Friday, February 23, 2007

RIAA Refuses to Turn Over Its Attorneys Billing Records in Capitol v. Foster; Debbie Foster Moves to Compel

In Capitol v. Foster, in Oklahoma, the RIAA has refused to turn over its attorneys billing records, although Ms. Foster had demanded those records almost a year ago.

Citing caselaw which establishes that, in connection with an attorneys fees motion, the fees spent by the non-prevailing party are relevant to the reasonableness of the prevailing party's fees, Ms. Foster has now made a motion to compel production of those records.

Defendant's Motion to Compel Production of RIAA's Attorneys' Billing Records*

* Document published online at Internet Law & Regulation

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


Alter_Fritz said...

Ok, it's the RIAA so this behaviour comes to noones surprise i guess. ;-)
But beside that Ray, if it wasn't the evil RIAA and their lawyers, would such a behaviour make any procedural sense? e.g. lets say a lawyer has a "special discount" arrangement with his client so what he pays him in reality and what he officially bills him is different, would that somehow be illegal and could such an arrangement bring the lawyer into trouble if a court would find out such a thing?

This is a serious question since in germany for example there is a law that lists how much lawyers can charge you. Do you have some laws how much to pay in this kind of civil cases. Or is a US lawyer free to say "I charge you xxx$ per hour work"?

Scott Ferguson said...

How long can the RIAA continue to blow off the courts? What could be the consequence of their refusal to comply in this instance?

Scott Ferguson said...

Apropos of nothing: I would like to see and other online CD retailers flag CDs published by RIAA member labels, so that I can choose not to purchase them.

This would be similar to food labeling. Look on the back of a typical candy bar, and you see, "This product manufactured in a facility that processes peanuts" so that people suffering from anaphylaxis aren't inconvenienced by a trip to the hospital.

By the same token, RIAA labels should contain the warning, "This CD manufactured by a trade association member that bullies its customers with John Doe lawsuits." This is an industry not worth supporting.

Anonymous said...

It looks like they cited three cases from the 10th Circuit Court (the court above the District Court in which this case is held). Multiple instances of directly relevant case law from a directly superior court? Yeah, not looking good for RIAA on this one.

Anonymous said...


So, the RIAA is totally ignoring the defendant's right. Which should not be surprising -- since they seem to trample on everyone else's. Really, it's getting to be whre I'm not surprised by anything they do. Trying to close off WiFi, trying reduce musican compensation.

It's seems like the RIAA only sees one right -- their own.

raybeckerman said...

If the RIAA spent $100k on their lawyers it's going to be hard for them to claim that Ms. Foster's $55k was "unreasonable".

raybeckerman said...

Their motion for reconsideration is probably frivolous. They might get hit for Rule 11 sanctions.

I think the RIAA will, one way or the other, wind up reimbursing Debbie Foster for the additional fees incurred in defending the RIAA's frivolous "reconsideration" and "clarification" motions.

In fact, the judge might even charge the lawyers personally.

Alter_Fritz said...

Scott Ferguson voiced an opinion about Amazon and their help to make CD buying more safe for Customers.

I second this.
If you buy today a product from a RIAAmember, rip it to your mp3 player or to your computer Harddisk, you never know if next week this might be a big mistake because you are named in a lawsuit because you have an internetaccount and their "expert" gets his hand on your HDD and you are forced to explain yourself even if every music on it is total legal
Buying "product" from a business that sues you for having that product is dangerous! So Amazon and Co. should act responsible with the best interest of their Customers in mind and flag these dangerous goods accordingly....

Until then, this might help concerned Customers like Ferguson;
Is this CD safe? Find out at

Anonymous said...

If you can clairfy something for me.

Is the billing records of an attorney covered under privledge? It seems to me that the judge in this case would not only have no choice in granting this motion, but also cite sanctions against the lawyers that filed the "reconsideration" motion.

I think that the whole point of the [reconsideration] motion, to me, is to intentionally run up the bill of Ms. Foster's lawyers so that the RIAA can claim that her bills are unreasonable. That said, is there anything that the judge can do to stop this?

I know that I'm asking a lot of questions, but I think that this case will make or break the RIAA's campaign. I hope it breaks it.

raybeckerman said...

If they're going to attack the reasonableness of Ms. Foster's fees, then the fees they paid their attorneys are obviously relevant.

I agree that the reconsideration motion is frivolous, and that they are in danger of being sanctioned.

The whole point of the reconsideration motion is to show how tough they are. There is no legal point. The only permissible basis for the motion is that the judge 'overlooked' something; but they cannot point to anything that he overlooked.

Anonymous said...

"The only permissible basis for the motion is that the judge 'overlooked' something; but they cannot point to anything that he overlooked."

I beg to differ sir, he overlooked the fact that this is really going to embarrass the RIAA and it's lawyers.

He also overlooked that RIAA Richard has taken a bit of a thrashing lately and the floodgates to legal fraud might quickly be closing.