Saturday, October 27, 2007

RIAA Opposes Amicus Brief in College of William & Mary case, Interscope v. Does 1-7

In Interscope v. Does 1-7, the RIAA's ex parte case against students at College of William & Mary in Virginia, where the Judge had sua sponte rejected the RIAA's ex parte discovery application, the RIAA has filed a brief opposing the amicus curiae brief submitted by North Carolina State University students.

Meanwhile, the court records suggest that neither the College of William & Mary nor the defendants are even aware of the proceedings, never having been served by the RIAA.

[Ed. Note: It is incredible to me that the RIAA thinks it's okay to bring a lawsuit against people without giving notice, and then objects to an amicus curiae trying to come into the case to point out to the judge that there might be another side to the case. These are the worst bullies, and the most unethical lawyers, I have ever seen. - R.B.]

RIAA Opposition to Motion to File Amicus Brief*

* Document published online at Internet Law & Regulation

Keywords: digital copyright online 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


Unknown said...

I see the Plaintiffs are suggesting this brief is late, because it was not filed within 7 days of their filing. They even appear to quote what they think is the rule, namely: " an amicus curiae must file its brief within
seven days of the filing of the principal brief the amicus is supporting."

However, they still dont get it. Even by their standard, it is NOT late since noone from any defendant has filed a brief yet, so this brief could not be late... ie: filed more than 7 days after the brief it supports.

Since the brief was submitted on behalf of specific defendants, could not this brief be considered a defendants brief, instead of an amicus curiae brief??

Interested Observer said...

I wonder how Mr Zito squares his partial listing of cases in footnote 1 with the Virgina Code of Professional Guidelines Rule 3.3(c)
found here:

Then there is Rule 3.3(a)(3).

Anonymous said...

Things that jump out to me about this filing:

First: Plaintiffs claim that the Amici Curae Brief is completely not applicable to this case because this case is so different. Yet all their complaints filed so far are virtual clones of each other. They stick with the exact wording in every complaint (no doubt at a great savings in time and effort to the Plaintiff attorneys), changing only IP numbers, times, and lists of alleged infringed songs, as long as it continues to work. To me, that makes the cases Very Identical in every important regard.

Second: All of the arguments in the Amici's Brief are rehashed here in their opposition document so thoroughly by the Plaintiffs that you hardly need to read the original brief to understand the arguments made. In short, Plaintiffs have already filed their refutation of a document not yet even entered into the case. If their arguments fail here, so should their case.

Third: Much of this nonsense could be ended right at this point if one thing had to be shown. Plaintiffs argue that they have already made a prima facie case of copyright infringement. To observers outside of the court room this is patently not true at all. I feel that, before Plaintiffs should be allowed to proceed a single step further, they need to show how they could actually prove their claims in court. Making Available isn't infringement according to the two most often quoted authorities on copyright in these cases. Actual Distribution must have occurred. How do they intend to show – how can they even show – that actual distribution ever occurred to anyone other than their own investigator, given that they even found the right computer, or the person sitting at it during that time. As I read it, if they can't prove Actual Distribution, they have no case. And short of having an actual witness to the event who can attest that at some specified time, most likely other than the time that the Plaintiff's investigators claim the spotted the files available for sharing, that one of the files in the case was actually shared to a non-Plaintiff affiliated person – which is also impossible since you don't know who is actually downloading the files (does Safe Net use the name SafeNet@kazaa when downloading files?) – you have no proof that anything was ever distributed. How can the Plaintiffs be allowed to pursue a case that cannot by won except through extortion of people they claim to be guilty?

Fourth: Have VALID copyright notices, including full chain of custody, been submitted at this stage to prove that they really are the true copyright holders of the songs they are suing about? Or can they just claim on Information & Belief that they are the valid copyright holders?

Fifth: Why do they need Expedited Discovery instead of regular discovery? Plaintiffs claim that they can only make their case with Expedited Discovery, but never explain why.

Six: The following statement on page 16 astonishes me with its lack of logic:

Defendants did not engage in protected speech, they used a P2P network to unlawfully download and distribute Plaintiffs’ copyrighted sound recordings. “[A] person who engages in P2P file sharing is not engaging in true expression . . . the individual’s real purpose is to obtain music for free.”

That statement combines the file downloader and the file uploader into the same person, when they are two distinct people on the two sides of a single transaction.

People may share files for many reasons, none of them financial. In protest against the RIAA members and their outright theft of Fair Use and the Public Domain. To spread favorite music further than it might be spread otherwise. To encourage new bands to be widely discovered (especially non-RIAA bands, to the opposition of the RIAA itself who seems to feel that they own all the music in the world). I can see many ways in which file sharing can be considered True Expression. I can't say which of them constitute Protected Free Expression, but I can't rule it out so cavalierly as the Plaintiffs have here.

The problem with the statement is that the while only the downloader is seeking to get music for free, only the sharer offering the upload is the one being sued. Downloading is never proven, nor pursued as a cause of action. That means that this statement to the court makes absolutely no logical sense at all.

The reason that the case should fail here is that if the Plaintiffs can't make their case (see item 3 above), no one should be required to spend tens of thousands of dollars defending it later simply because the Plaintiffs will expend whatever money is necessary to punish every Defendant through legal proceedings, which they have no intention of winning, or paying for, afterwards.

Anonymous said...

These are the worst bullies, and the most unethical lawyers, I have ever seen.

Ray, surprised am I that your comment above met your own comment policies. :-)

raybeckerman said...

Dear Anonymous

I think it met my comment policies.

1. I substantiated my attack, and

2. I deleted the expletives.