Friday, March 09, 2007

2004 Decision Ordering Severance of John Does in Fonovisa v. Does 1-41, Austin Texas

In view of the fact that many universities, and probably many ISP's, will soon be facing "John Doe" cases in which the RIAA improperly joins unrelated "John Doe" defendants, we thought this an appropriate juncture to remind lawyers of the Order in federal court in Austin, Texas, in Fonovisa v. Does 1-41, 2004 ILRWeb (P&F) 3053 (W.D. Texas 2004) and 3 other cases, under caption "In re Cases Filed by Recording Companies", which ordered the RIAA to cease and desist from that practice, but which the RIAA has simply ignored for the past 2 1/2 years, just in case anyone's thinking of making a contempt motion:

November 17, 2004, Order, in Fonovisa v. Does 1-41 and 3 other cases under Caption "In re Cases Filed by Recording Companies ordering RIAA plaintiffs to file future cases against one defendant at a time*

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...

EFF has also papers about this in Florida in Interscope Records v. Does 1-25. I guess it is about the same point, legalese isn't my speciality ;-)

all found here:

raybeckerman said...

Yes it is about the same point. But this one has that interesting kicker: a court order they have been violating since November 17, 2004.

Alter_Fritz said...

and what about pennsylvania with this 2 orders?

RIAA bad there too? ;-)

Anonymous said...

Just wondering....

What major ISP is in that district that those cases were directed at?

Now that Bellsouth has been gobbled up by Southwestern Bell (aka, the "new at&t"), is their new corporate headquarters in that district as well? Would love to see them go at RIAA like Verizon did.....

StephenH said...


I think you should offer to formally debate Mitch Bainwol on this lawsuit campaign!

Additionally, I heard from Nancy Tar-Wager, a former employee of RIAA that her opinion on the RIAA's tactics changed, and is now lobbying for digital freedom at

raybeckerman said...

I don't know, Albert. Maybe it was University of Texas they were after.

Alter_Fritz, yes, we've cited all those cases in our briefs. See Warner v. Does. The important thing about the Texas case is that there's a court order they've been violating which means contempt of court.

Scott said...

I went to my state university's web site, and found the general email address for their legal counsel. I sent them this email:

RE: RIAA subpoenas

Dear Sir or Madam:

New York attorney Ray Beckerman has published a helpful open letter for the benefit of legal staff at universities who are dealing with RIAA subpoenas. The link to the letter follows:

As a [my state] resident and taxpayer who supports [university name], it is my hope that the University is not merely stepping aside and allowing the RIAA to assault students with tenuous ex parte litigation. Mr. Beckerman outlines an approach to defending the rights of students that seems quite reasonable and proper. I hope you will consider it.


[My Name]
[My Address]

Scott said...

Woops, posted my previous comment under the wrong thread, sorry.

StephenH said...

I think it is sad that RIAA is essentiallly in contempt of court by violating the order since Nov 2004.

The reason this joinder has been improper:

1) The RIAA linked defendants who don't know each other, who actually live in many different districts.

2) The RIAA files these cases in the district of the ISPs corporate offices. This can be far apart from the district the actual defendant resides in.

3) Each user may have a different defense.

4) Each user is probably alleged at sharing a different set of songs, by a different set of plantiffs.

5) Using this grouped "john doe" tactic deprives money to the public coffers.