Wednesday, June 25, 2008

$107,834 attorneys fee award in Atlantic v. Andersen affirmed by District Judge

In Atlantic v. Andersen, the District Judge has rejected the objections of both sides, and adopted the Magistrate Judge's report and recommendation awarding Tanya Andersen $107,834 in attorneys fees and disbursements.

June 24, 2008, order adopting Magistrate's report awarding defendant $107,834 in attorneys fees and disbursements

Commentary & discussion:
Ars Technica
Digital Media Wire
The Industry Standard

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


Scott said...

A W E S O M E !

The good guys win another one!

Anonymous said...

The two judges in this case appear guilty of the classic Middle Ground Fallacy.

This case is highly unique and risky, pursuing as it does, the outer edges and definitions of individual words in the Copyright Act, not to mention international non-self-executing treaties, all while attempting to define what copyright truly means in this new digital age. All this against a well-funded opponent with no fear of consequences from any losses as well as no scruples. To claim that this is otherwise commonplace defies both logic and common sense -- the common sense component coming from the obvious lack of any body of cases fully litigated to refer to.

{The Common Man Speaking}

Anonymous said...

A good victory for Andersen.

so can the RIAA appeal even further, or are they done?


Anonymous said...

@Talax: Somehow, I think the RIAA will appeal whether they're allowed to or not. After all, it's not like they abide by many of the other rules...

- C15

Todd said...

For the reason anonymous #1 stated by linking the Middle Ground Fallacy, we can not assume that this is a reasonable or good victory. Sure Andersen won $107k, but do we really know if that is adequate?

Unknown said...

Now the question is: How many months (or year) can the RIAA put off paying up?

raybeckerman said...

Why would the RIAA appeal?

1. It has ZERO chance of winning the appeal.

2. Ms. Andersen would certainly cross-appeal, and she has a better than even chance of winning her cross-appeal.

3. This case was a horrendous, horrendous disgrace to the RIAA, capturing the essence of everything that is ugly and evil about the RIAA campaign.

4. An appeal would keep this particular case in the forefront of the legal news.

5. An appeal would bring all the gory details to the attention of the judges in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which would wind up coloring everything else going on in the RIAA cases on the West Coast, including the class action.

6. An appeal would result in a high level, binding appellate decision that would be totally bad for the RIAA.

7. The best possible thing the RIAA could do to help all of the present and future defendants, and to further shoot itself in the foot, would be to appeal.

So I guess it will.

Anonymous said...

If what you say is true, from points 5 & 6, then lets hope the RIAA will appeal. I'd love nothing more than to see them bury themselves deeper still.


Alter_Fritz said...

ray wrote

[lenghty text here]

So I guess it will.

that was a good LOL with my breakfast.

luckyly I had swollowed the nip(sp?) of coffee -I had in my mouth while reading the [lenghty text here] part- already before the punchline. otherwise I had to sue Ray for damages on my Keyboard ;-)

Anonymous said...

I'd love to see the red weal left on the RIAA's attorneys cheek after getting slapped by a district judge!!! :)

raybeckerman said...


raybeckerman said...

By the way, I changed the name of the page on my web site with the quotes from RIAA cases, so that changed the URL. Here's the new URL:

Justin Olbrantz (Quantam) said...

Sure Andersen won $107k, but do we really know if that is adequate?

IANAL, but as far as I understand it, it's not adequate. That is, it's going to make it harder for other people to find lawyers who will work on contingency.

raybeckerman said...

I think a $108,000 attorneys fee award is going to make it easier, not harder, to find lawyers willing to take on these cases.

Should it have been bigger? Yes.

But overall, it's a huge victory.

Justin Olbrantz (Quantam) said...

I think a $108,000 attorneys fee award is going to make it easier, not harder, to find lawyers willing to take on these cases.

Is it? I'd heard that this was just a typical bill for a lawyer, and not high enough to justify taking a risky case on contingency.

raybeckerman said...

Lawyers who take these cases on are not in it for the money. This is not a business model. It is something we do not to make money, but to try to do good... which is what most of us went to law school for in the first place.

On the other hand, most of us do need to make a living, and try to avert financial ruin.

Very important precedents have been set in Capitol v. Foster and Atlantic v. Andersen, which say that if an innocent client comes to us, and we hang in there and tough it out, we won't get ruined, we will get some fees. While it might not be a great fee, it takes the sting out of it.

