Sunday, June 22, 2008

Interscope v. Does 1-7 ruling reversed

First learned of this from

In Interscope v. Does 1-7, the Newport News, Virginia, case, targeting 7 students at the College of William and Mary, Judge F. Bradford Stillman has reversed the earlier ruling of Judge Walter D. Kelley, Jr., denying the RIAA's ex parte motion, and has now granted the motion.

No defendants appeared in the action; neither the defendants nor the College were given notice of the application. It is still possible that once the subpoena is issued and served, either the college, or the students, or both, could make a motion to quash.

The court's docket entry reads as follows:

Minute Entry for proceedings held before Magistrate Judge F. Bradford Stillman: Motion Hearing held on 6/20/2008 re 7 MOTION for Reconsideration filed by Atlantic Recording Corporation, Warner Bros. Records Inc., Laface Records LLC, Elektra Entertainment Group, Inc., Sony BMG Music Entertainment, Virgin Records America, Inc., Capitol Records, Inc., Interscope Records, BMG Music, UMG Recordings, Inc., Arista Records LLC. Present were Katheryn Coggon and Michael Zito, counsel for the plaintiffs. Court notes that there are parallel motions in both this case and 2:08cv90. Counsel agrees. Court consolidates these matters under 2:08cv90. Judge Morgan will be the presiding Judge. Court addresses the motion for leave to file Amicus Curia Brief (#8) in 4:07cv52 and denies that motion for counsels failure to move the motion within thirty days according to the local rules. Court finds there is no prejudice in doing so as all of counsels briefs are contained in the record. Court allows a sixty day extension of time for service on the defendants in this matter. Court hears argument on the motion for reconsideration and makes rulings from the bench and grants the motion. The Court finds that the scope of the subpoena is narrow enough that he will allow it to be issued. Court to enter written opinion and order in this matter. Court adjourned. (Court Reporter Paul McManus, OCR.)THIS IS A TEXT ONLY ENTRY. NO PDF DOCUMENT IS ATTACHED. (cdod) (Entered: 06/20/2008)

Commentary & discussion:

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...

the reconsidering judge stated that::
"Court hears argument on the motion for reconsideration and makes rulings from the bench and grants the motion. The Court finds that the scope of the subpoena is narrow enough that he will allow it to be issued."

with all due respect allow me to be confused.

After a quick reread of the comments on the first post the point of the denying judge was that RIAA asked for the information the wrong way by choosing this "45er" way. And that most of the "non-professional" commenters agreed with the professional in law Mr. B. that the first judge was right in analysing the situation paragraph wise.

Now this judge here talks about "subpoena is narrow enough" and grants it non the less.
If I as a non-lawyer/judge professional understand what I know so far from this judges reasoning correctly, I understand that the "wrong way"-issue wasn't an issue at all in his ruling at hand!?

How come?
Is he incompetent that he thinks the "RIAA-way" is legal, or was the other judge incompetent by saying "the law says something else, you [RIAA] can't have ex-parte discovery via subpoena this way"

And yes, me has heard about the saying " you have 2 persons of law and you get at least 3 opinions from them" [not literaly translated];
Non the less me is confused now and at least wonders about the professional background/and or possible collusion problems in the realtionship between RIAA and this reversing Judge.

Can someone with more knowledge about the subject please try to wipe away my confusion now?

Anonymous said...

RIAA up to their old tricks, keep trying until you find the judge that agrees with you, drop the cases that are not in your favor. Is this smart lawyering? Or just plain foolishness? Whatever it is, it's very trying for those being sued.


Alter_Fritz said...

CORRECTION to previous comment

I must correct myself.
I simply assumed (from plaintiffs' typical modus operandi they show in other cases) that they were trying hier their "typical" 45er subpoena gamesmanship too.
I must correct myself!

As the "he got it right and it seems that he is NOT colluding with plaintiffs"-Judge Kelley observed in his ruling; "Plaintiffs’ motion asserts that the Cable Communications Policy Act of 1984
(“CCPA”), 47 U.S.C. § 551(c)(2)(B), authorizes their ex parte subpoena for subscriber
So the "new" judge had not to rule if the ex parte subpoena is valid like the "normal" ex parte ones are (or are not), but he should have had to rule about something completely different!

Well in any case what ever he had to rule about. given from his quote: "The Court finds that the scope of the subpoena is narrow enough that he will allow it to be issued." is SEEMS that judge Stillman did not even bothered to look at the validity of the legal ground on what Plaintiffs' based their motion for ex parte discovery.

That is in my opinion freightening that this judge Stillman ruling from his bench give at least me the impression that he is either incompetent or not impartial! :-(

P.S. Gramatical question from this non native guy:
If the judge referres to himself as "the Court" ("Das Gericht" in german) in his ruling, would the correct article not be "it" in "that he will allow it to be issued."?

Serious question that is by myself, not some rethorical one to probably redicule him given that I already expressed my disappointment about "the Court"!

Anonymous said...

Can a magistrate judge overrule a District Court Judge? (or was the first judge also a magistrate judge?)


Alter_Fritz said...

Walter D. Kelley, Jr.


Magistrate Judge F. Bradford Stillman

good question Steve!

more collusion thingy that stuff is?

Anonymous said...

alter_fritz said:
"P.S. Gramatical question from this non native guy:
If the judge referres to himself as "the Court" ("Das Gericht" in german) in his ruling, would the correct article not be "it" in "that he will allow it to be issued."?"

I understand why you would think that. 'Das' is a neuter (from Latin meaning: neither of two. In this case neither gender) definite article in German. And it is true that 'the court' is typically genderless in English. However, because the judge controls the court and he is male, the masculine pronoun 'he' is used. Conversely, if the judge who presides over the court was female, the feminine pronoun 'she' would have been used. Finally, it / he / she aren't articles in English, they are pronouns, id est, they act on behalf of their nouns. In this case, the antecedent (the noun to which it refers), is the iudex or judge, not the court itself.

Just be aware that genders can be randomly assigned to objects or concepts in English without much discernible pattern, unlike German, which clearly defines the gender of nouns.

This is my understanding at least, but I could be wrong.

Anonymous said...

I'm confused
From the docket entry posted here, it says Magistrate Judge F. Bradford Stillman. However following the link to the news article it says US District Judge.... which is correct?

Alter_Fritz said...

Danke schön @anonymous

Anonymous said...

Well, properly speaking, English has no grammatical genders. That said, sometimes people anthropomorphize objects (treat them as people), so a car or ship might be treated as a woman, etc. but this is usually limited to the crazy people who name their car/boat/whatever ...

And the usage of "the Court" is legalese. Even if it's proper to capitalize "Court", no one but a lawyer or maybe an English teacher would bother.

As for the subpoena itself, I wish they'd stop getting away with this, but it's kind of hard when they rarely have to face opposing counsel :/

- C15

Alter_Fritz said...


we have 2 to 1 "prepoderance of evidence" that AP got it wrong:

first robing room knows him too only as MAG JU (1)

second the court reporter Paul that entered the docket text seems to be a reliable witness when it comes to say for what people he is working.

so my verdict would be AP guilty of unlawfully promoting a judge.

Which of course let the question of steve hang unsolved: Is a MAGJU "allowed" to overrule a DISJU in the first place?!


Anonymous said...

Reading of this apparent reversal despite the deep flaws in the entire RIAA approach, one can only conclude that by and large the court system is stacked against the little guy when a large corporation asserts (with no valid evidence and an incorrect legal theory) that he or she has harmed them. Actual harm need not be proven and actual damages aren't even a consideration. Only severe punishment to toe the corporate line.

{The Common Man Speaking}