Tuesday, September 16, 2008

RIAA going after students at the State University of Albany, in Arista Records v. Does 1-16. Students retain lawyer and make motion to quash

In a new case, targeting students at the State University of New York's Albany, New York, campus, two "John Doe" students -- one of them named twice as different John Does -- have joined together, hired an attorney, and made a motion to quash the RIAA's subpoena seeking their, and other students', identities, in Arista Records v. Does 1-16.

The defendants' motion argues that:

-the plaintiffs have failed to make a sufficient showing to overcome the defendants' First Amendment right of anonymity;

-the plaintiffs failed to make a showing that the Court would have personal jurisdiction;

-the plaintiffs' case is based on evidence that was illegally procured;

-the rules do not authorize the joinder of the defendants in a single action; and

-the Court should award attorneys fees to defendants.

In his "Preliminary Statement", defendants' counsel wrote:

This litigation campaign has been seriously detrimental to the administration of justice and the public policy need to establish clear boundaries to copyright law. Repeatedly, the RIAA has used questionable and illegal investigations, unsupported and erroneous legal theories, and hardball and abusive litigation tactics against individuals who, it may safely be assumed, do not normally find themselves forced to defend their personal use of computers in federal courts. These individuals have the choices of paying the RIAA’s non-negotiable pre-litigation settlement demand (usually between $3000 and $5000), or defaulting, or defending themselves, either pro se or with counsel, if they can afford it. Few can. The RIAA has sued mostly working-class individuals, students, children, the disabled, the homeless and even the dead. They have frequently sued entirely innocent persons and are quite cavalier about the burden they impose on the legal process and the federal judiciary, and the effects of such frivolous suits on their defendants. Moreover, they are apparently in contempt of a district court’s order forbidding them from bringing actions against unrelated individuals, contrary to the joinder provisions of F.R.Civ.P. 20 and 21. See In re Cases Filed by Recording Companies” ILRWeb (P&F) 3053 (W.D.Tex. Nov. 17, 2004)(“Plaintiffs are ordered to file any future cases of this nature against one defendant at a time, and may not join defendants for their convenience.”). Yet they have done precisely that, hundreds if not thousands of times.

Defendants' Memorandum of Law in Support of Motion to Quash Subpoena

Commentary & discussion:


Keywords: lawyer 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 portable music player


Anonymous said...

Long, well argued, motion.

For starters one would think that any Doe not being accused of sharing songs from all 13 of the Plaintiffs should be immediately severed. Otherwise they're being sued by Plaintiffs who have no claim against them.

Oops, that could be all of them.

And one should always be mindful that Attempted Distribution isn't an enumerated crime in the Copyright Act.

The judge here should be further mindful that these Doe defendants will never have their day in his/her court to contest these actions since Plaintiffs will dismiss their case the moment they have used the court as a hammer to acquire privileged identity information. And that once the cat is out of this bag it never goes back in again.

On Defendant's Point V, this is absolutely an abusive subpoena. Plaintiffs know they have nothing and are trying an end-run around the protections supposedly provided all citizens in this country. Plaintiffs have no proof at all of any actual crime and are trying to use the court system for threats and intimidation only.


Anonymous said...

This might be the time (if you can) to ask for evidence from MediaSentry, in the form of a deposition or a court hearing.

Point out that this vital link in the chain of evidence has never been revealed, and that the "technical community" are extremely skeptical.