Wednesday, March 25, 2009

RIAA withdraws Houston case after being served with Rule 11 sanctions motion in UMG Recordings v. Lanzoni

In UMG Recordings v. Lanzoni, a Houston, Texas, case, the RIAA has voluntarily dismissed its case with prejudice, after being served with a Rule 11 motion.

Defendant never filed the Rule 11 motion with the Court, because the RIAA withdrew its case prior to the expiration of the 21-day "safe harbor" period.

Among other things, the Rule 11 motion cited and discussed the RIAA's tactics in Capitol Records v. Foster and Atlantic Recording v. Andersen, arguing that the attorneys fee awards in those cases have failed to achieve the desired deterrent effect, and that the more forceful remedy of Rule 11 sanctions is now needed.

The defendant's objections to the RIAA's discovery notices invoked the words of Judge Gertner in the June 17, 2008, Conference Transcript, in SONY BMG Music Entertainment v. Tenenbaum, where she stated to the RIAA lawyers: "the formalities of this are basically bankrupting people, and it's terribly critical that you stop it...."

Defendant's document request
Defendant's interrogatories
Defendant's request for admissions
Defendant's expert witness report
Defendant's response to plaintiffs' interrogatories
Defendant's response to plaintiffs' document request
Defendant's Rule 11 motion
Stipulation of dismissal with prejudice

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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

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

Did they blink?

Kip

Alter_Fritz said...

Now THAT is what I call: "Elende Feiglinge"
Doing everything and whining as bitterly as they can as long as there is no immediate danger that there be a formal and real ruling/judgment in a contested case on the merits of their claims!

Anonymous said...

Finally these $#%*#@!'s are starting to show their true colors in court. I hope that all of the other innocent defendants get wind of this and can somehow use it against these RIAA punks.

It looks like things are finally starting to slide back to levels of sanity for the defendants.

I wish that other judges (esp. Judge Gertner) see this and really take a critical eye to the way that these RIAA jerks have gamed the legal system and slap them down hard for it.

Alter_Fritz said...

1) I must confess: Sid, I want to marry you! Finaly I see a counsel for defendant arguing against this confusing instructions that construct these complicated meanings of Instructions. A guy that seem to love clearity in meaning of used words like this attorney for defendant does... such a guy must become my man. ;-)

2) While the answers by defendant are a pain to read given how painfully her attorney needed to object to them because of the complicated and outright stupid way that Holme Roberts and Owen working for Sony BMG, EMI, Universal and Warner worded them, the ones for interrogatory 9 and following are simply beautiful:
"Defendant Lanzoni objects to this interrogatory because it assumes that she has
some obligation to conduct an investigation on behalf of Plaintiffs with respect to third
parties. Plaintiffs sued Defendant Janne Lanzoni in this lawsuit and certified under Rule
11 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure that Plaintiffs identified Defendant Janne
Lanzoni as the individual who used Ares on a P2P network on February 21, 2007 to
distribute 389 audio files over the Internet. If Plaintiffs are willing to admit that they
falsely alleged that they could identify the individual who allegedly committed the acts
alleged in the complaint, then Defendant Lanzoni will consider making further inquiries.
"

And the one I loved the most is this one:
"With all of the money and resources that Plaintiffs have to spend on the best legal talent available, Plaintiffs should be able to do a better job than this when it comes to writing document requests[...]"
Priceless! (now I think to know why Timothy was so harsh in his papers to the appeals court in the Tenenbaum case. What was that sentence again with who is/are the wrongdoers? ;-)

3) The "trick" to incorporate the same "rules" that Evil4 lawyers used in their demands in defendants request towards Plaintiffs for production and admittings: That one is an interesting one, and is hopefully used repeatedly from now one in dealings with evil4.
Giving them something back of their own medicine seems well deserved! And how Sid is arguing that Holme Roberts and Owen can not seriously object to defendants requests given that she just mirrored their ones; Extra beautiful.

I guess more of those thousands of innocently sued people should try to get Sid as their attorney. (Or some other one that at least is following Mr. Beckermann's blog that helps to level the playing field of litigation with Evil4 by giving other defendants the same infos that HRO lawyers have because of their combined tens of thousand s of cases that they filed so far)

Ray Beckerman said...

Sid Leach did a fantastic job, across the board!!!!!

Anonymous said...

This man says: Take note and learn from the successes of others. Another winning strategy has just been proved out. The dismissal "With Prejudice" make this a huge victory. Can award of fees be far behind?

{The Common Man Speaking}

Jonathan said...