Alter_Fritz said...

"Lawyers who take these cases on are not in it for the money. "

sloppy Ray!

of course that must read

"Lawyers who take these cases on for the little guy defendants are not in it for the money."

otherwse someone could construct your claim as if HRO is doing it not for the money!
Remember it was HRO who sighned responsible for the extortion campaign "settle with your Credit card don't let us worry about due justice"-website in the beginning!
So at least THESE vultures are clearly in it for the money!

skeeter said...

I think the RIAA lawyers take these cases to the utmost extreme with silly appeals and senseless motions to not only put a hardship on defendants but also to get the most money they can from their clients. The longer they can draw out a case, the more money they can pull out of the deep pockets of the Music Industry.I think this case will get the attention of the Board of Directors at Atlantic Records, or whomever, that pays these lawyers. Not only do they have to pay for their own lawyers, but somebody else's lawyer, too. I can't imagine the bill charged to the Record Companies for this suit alone. If Ms. Anderson's lawyer was awarded an inadequate $107,834, I would be willing to bet that the RIAA lawyers charged their clients at least 10 times that amount. No wonder Gabriel left the firm. I sure wouldn't want to hang around to answer to this embarrassing situation. I think after this case the music companies will be looking over the shoulder of their lawyers more closely and, in turn, the lawyers will be more careful in their tactics.

raybeckerman said...


You don't get it, do you?

The directors and officers are the ones behind this madness. They're trying to cover their tracks over having totally missed the boat on one of the greatest money-making opportunities in history, by blaming their companies' ruin on others.

It's the shareholders who are going to wake up one of these days.

Justin Olbrantz (Quantam) said...

I was thinking the shareholders were the ones to blame here, and they elected officers that reflect their greedy (and clueless) views. See diffusion of responsibility.

skeeter said...

I stand corrected. Thanks for setting the record straight with me. Maybe someone should present this blog article at the next shareholder meeting. It could be interesting.

Anonymous said...

Justin: Distributing the blame is something best left to courts and religions. In any case, the directors screwed up by not moving to some kind of internet sales any time from 1998 on. The directors are now covering their own hides by blaming P2P for their state of affairs. The shareholders screwed up by not replacing the directors with smarter ones. As Ray said, the question is when the shareholders will wake up.

Alter_Fritz said...

douglas wrote
"The shareholders screwed up by not replacing the directors with smarter ones. As Ray said, the question is when the shareholders will wake up."

as long as THE source that shows how abysmal the records for the record industry and their shareholders truely are, is only located behind some obscure "bloggerpage" named "recordingindustryvspeople" as a subdomain of blogspot dot com those shareholders will be unlikely taking notice of the truth.

Remember on those shareholder meetings the guys get presented the nicest figures andget told how good everything is from those lying executives on the bench before them.

How should those non geeky, non bloggerpages surfing guys know the truth?

You can't blame Ray for using blogger of course. and it might not only been a logical reason to do it this way as a guest in Mama google's house when Ray started (*) this endevour these days nearly 3 full years ago but also security wise the best idea after all since it is mama google with all its great backup capability if the infos here get "lost" somehow...

But to reach more ordinary non-geeky shareholder guys, the first thing that this information pool created and maintained by Mr. Beckerman needs is a "more serious and real" URL.

Ray do not even need to buy some great package with hosting and all that, just some catchy URL that is able to easily circulate among the ranks of those shareholders and a (cloaked if necessary) auto redirector from that catchy URL to this place here is the minimum to have even a chance that those shareholders might take note of what's really going on!


Alter_Fritz said...

for example
seems to be still free.

Ray, register that one (before publishing this comment not that someone else grabs it!) and you have a doorwaypage that even the stupiest sharehodler can remember to find RIvsTP. .-P

Reluctant Raconteur said...

Shareholders have very little power in practice. Unless there is a dominant shareholder, they have no influence over the BoD.

The fact is that very few companies survive a business discontinuity. There are numerous books and studies on this reality. Pick an industry and you will find that the past leaders are not the current leaders if there has been a big change in their industry. Computers, cars, finance. etc. Media is just the latest to go through this transistion.

Companies go through a life cycle of innovation to conservitive protection, to death or reinvention. Think of dinasours in a tar pit. They struggle but most will perish.

Scott said...

Shareholder democracy? It's tough.

EMI is closely held.

