Friday, May 30, 2008

Parties file objections to Magistrate Judge's attorneys fee award in Atlantic v. Andersen

In Atlantic v. Andersen, both sides have filed objections to the Magistrate Judge's attorneys fee award of $107,834, the RIAA saying that the amount should not have exceeded $62,000, Ms. Andersen saying that the award should be multiplied due to the difficulty in finding counsel willing to take on such a case.

Defendant's objections*
Plaintiffs' objections*

* Document published online at Internet Law & Regulation

Keywords: 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


Alter_Fritz said...

What is that?!!

"Plaintiffs are recording companies that own or control exclusive rights to copyrights in
sound recordings. Collectively, Plaintiffs face a massive problem of digital piracy over the
Internet. Indeed, the United States Supreme Court has characterized the magnitude of online
peer-to-peer (“P2P”) piracy as infringement “on a gigantic scale.” Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Studios, Inc. v. Grokster Ltd, 545 U.S. 913, 940 (2005). P2P users who disseminate (upload) and
copy (download) copyrighted material without authorization of the copyright holder violate the
Copyright Act. Id. at 918-924.
It is in this context that Plaintiffs brought the current copyright infringement action
against Andersen on June 24, 2005. In their Complaint, Plaintiffs alleged that Andersen
infringed (1) their exclusive rights to copy certain of their copyrighted sound recordings by using
an online media distribution system to download the copyrighted sound recordings through the
Internet to her computer hard drive; and (2) their exclusive rights to distribute such copyrighted
sound recordings by using an online media distribution system to distribute them over the
Internet to the millions of others who use P2P networks. (Doc. No. 1 at ¶ 13.)
After limited discovery, Plaintiffs determined that there were the inconsistencies in
evidence in this case that would have made it difficult for Plaintiffs to prevail at trial. On the one
hand, Plaintiffs detected infringement through a computer attached to Andersen’s Internet
account in her home. Andersen’s Internet Service Provider, Verizon Internet Services, Inc.,
identified the account as belonging to Andersen and then re-confirmed its identification of
Andersen on two separate occasions. Moreover, Andersen admitted that she had installed an
online media distribution system onto her computer for a period of time. In addition, many of
the recordings that were being distributed from the computer attached to Andersen’s Internet
account were consistent with Andersen’s musical taste. Finally, there is a connection between
the user name at issue, “gotenkito,” and Andersen’s daughter who, according to at least one
witness, is a fan of the Dragonball Z anime series from which the name derives. All of this
evidence pointed to Andersen as the infringer in this case. On the other hand, a forensic
inspection of Andersen’s computer hard drive proved to be inconsistent and inconclusive,
because digital evidence of the infringing sound recordings could not be found, notwithstanding
the facts set forth above. Nor did the depositions that were taken in this case help resolve these
inconsistencies. In light of the foregoing, Plaintiffs decided, in good faith, to dismiss their
claims against Andersen with prejudice. (Doc. No. 129.)

What the heck has the whining of label plaintiffs and their lawyers about their facing of their own extiction and the scale of copyrightinfringement via p2p has to do with the fact that they have to pay the prevailing party Andersen?!

These RIAA lawyer guys are so full of [Comment policy Rule 2 violation] it is sickening!

DreadWingKnight said...

From what I can tell, Tanya's side is much more believable than the RIAA's side.

Continued refusal to end the case even when evidence was presented (edited from original wording) that their case was mis-targeted indicates to me that the awards indeed need to be MUCH higher than they were instead of lower.

Unknown said...

I like this part
" inconsistent and inconclusive,
because digital evidence of the infringing sound recordings could not be found"

so if there is evidence of recordings their guilty, if there is no evidence , their not not guilty cause it's inconclusive........ hmm is that lawyer speak or industry speak for "we don't want to pay" . I can definetly understand them not wanting to pay people they have sued, after all they don't really like paying their artists either.


Anonymous said...

I think this sums up the RIAA attitude:
Had Plaintiffs’ claims for copyright infringement been adjudicated on the merits, the successful defense of the claims would have required Andersen to establish either (1) that Plaintiffs did not own the copyrights at issue, or (2) that she did not engage in any of the exclusive activities reserved for Plaintiffs as the owners of the copyrights at issue. See Feist Pub., Inc. v. Rural Tel. Serv. Co., Inc., 499 U.S. 340, 361 (1991).

a. The RIAA acts as if there really was infringement, and that they just decided not to persue litigation.
b. The RIAA applies the wrong standard - they're claiming that Plaintiff must show (2) that she didn't engage in exclusive activities reserved for the RIAA. In fact, that is THEIR standard of proof. She could argue all sorts of defenses. For example, maybe Plaintiffs freely distributed a file with a license for duplication and distribution. Maybe Plaintiffs were "misusing" their copyrights.

This type of language clearly indicates the misapplication/fundimental misunderstanding of law of the RIAA.


Alter_Fritz said...

Thanks Ray for putting up that longer quote from the initialy responsible judge in that case the parties here argue about fees for.

Comparing the judges quotes and the plaintiffs recollection of the events in their objections here at issue, one can easily get the impression the plaintiffs(lawyers) are talking about some different case in their papers!

Are they living in some kind of parallel universe if they truely believe what they wrote in that filing?!

raybeckerman said...

No they do not believe what they wrote in that filing.

They think that "lawyer" is spelled "l-i-a-r".

Alter_Fritz said...

just so we have the judges view of the events here too:

"[P]laintiffs unreasonably rejected or sought to suppress evidence to the extent it tended to exonerate defendant, such as the expert's report concerning the examination of defendant's computer hard drive or her own statements about who had access to her computer. [W]hen plaintiffs dismissed their claims in June 2007, they apparently had no more material evidence to support their claims than they did when they first contacted defendant in February 2005.....Whatever plaintiffs' reasons for the manner in which they have prosecuted this case, it does not appear to be justified as a reasonable exploration of the boundaries of copyright law.....In this case, [P]laintiffs dismissed their claims before any rulings on any significant legal issues under the Copyright Act, or the factual issues associated with plaintiffs' claim. Choosing that course, on this record, should be deterred in light of its potential chilling effect on the public's access to creative works. If this were to become a more typical course in prosecuting the type of allegations faced by defendant, it is reasonably foreseeable that members of the public would be more hesitant to use the Internet to share creative works in general, regardless of whether their specific conduct violated copyright law or occupied an area yet to be addressed by copyright law. Copyright holders generally, and these plaintiffs specifically, should be deterred from prosecuting infringement claims as plaintiffs did in this case. Plaintiffs exerted a significant amount of control over the course of discovery, repeatedly and successfully seeking the court's assistance through an unusually extended and contentious period of discovery disputes. Nonetheless, after ample opportunity to develop their claims, they dismissed them at the point they were required to produce evidence for the court's consideration of the merits..... this case provides too little assurance that a prosecuting party won't deem an infringement claim unsupportable until after the prevailing defendant has been forced to mount a considerable defense, and undergo all that entails, including the incurring of substantial attorney fees. (Emphasis supplied)"
-Hon. Donald C. Ashmanskas
Magistrate Judge
District of Oregon
September 21, 2007
Atlantic v. Andersen
2008 WL 185806