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back to article RIAA: Pay as we say, not as we do

While the legal arm of the Recording Industry Association of America is lightning fast to attack at the slightest inkling of copyright infringement — justified or not — it appears the arm which holds the organization's billfold isn't nearly so quick on the draw. In the case of Capitol v. Foster, where the RIAA was ordered to …

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How to make your organization look more greedy than Scrooge

Follow the RIAA's example

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Anonymous Coward

Shame it's not in the UK - winding up order!

That's one of the things worth doing in the UK, above £750 you can apply for a winding up order. If I recall correctly it also ends up freezing the companies' activities until paid so that's a double bonus.

Something to keep in mind if they start playing games in the UK..

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Repo man

I reckon thats the cost of a fair old amount network kit. Go into the comms room, unplug and walk away.

Look for anything that looks nice and beefy, like a core router....

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RIAA Is not alone about that

Something like that happened in denmark, som guy knowing the danish anti piracy guys did'nt have anything on him appealled a case to the danish high court. Knowing the guy would win the case, the danish anti piracy guys dropped all charges and stuck the guy with the legal bill. and next thing you know the danish anti piracy guys got sued :-)

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Re: Winding up orders

Just a mention that this technique does work.

I had an insurance company that was dragging its heels over settling a claim. They continually lied about where the payment was, cheque in the post, sent to your broker, awaiting signature, awaiting production, file is in another office, file is in another building ..... sound familiar ?

Anyway, after some weeks of this, I told him I didn't care if my file was on the dark side of the moon. A settlement figure had been agreed and they had not met the claim. As a consequence, I now believed them to be trading insolvently, which is a criminal offence under the companies act. Therefore, if payment was not received within 3 working days that I would go to the High Court with my solicitor to swear out a winding up order.

My cheque arrived on the appointed day and they were on the phone to find out that it had arrived.

This technique works.

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If they get their ass sued off

Would they just be the Recording of America?

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Wind up

Winding up orders are useless except as a last resort for getting paid - a friend tried this to get payment of £20k from a company; they just phoenixed the company and he was left with a load of legal bills. They even had the cheek to rename the company to an anagram of his own name.

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Anonymous Coward

Wind-up order... hmmm.

Certainly something to keep in mind for BPI and others, as for bailiffs... I'm sure that would be good to try too. Worked for one man fighting with NatWest and another with RBS over bank charges.

If they drag their feet, shut them down.

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Anonymous Coward

Help needed?

If the Foster's require an experienced "collector", I will be available soon, will bring my own Baseball bat. Discretion guaranteed, collections to be accomplished in the old "Chicago" style if required.

Francesco Raffaele Nitto, better known as Frank "The Enforcer" Nitti LIVES!

RIAA... as you sow, so shall ye reap!

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Winding Up and Down

Everyone else has mentioned winding-up orders, so I'll offer a few personal opinions*.

Once a court of law has ordered you to pay, that's it: you pay. They may allow you to defer payment, pending an appeal, but that's it.

When I say 'pay' I don't mean 'You might pay', or 'You will consider paying': You will pay: the money is no longer yours. Further, it's not me (or the plaintiff) asking, and maybe having to go to court to plead for it: the Crown is demanding the money.

Applying for a winding-up order because the company is trading insolvently is just a tactic - a good one, because it closes down the company - but it's far from the only thing that happens. The court can and will send in bailiffs. They can freeze accounts, sequester assets, arrest people.

Oh, and they charge the offending company all costs for doing so. They'll charge 'em your costs, too. English law is like that: you can't use it to harass people by saddling them with legal bills every time a corporate attorney feels like it because the court will order them to pay the defendants' costs if the case fails.

And then there's contempt of court - a near-unlimited power to enforce obedience to the decisions of the Court: imprisonment, daily fines, sequestration of assets - until the Court is satisfied that the offender has 'purged' his contempt.

Reading about the RIAA, it seems like obeying the law and the decisions of the courts in some overseas jurisdiction is, well, optional. That, or the courts offer no protection to the citizen from the powerful.

*These opinions are not in any sense to be considered legal advice, as I am entirely unqualified to any. Should you find yourself in the position described above, contact a practising Solicitor or Barrister; the Law Society will be only too happy to put you in touch with a local solicitor specialising in the relevant area of the law.

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In the US

One of my colleagues won a case against a client who had stiffed him for $73,000. They did the same thing, not returning phone calls, etc. So he got a court order, which can be issued without the other party being informed, seizing assets. Went into their office and took the most of their computers and some miscellaneous office equipment. Well, at least he started to. When he and the marshals left, he had a check. He then sued them for legal expenses relating to the seizure. They paid that one up a little quicker.

So collection can work. Of course, sending somebody over with a baseball bat would be more entertaining. And probably more effective in delivering "the message".

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Credit Rating

Although not particularly damaging for corporations backing the RIAA, the judgment might affect the legal team they've hired.

Because the recording industry almost certainly self-finances the RIAA, having bad credit isn't going to do much harm. The recording industry corporates themselves will be completely unaffected by it.

The legal team on the other hand may be included in the judgment, and could find it tricky getting financing until they've paid it off. If they have company credit cards they might also have their rates jacked up - but that's not very likely. The credit card companies probably need them more than they need the credit.

Judgments can be quite nasty to everyday people or small to medium businesses - unfortunately when you're talking about companies with the backing of the recording industry, I reckon the best she can hope for is they'll send a check quickly to avoid more bad publicity.

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RICO Act

Considering widespread prosecutorial misconduct on the part of RIAA, can a prosecutor like Eliott Spitzer come along and sue RIAA under the RICO statutes ?

For those interested - RICO Act = Racketee Influenced Corrupt Organization act was first enacted to prosecute Mafia, but then was also used to go after many large corporations and entities which abused their power.

With enough number of such cases, there may be a possibility of bankrupting RIAA by bringing the bigger gun - the federal government - against them.

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State side

What they will do is file a motion to enforce, then a motion to put a lean against any real property. You can go directly after the bank account or force the sale of real property. :)

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There are no Spitzer's left

Nowadays, we only have the Gonzales type - the one that condones torture. With that kind of prosecution, it'll be the 10-year old girl or the 60-year-old grandmother that'll get the bug gun, not the RIAA.

Remember : the RIAA is just doing the same thing as Halliburton or Diebold - it's putting its weight where it can - against the simple, defenseless citizen. The whole Justice Department is supposed to be there to defend the citizen, but said Department is much too busy with the whole-guilty-until-proven-innocent thing to bother. But don't worry, soon the whole country will have torture as part of the regular police interrogation techniques and answers WILL be found.

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