Archive for the 'Law & Technology/Lawyer Tech Tools' Category

Washington Woman Sues RIAA for Attorneys Fees

[As reported on /.]

“A Washington woman sued by the RIAA has asked the Court to award her attorneys fees, after the record company plaintiffs (Interscope Records, Capitol Records, SONY BMG, Atlantic Recording, BMG Music, and Virgin Records) dropped their case against her after two years of litigation, in Interscope v. Leadbetter. The brief submitted by her attorneys (pdf) pointed out the similarity between Ms. Leadbetter’s case and Capitol v. Foster. In the Leadbetter case, as well as Foster case, the RIAA sued the woman solely because she had paid for an internet access account, and then later in the case attempted to plead ‘secondary liability’ against her without any factual basis for doing so. This tactic had been repudiated by Judge Lee R. West in Capitol v. Foster as ‘marginal’ and ‘untested’ in his initial decision awarding attorneys fees, and in his later decision denying the RIAA’s motion for reconsideration.”

I previously posted on Capitol v. Foster here.

Not a Good Sign…

Apparently “[a] British judge admitted on Wednesday he was struggling to cope with basic terms like “Web site” in the trial of three men accused of inciting terrorism via the Internet.”

“The trouble is I don’t understand the language. I don’t really understand what a Web site is,” he told a London court during the trial of three men charged under anti-terrorism laws.

Prosecutor Mark Ellison briefly set aside his questioning to explain the terms “Web site” and “forum.” An exchange followed in which the 59-year-old judge acknowledged: “I haven’t quite grasped the concepts.”

(I was directed to the story by this Slashdot post.)

Bill To Outlaw Genetic Discrimination In US

Slashdot has a post today that relates to one of my previous posts about wrongful birth/wrongful life actions.

[A] brief note from New Scientist about the overwhelming passage in the US House of Representatives of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act. As written, the bill would prohibit insurance companies from charging higher rates, and employers from discriminating in hiring, based on the results of genetic tests. A Boston Globe editorial notes that the bill has been held up in the Senate by the action of a single senator, who has an (outdated) objection based on his anti-abortion stance. President Bush has said he will sign the bill if it reaches his desk.

A quick break from Trusts & Estates: RIAA Defendant awarded attorneys’ fees

Though there is more than enough law to populate the contents of any blog (or blogs), my internal geek can’t let go of the tech-law… I indulge so rarely but this story is too great… I’ve been waiting for something like this for years:

In Capitol Record v. Debbie Foster the RIAA sued an Oklahoma woman over copyright infringement. In July, the case against her was dismissed with prejudice after she alleged that she was completely ignorant as to even the existence of such a thing and implicated her adult daughter and estranged husband. However, instead of dropping the case against her, the RIAA told Debbie that she was liable for any infringement regardless of whether she had shared or downloaded files herself because she was the registered owner of the account. Thus the RIAA advanced what the judge saw as a novel and untested theory in copyright law. Debbie counterclaimed.

After RIAA dismissed their suit against her, with prejudice, Debbie continued to pursue her counterclaim. She finally won reasonable attorneys fees with the decision reading in part:

Unlike the courts in the unpublished opinions cited by the plaintiffs, this Court must consider whether a defendant should receive an award of attorneys’ fees when she successfully defends against the novel application of secondary copyright infringement claims… Her only alternative to litigating the plaintiffs’ contributory or vicarious liability claim was to capitulate to a settlement for violation she insists she did not commit. Such capitulation would not advance the aims of the Copyright Act as the plaintiffs’ untested theory would remain untested.

Debbie’s attorney Ray Beckerman sees large implications for the RIAA’s legal strategy after this loss… I hope he is right.

Teen accuses record companies of collusion

Its happened before but someone else is fighting back against RIAA.

The claims are nothing new, but any story of someone standing up against this kind of tyrannical anti-trust is worth posting.

Peter Huber on Why Lawyers Will Love Net Neutrality

Usually when lawyers, as a group, are said to love something, non-lawyers, as a group, are usually getting screwed… I do not think that it is the screwing of others that leads directly to lawyer-joy, rather, I think it has something to do with cash… Check out Peter Huber’s article in Forbes for his explanation regarding Net Neutrality: “The Inegalitarian Web