Friday, November 13, 2009

Correction: Part of Tanya Andersen's class action dismissed by District Court judge

In Andersen v. Atlantic Recording, Tanya Andersen's abuse-of-process class action, the Court granted the RIAA's motion for partial summary judgment dismissing so much of Ms. Andersen's claims as arise from initiation of an action against her.

The motion did not involve so much of Ms. Andersen's claims as arise from the RIAA's continuation of the action against her. That aspect of her case remains pending.

The basis for the Court's decision was the Noerr-Pennington doctrine.

November 12, 2009, opinion and order granting RIAA's motion for summary judgment dismissing complaint

Keywords: lawyer 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


derivative said...

"(settlement suggests the lawsuit was not objectively baseless)"

For a judge to apply that reasoning to a large corporation suing widows, children, and dead people suggest a complete lack of understanding, compassion, morals, ethics, or all of the above on the part of the judge.

I certainly hope this will be appealed.

The very notion of a cartel of corporations having a "First Amendment Right" to harass innocent people would probably have the founding fathers rolling in their graves.

Matt Fitzpatrick said...

1) The BIG mistake:

In determining whether the RIAA pursued a sham series of litigation for the purpose of harassment, the court counted all the RIAA's $3,000-ish settlements as victories (18). Worse, the court counted all the RIAA's default judgments as victories (18). Thus, because the court accepts that a "batting average over .500" means a litigation campaign is valid (17) it gives summary judgment to the RIAA.

So serial litigation campaigns are OK, just make sure you're getting at least $1 in settlement money or defaults from at least 50% of the defendants? Someone might want to rethink that one. That's not a measure of the litigation's validity, it's a measure of how well defendants were chosen to roll over because they can't afford a federal lawsuit, or panic and default because they don't know what to do when they get sued.

2) The smaller logical slip:

Anderson: When RIAA says "IP + subscriber information = individual identification," that's false (20).

Court: (looking at RIAA pre-subpoena filing) When RIAA says "IP - subscriber information != individual identification," that's true, therefore Anderson is wrong (20-21).

As readers of this blog know, there's no controversy whatsoever over the pre-subpoena RIAA assertion the court analyzed, that IP without subscriber information is not an individual identification. Duh. The controversy is, and has always been, the post-subpoena RIAA assertion that IP address with subscriber information identifies an individual. The court seems to have looked at the wrong RIAA statement, perhaps due to confusion about the technology.


Possible silver lining: The court adjudged Ms. Andersen's claims insofar as they arise from the initiation of the lawsuit against her. Perhaps she can continue the claims insofar as they arise from the RIAA's lengthy continuation of the lawsuit even as it became more and more clear that Ms. Andersen was innocent?

raybeckerman said...

I thought there were MANY logical flaws in the Court's application of the law to the facts.

Anonymous said...

The judge makes much of there being "a chance" that the owner of an IP is the filesharer. How silly! If it's a small chance, then it's not a reasonable basis for litigation.

There's a chance that I'm gonna win the lottery, but no reasonable person would predict it.


Anonymous said...

Matt, your explanation of the logical slip is wonderful. Thanks!


derivative said...

Well, after the correction, it doesn't sound quite so bad.

The question in my mind, though, is, if the continuing harassment is sufficient to find against the RIAA, whether at that point, the court could revisit the original complaint and the slew of settlement offers.

In state criminal trial in Texas (which obviously is quite different than a federal civil court in Oregon) there is evidence which a jury cannot consider in determining guilt/innocence, but which can be considered once a verdict has been rendered and it is time to determine a sentence.

It would be great if the court could find against the RIAA based on the continuing harassment, and then go back and reconsider all the settlements, not as evidence that the RIAA is sometimes in the right, but rather as the actual evidence it is of just how evil that organization really is.

Anonymous said...

Does the judge's ruling encompass initiating the Doe suit, or the Andersen suit, or both?

Kay Jay

StephenH said...

I think the judge did not have the fact that IP address logs don't prove identity and they relied on the Johnathan Whitehead declaration of the RIAA. However, a router, proxy server, VPN tunnel, shared use computer, bringing a laptop to another location, temporary connection, etc will cause the logs to point to the wrong point. I hope Tanya Appeals this decision.

Anonymous said...

"IP address" is NOT personal to the owner/ person/ user/ custodian (it is assigned to one or more machines, not a person)...Johnson v. Microsoft Corporation, 2009 WL 1794400 (W.D. Wash.)

When Microsoft is being sued, then IP addresses are not personal, but when the RIAA is involved, they can are. Is it all about the money?