that day before they can even ask for it?

~Joe

Anonymous said...

Fine, I'll try a different tack.

How do you deal with a judge who appears very biased and partial towards one side only, without having to go first through all the time, expense, agony, harassment, struggle, and collateral damage of discovery, a full trial, verdict, and appeal?

And are you unable to even raise the question of any possible source of bias on a given judge's part early on in the proceedings?

This problem is only immensely multiplied by the judges involved accepting the Plaintiff's assertions of all these cases being "related", and refusing completely to accept random case assignment - which also argues that Defendants are not receiving fair trials in these cases in this district, and no diversity of judicial opinion is going to be allowed.

While the legal system can get on its high horse and claim that it will all come out in the wash at the end - meaning at trial, or on appeal - this is of little solace to poor Defendants having to fight their way through to that point. And when they're unable to carry the fight the full distance against an advisary whose legal bills alone are more likely the cause for the precipitous decline in record company profits than any army of file sharers could have ever accomplished, there is no way that you can say that justice has been served here.

XK-E

Scott said...

Ray, is there any way that the RIAA's excesses can break in your client's favor in the long run? (Just interested in a yes, no, maybe answer, not looking for your strategy. Thanks.)

derivative said...

Ray:

I'm not a lawyer, so I may be all wet here, but if my understanding is correct, can't the people who have been deposed ask a judge in their district to quash?

If this "second bite" at quashing is allowed, you should explain to PJ that you are looking for lawyers in those districts to volunteer to help take the RIAA apart.

Yes, they are bigger than YOU, but I bet they are not bigger than the sum total of everybody willing to help. And a well-written judgment quashing the subpoena might help the magistrate judge to understand, not only that his viewpoint is considered by some to be unreasonable, but also that this is a high profile case and he is being watched.

For publicity, I would definitely hit groklaw with this one. PJ has been fully sensitized to bogus subpoenas for depositions for harassment purposes, and I bet she would be more than willing to help.

And I don't know how forum shopping works, but if the right judges in the other districts could be approached, that might make all the difference in the world.

Good luck!

derivative said...

BTW, if nothing else, a good lawyer in the other districts priming the relatives to take the fifth on everything, and to keep the RIAA's lawyers from badgering them would be worth its weight in gold.

Sure, they're trying to make it hard on you, and the magistrate isn't helping any with his ruling, but you can practically guarantee they won't get anything useful out of it if you approach it correctly.

After all, there is a big potential downside for any relative who becomes the next RIAA target, and the RIAA is deliberately trying to drive a wedge into families by giving people a choice of being liable or incriminating their close relatives. RIAA Richard and the devil probably had a good time dreaming this up together. Your only realistic option to keep them from damaging the family you are working for may be to enlist some competent and motivated help ASAP.

Anonymous said...

I can honestly say that I am not surprised at the ruling. In most of the cases covered so far, the _only_ concern the judges seem to have with money is when it comes to the plaintiffs complying with "expensive" counterclaim discovery...which is what they have been writing when throwing out the counterclaims.

Or, maybe this is why this particular court is so proud of their settlement record...defendants cave before going completely broke.

-B

Macros said...

Ok, I'm confused...

The Magistrate recognises that Lindor's defense is that she has never used a computer.

Why doesn't the Judge just confirm that, then it removes all possible claims under the current case.

Then the RIAA can move on to prosecuting the one liable, rather than this fishing expedition for almost anyone with the last name "Lindor".

It makes little sense to me!

Ray Beckerman said...

Dave, your comment got rejected by mistake. Sorry. Please feel free to repost. I believe you were urging me to file objections.

Someone else's comment got rejected because it contained a number of false statements in it.

Ray Beckerman said...

I want to thank you all for your concern over this obvious injustice.

Ray Beckerman said...

The only allowable method of appeal would be filing "objections" to be heard by Judge Trager.

Anonymous said...

Ray,

This is a very unjust decision and is very prejudicial to the defendant as well as the innocent 3rd parties.

When the depositions do occur, I would like to volunteer to make a recording to be played that says "objection" every 30 seconds since that seems to be RIAA-Richard's approach in all of the depositions taken against the RIAA.

Regards,
Art