Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Counterclaims dismissed in Missouri case, Atlantic v. Raleigh

We have just learned of a case that has been pending in Missouri since November, 2006, Atlantic v. Raleigh.

The complaint is one of the RIAA's old-style "making available" complaints, since it was filed almost a year before Interscope v. Rodriguez.

The answer contains information about the facts of the case, and interposed a number of counterclaims. However, the counterclaims were dismissed by the Court in an order dated August 18, 2008.

From an examination of the docket it appears that discovery has been on hold, and the parties are now scheduled to appear at a conference on September 11th.

Answer and Counterclaims
August 18, 2008, Order and Opinion Dismissing Counterclaims
August 19, 2008, order scheduling conference September 11, 2008

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 portable music player


Anonymous said...

How are the huge statutory damages we see in these cases not a clear violation of the Eighth Amendment?


Anonymous said...

When will the courts finally wake up and realize that they need to have someone who is technologically competent to be able to evaluate these claims/counterclaims?? It looks like the judge just shrugged his shoulders and said to himself "Well, I don't understand all of this intar-tubes stuff and these 'well-known and respected record companies' would never make false claims and tarnish their reputation and the defendant is just a teeny, tiny college girl . . . , etc., etc., etc."

I mean really, the judge just completely dismissed all of her counterclaims?? Has he had his head in the sand for the past couple of years?

Wake me back up when the courts actually start doing what they were designed to do and that is get to the truth of the matter not be used by corporations to screw ordinary people over.

Anonymous said...

Plaintiffs deny that the RIAA is a necessary party under Rule 19(a), Fed. R. Civ. P., and they maintain that defendant has no viable counterclaim against the RIAA.

It would seem to this man that it was the RIAA that performed the investigations – possibly illegal ones - that resulted in all the actions that followed. They also set up the Settlement Support Center. How anyone can contend that any the RIAA isn't a necessary party or that the defendant can't have any claims against them in this action is ludicrous and defies belief.

Defendant also accuses plaintiffs of forming an association for the purpose of attempting to extort money and using misrepresentations, threats, fear of economic loss, and lawsuits in order to obtain cash settlements.

This is exactly what the RIAA has become.

Noerr-Pennington doctrine rears its ugly head yet again here. Aside from the belief by this man that sham lawsuits aren't protected by NP, he wants to believe that NP can't and shouldn't protect any plaintiff who uses the legal system to outright abuse other citizens. If the RIAA is to win their case they have nothing to fear from the defendant since they have prevailed on the merits. Are they to lose then they should not be shielded from the consequences of their reckless and disgusting actions.

These lawsuits are all shams since they are intended to force settlements rather than proceed to trial on the merits. The RIAA doesn't have to win to firmly punish those they and they alone have deemed criminals. Even the judge says that it's a sham if it is (1) objectively baseless such that no reasonable litigant could realistically expect success on the merits, and (2) subjectively motivated by bad faith. This man questions if that is a misreading and it really should be (1) or (2), not (1) and (2).

But the real killer here is where the judge states: “Probable cause to institute civil proceedings requires no more than a reasonabl[e] belie[f] that there is a chance that [a] claim may be held valid upon adjudication.’” This man would like to think that counter-claims would be given the same level playing field to be fairly heard in court at trial. It seems that they aren't.

The Court finds that the plaintiffs’ action does not fall within the “sham” litigation exception to the Noerr-Pennington doctrine. Considering the "sham" evidence used to bring this case in the first place, and the sham theories that an IP address identifies the individual guilty of infringement and "making available" equates to distribution equates to infringement, this whole preceding is a sham, and a true disgrace.

The Court finds that, as a matter of law, any damages within the statutorily-authorized range of $750 to $30,000 per each infringed work cannot be deemed outrageous. Just what is this judge smoking?

The Court also notes that settlement can be a “just, speedy, and inexpensive” determination of an action. The Common Man says to the judge, you only got one out of three correct here.

even a groundless, bad-faith threat to sue does not instill “‘fear’ within the meaning of the criminal statute prohibiting extortion. One could hardly characterize the RIAA threat as "groundless", yet this judge does exactly that.

Settlement demands of this sort are overtures to negotiation, not threats to inflict economic injury. Yet again that is exactly what the RIAA is all about here. Settle with us now for thousands, or go to court and pay your lawyer tens of thousands if you actually get to court, or hundreds of thousands to us if you get to court and lose. This man asks: how much more does it take to become an illegal threat?

And then the judge won't even allow amendment of the complaint to address the issues he has with the original. He forecloses this avenue to the defendant before said defendant is even informed as to his reasons for rejecting her counter-claims in their entirety. Here's what's wrong with them in my legal opinion, and now that you know what you did wrong you are barred from correcting them to my satisfaction. One strike and you're out.

Printable words don't exist to express the true level of contempt felt for this judge generated by that closing out of the door. And anything more speculation about the possible reasons for such a decision will certainly cause this post to be rejected in its entirety.

Just so very much to be outraged by in this clueless judge's decision in which he validates the entire RIAA litigation strategy. Woe be to any defendant in this court room.

{The Common Man Speaking}

usagemayvary said...

I wonder,

is there any way that Noerr Pennington Doctrine can be challenged? It seems to be a horribly abusive doctrine that is way outdated as well.

Anonymous said...

The issue of joining the RIAA made me wonder if it would be possible to join Media Sentry as a co-defendent in courts that rule Media Sentry's downloads as unauthorized. Media Sentry is the other half of the alleged infringing action, and the ones responsible for iniating the alleged 'distribution'. At the very least it might cause those judges to rethink the stupidity of calling the downloads unauthorized...