Thursday, June 12, 2008

RIAA issues & serves subpoena on U. Conn. "John Does" 4 weeks AFTER case already dismissed

We have recently learned of a case in Connecticut, targeting University of Connecticut students, Arista v. Does 1-6, where the RIAA issued and served a subpoena on the University of Connecticut four (4) weeks after the case had already been dismissed for failure to prosecute.

If you know of any U. Conn. student who has received a letter from U. Conn. enclosing a subpoena in Arista v. Does 1-6, 3:07CV1648(RNC), please advise them to consult counsel immediately, and bring this post to the lawyer's attention.

Here is a detailed report from Ted Fletcher, a colleague in Southwest Harbor, Maine, on how this was brought to the Attorney General's attention, after Ted had been consulted by a U. Conn. student to whom a copy of the subpoena had been sent:

I called the Information Technology folks at UConn late yesterday afternoon, disclosing that I wasn’t licensed in Connecticut and was looking for local counsel, but that it looked like the case that served as the basis for the UConn subpoena, (Arista v. Does 1-6, 3: 07-cv1648-RNC, D.Ct) had been dismissed. I then e-mailed her the March Notice of the Dismissal that you had shared with me. The Notice wasn’t signed and wasn’t good enough to get UConn to slow down. After a somewhat stubborn telephone conversation, I left it that I would get them more information by the morning. After some sleuthing on ECF/Pacer, I located and sent the Judgment and the docket sheet. The Judgment was almost a full month before the subpoena.

This morning I received calls from both UConn and the Connecticut Attorney General’s Office thanking me for alerting them to this problem. The AG’s office had missed this. The Assistant Attorney General indicated that he had called both Holme, Roberts and Owen and Robinson & Cole, local counsel and come down pretty hard on them for this. He said he told that he should be able to trust that they would not issue subpoenas in dismissed and closed cases! (I indicated that I thought a referral to the Board of Bar Overseers might be in order, based upon what I had seen and heard of prior practice.)

Letters are going to the six students telling them that the case is dismissed and that UConn will not be responding to the subpoena.

The key piece here is that Robinson & Cole issued the subpoena to UConn four weeks after the District Court had entered judgment dismissing the case for lack of prosecution. The case was closed.

Theodore G. Fletcher
Attorney at Law
P.O. Box 8
Southwest Harbor, ME 04679

[Ed. note. We do not think the Attorney General for the State of Connecticut, who represents U. Conn, will be very happy about this. -R.B.]

April 24, 2008, Judgment dismissing complaint for failure to prosecute

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...

On the part of the recording company plaintiffs, was this a calculated lapse, or just sloppy lawyering?

Alter_Fritz said...

IMO not just "sloppy" lawyering, but totally stupid lawyering fueled by this sociopathic "we are above normal legal procedures we grease so many politicians and such" attitude that they simply don't care if what they do is playing by clerical rules "of engangement" in their "war" on alternative distribution models and competition or not!

They should be slapped as hard as possible for their behaviour which shows imo utter disrepect for your courts and your judiciary!

Btw. a bit off topic, but maybe interesting to know too and me isn't sure out of its head if it was mentioned already back a few weeks:
One of the german MediaSentry like clone companies (the Pro Media GmbH in Hamburg which is the private company instituted by the "german RIAA"- lawyer Clemens Rasch that also writes the "extortion" letters here) lost lately a case where their "Investigator" (a student from Latvia) did not show up in court as witness, and the [think probably german equivalent to Carlos Linares] the guy for switching those stude the was not good enough as witness together with the screen shots that company via SONYBMG has offered as evidence according to the court.

This ruling is noteworthy since it happend in Hamburg.
The reasonings of the Judges in Hamburg are often "strange" in cases in taking place in teh field of with "internet, copyright, modern stuff ect."
If you will a mirror of a certain district somewhere in America (no namecalling here, just so you get an idea how extra ordinary and important such a ruling is over here!

And here Clemens Rasch is known that he spits much more cases out then you guys have seen in all the years in the US.
ThatS because of an important difference in germany where that stuff which is of course civil stuff is also a criminal matter and The lawyer Rasch via his private company is simply "abusing" the public prosecutor offices by filing criminal complains ("Strafanzeigen") for violation of the german copyrighlaw to have the DA and thereby the taxpayer do the initial (criminal) investigation for the name and address of the ISP subscriber after he filed the charges for copyrightinfringement and then he simply takes the data he needs to address his letters from the initial criminal file in which he demands as the lawyer that acts as counsle for the "victims".
After all, the well known and respected record companies were much more successful to grease the german politicans to rewrite copyrightlaw like they wanted it to have exclusively for them. (we even have a kind of "making available" extra wording in it since january 1st of this year!)

To get an idea about the proportions. There were reportings in german TV where public prosecutor(s) were interviewed and it was mentioned that german RIAA had files in one DA district alone over 10000 criminal complains in ~7 month of 2007. And germany has many districts... Do your math!

Heise article in german from march this year about this important ruling that the "evidence" -the alledgedly in the same modus operandi like MediaSentry working promedia gmbh is gathering- is insufficient

Anonymous said...

I was thinking that the 3 suit case of Ms Cassin was the one most likely to draw sanctions. However, after reading this one, this one has to be worse.

Attempting to get info from the University and the Attorney General of a State, after the Judge has Dismissed your Action seems like a bigger No-No. I hope the AG goes after the law firms involved with both barrels.

I would guess that a referal to the bar association would clearly be in order in this case.

This move should also make future Universities more likely to require an actual Court ORDER before releasing the names, since it is clear that at least in this case that Subpoenas might be served that are not in fact authorized by the Court.

If they had actually provided names, would not the University be liable for student privacy laws, since there was no active case authorizing the release of the names??


Anonymous said...

Man oh man . . . that just . . . sloppy lawyering. I don't think it's anything sinister as some here have suggested. I just think that for the crap fees the RIAA pays, the firms used probably can't/don't have enough qualified people to keep their calendars up.