Sony/BMG is a foreign-owned joint venture.

Universal is a subsidiary of French company Vivendi.

Warner Music Group is the only US based publicly held company in the "Big 4", with about 15% of the total market. Most of it is owned by Edgar Bronfman Jr. and his cronies. You think they'll listen to you? Unless you're CALPERS or TIAA-CREF, they'll laugh. But if you want, try buying 100 shares and then show up at the annual meeting waving your proxy ballot. See how far you get.

I still think EMI is the company that is both the most vulnerable and the most receptive to change. Bringing the lawsuit campaign back to their doorstep could be effective.

One side note: More than 300,000 CDs were sold on the first day of Coldplay's latest release, June 17. If P2P really had damaged the CD industry as much as the RIAA claims, this could not have happened. It suggests that the music industry's failure is more a result of its inability to develop and promote new talent; and that the premise of the RIAA's lawsuit campaign is a big, whopping lie.

Anonymous said...

No doubt the recording industry felt no need to move to ala carte digital sales in the past because they (foolishly) thought that they had an absolute lock on the only means of distribution. CD sound was digitally perfect, and far too large to effective share over dial-up lines. MP3 players barely existed and were under legal assault. Computer hard drives were small while music files were huge in comparison. CD duplication equipment and blanks were expensive enough that it was hardly a threat from most home computer users. MP3? What's that? Clearly the recording industry as a whole was (and remains) woefully technologically ignorant.

With the belief that the CD reigned supreme, and that prices could be raised regularly (think of the tobacco industry) while costs of production fell through the floor, and copyright laws clearly prohibiting CD counterfeiting, they could sit back and do nothing except rake in the profits because it was My Way or The Highway when it came to consuming music.

Well My Way or The Highway soon became My Way or The Information Super Highway and people voted with their feet. The recording industry soon discovered that not only did they not control the means of distribution any longer, but with a $2000 computer, a good sound card or two, and some relatively inexpensive (by traditional standards) recording, mixing, and burning software, they didn't even control the means of production any longer.

So what did they do? Sue, of course. Try to drive the competition out of business.

By failing to adapt, or even foresee (it took the mystical Steve Jobs to finally convince their hind-brains that their body was dying) the digital revolution and its effect on their business model they have completely mis-served their shareholders for the last decade.

They plaintively whine now that "It's not our fault. Those reprehensible filesharers are driving us out of business. But we'll get it back at $3000 a pop. Just you wait and see."

They are wrong, of course. They no longer control it, and nobody likes the old system of forced bundling (1 good song and 10 fillers on a $17.95 CD) once they actually have a choice.

{The Common Man Speaking}

Alter_Fritz said...

@ common man

but if you are right with your observation about the state of mind/the worries of the RIAA back then when they tried to sue the "first" (technicly it was the second one on the market IIRC) MP3 player out of the marked, that would mean that the other MAFIAA part and their lawyers were much smarter back then!

Because When there was this "De"- ContentScramblingSystem highnoon time and the mpaa sued the 2600 magazine and Mr. Goldstein for what they did back then, at least the MPAA its Lawyers were so smart to forsee the future because they already back then mentioned the (nowadays) fact that connection speeds are extremely fast (at least in network industrialised Countries [read NOT the USA home consumer market though :-P]) and the HDDs will be/are now big enough to hold all the DeCSS procedured films.

At least thats part of what they asked Mr Goldstein in his deposition if I remeber correctly from what I read/heard back quite some time now too :-)

Ooold historic mp3s of that 2 day depo for the nostalgic persons at :-P

text transcripts

Scott said...

Common Man/Alter Fritz:

Let me throw something at you. The Coldplay anomaly got me to wondering: What if the Big 4 are not the technological cretins or economic throwbacks we think they are?

Rolling Stone recently reported that the Big 4 backed away from buying Napster -- a pre-made, turn-key, multi-billion dollar business model that worked -- because, in part, it would get in the way of their existing obligations to support retail outlets who sold their CDs.

So, what if the RIAA cartel is INTENTIONALLY killing the brick-and-mortar retail outlets for CDs that are getting in the way of a leaner, more profitable business model?

And what if they were using the RIAA to wage an insane and inexplicable lawsuit campaign as cover to keep the US Department of Justice off their backs for violations of antitrust law?

I think this is more than plausible. And if the FBI isn't investigating the RIAA on this issue, then they're not doing their job.