Ray,

I saw that RIAA withdrew the case within the safe harbor period, which, in general allows them to escape the Rule 11 sanctions. In addition, the motion for Rule 11 sanctions sites Methode Electronics, Inc. v. Adam Technologies, Inc., 371 F.3d 923, where Rule 11 sanctions were upheld even without the safe harbor being properly followed. Is there any relevance of the citation to the case at hand, or do you think it's likely that because of the withdrawl within the safe harbor period, RIAA will have no chance of being subject to Rule 11 sanctions?

Alter_Fritz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alter_Fritz said...

I'm not Ray, but I think he probably will refrain from publicly speculating anyway, so I take the liberty to answer you Jonathan.

There is no chance that they will be subject to Rule11 in any event since the Motion was NOT filed.

But Ray wrote that in his description too:
"Defendant never filed the Rule 11 motion with the Court, because the RIAA withdrew its case prior to the expiration[...]"

The document we can read has a blank spot for the actual day of march as you can see. So it is probably the "draft" version that Sid send to Timothy to make him aware for one to follow the rules to warn before filing it and second to have him taking a "sneak peak" into what is comming if they will not concede to a dismissal "with" :-)

derivative said...

Speaking of motions for sanctions...

Can we assume you will make the judge aware of this turn of events in UMG v Lindor?

Anonymous said...

derivative,

What benefit would making the judge aware of the case provide? I'm not saying it doesn't have one, just that I don't see what.
-Katie

Melvin said...

The defendant filed jointly, agreeing to dismissal with prejudice, but with each side paying their own fees.

My questions are...

1) Were defendents constrained to agree to the "each side paying own fees"
part of this, having served notice of a Rule 11 motion to be introduced? Or are the terms of the dismissal negotiable in this regard? (I presume that "with prejudice" is a solid requirement if a case is defective enough to justify Rule 11. Am I wrong?)

which leads to 2) would this be considered 'prevailing', for purposes of copyright law's measures for compensating prevailing party's fees? Or does the dismissal agreement preclude precisely this?

Ray Beckerman said...

1. No, they were not constrained, it was voluntary.

2. I would imagine that the agreement of each side to bear its own costs precludes any further proceedings.

Rick Boatright said...

OK, I'll admit to being a bit confused when I read over Sid's filings.

Specifically, the RIAA claim is generally that Media Sentry downloaded the X files in question _FROM_ the defendants computer on some day at some time.

So, I don't understand what her being at work has to do with anything. Unless the original complaint is different in detail from every other case we've read here,why should we assume she needed to be at home?

Does this case (uniquely) say that SHE downloaded those files at that time rather than the reverse????

If so, then this has little application to the other cases.

derivative said...

Katie:

I don't know whether Ray needs further ammunition for showing how the RIAA acts in Lindor, but in that case the RIAA has asked the court for sanctions against Ray -- completely backwards.

It will be interesting to see how that plays out, but (to me) it's also kind of scary...

Ray Beckerman said...

Dear Katie and derivative:

1. No there is nothing here for me to show the judge in UMG v. Lindor.

2. In UMG v. Lindor defendant has moved for Rule 11 sanctions against the plaintiffs' lawyers, based upon their having made a frivolous motion for discovery sanctions.

Anonymous said...

Rick, the RIAA is vague about what exactly defendants have done that violates copyright law. They may claim, depending what's most advantageous:

- Made available.
- Uploaded to potentially millions.
- Downloaded.
- Uploaded.

Making available and potentially uploading don't violate copyright law. Downloading didn't happen, because she was at work. Uploading is typically considered secondary liability, and Plaintiffs have not identified a primary infringer. Given this information, what actions at what time violated what part of copyright law? I don't know, and it's possible Plaintiffs dismissed the case because they don't either.

In many other cases, the RIAA has been lucky enough to avoid specifying such details, and it hurts innocent defendents. This defendant seemed determined to ferret out those details.

So, yes, it has applicability in other cases. But not as a precedent, just as an example of something that worked.

Penny Lane

Anonymous said...

When I see "each side paying own fees", I normally presume that no money changed hands.
Is this really the case? Suppose that a defendant agrees to dismiss only if the plaintiff agrees to pay an amount to cover those expenses.
If this agreement was acceptable to both sides, are they required to disclose this to the Court?
I think that I would expect to see exactly the same wording, and that "each side paying own fees" is telling the Judge that he does not have to determine the appropriate amount, and that it will not become an issue in the future.

just a biased observer

Rick Boatright said...

Well Penny, the original complaint said "Exhibit A identifies the date and time of capture and a list of copyrighted Recordings that Defendant has, without the permission or consent of Plaintiffs, downloaded and/or distributed to the public"

It's far vague-er than the old complaints that specified that Media Sentry downloaded this files at such and such a time. Apparently, that new wording was an attempt to get around the "you can't infringe yourself" argument.

Which apparently didn't work. Good job Sid!!!