Thursday, May 03, 2007

RIAA Drops Another Case In Chicago Against Misidentified Defendant

Once again, this time in BMG v. Thao, the RIAA has dropped a case it brought against a misidentified defendant.

Lee Thao was sued in the Eastern District of Wisconsin by BMG Music and other record labels for allegedly sharing files over the Kazaa network. The RIAA based its case on information that the cable modem used to partake in file sharing was registered to Mr. Thao. However, both the ISP and the RIAA failed to recognize that Mr. Thao was not a subscriber to the ISP at the time of the alleged file-sharing, and therefore did not have possession of the suspect cable modem at that time. Daliah Saper of Saper Law Offices represented Mr. Thao and got the case dismissed after pointing out to the RIAA's attorneys that they had made another blunder in their investigations.

A similar Chicago case, Elektra v. Wilke, was previously dismissed. Mr. Wilke, too, had been represented by Ms. Saper.

Notice of Dismissal*

* Document published online at Internet Law & Regulation

Commentary & discussion:
The Inquirer
Heise Online (German)
Tech Spot


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


AMD FanBoi said...

Again those bastards get off Without Prejudice for suing the wrong person, each party to bear their own legal expenses. And how much did their "mistake" cost this defendant?

sacker said...


I'm sorry if you've answered this before, but I have question and ignorance of the law. Why would the defendant's lawyer not require that the case be dropped with prejudice? If BMG agrees that they made a mistake, why leave open the door for a later lawsuit on this same charge?

-- James

Todd Knarr said...

Ouch. That's gonna leave a mark. :) Can we assume cases like these will be cited to show just how reliable the RIAA's identification methods are?

Alter_Fritz said...

I'm of course not Ray, and I can only speculate but what I think to understand up to day from american law as long as the defendant has not filed an answer to the complained the plaintiffs can opt out anytime if they want without that the court or defendant must approve to it.
Thats for one, and I'm sure Ray correct me if I'm wrong with that.

Secondly. we don't know if the RIAA has agreed to pay Defendant $10k cash on hand for accepting that it officially locks like it does now :-)
With such an arangement defendant does not need to fight 2 years or more for fees, and RIAA can officially prevent more fiascos like Foster and Co.
I wouldn't wonder if RIAA is willing lately to say yes to such an arrangement that will not get disclosed ;-)

raybeckerman said...

you got it, alter

Ryan said...

Todd, unfortunaltly this dosen't show the flaw in RIAA's method specifically. It does show that the ISP can be wrong but until we get the call that IP != person (let alone the whole MediaSentry process) the RIAA's main MO is still going to show up in court.

Eek said...

Ray, in general, would that kind of payment normally be legal/ethical?

In a reasonable world, I'd have thought a lawyer involved in that and getting caught would have been thrown in for obstruction of justice, or at least disbarred, as it seems a perversion of the law (manipulation of (weak) precedence) and as a such unethical.

Igor said...

I would think that this could be used against them next time there's a case with similar facts that lingers much longer than this one because the defendant was too vigorous and the RIAA wanted to make an example of him/her.