back to article RIAA gets some class

The RIAA has been slapped by a class action lawsuit, filed by Tanya Anderson, a single mom from Oregon who claims the organization's goons impersonated her 10-year-old daughter's grandmother over the phone to extract evidence. Charges filed against the RIAA include — deep breath now — counts of negligence, fraud and …

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Wankers

Wowsers!

But then again , these are the same group of people that have been stealing from all recording artists since time immemorial , with crap contracts and very questionable accounting methods and consider themselves above the law !

So it is the old story , leopards never change their spots!

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Class action is not the answer

Individual lawsuits are better. It will cost the RIAA more and spread their resources too thin to actually defend themselves. Once they are swarming in red, maybe then the record companies will begin to open their eyes and listen to the consumer.

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HELL YEAH!

"Charges filed ... include ... negligence, fraud and misrepresentation, racketeering and corruption, abuse of the legal process, malicious prosecution, outrage and intention to inflict emotional distress, computer fraud and abuse, trespass, invasion of privacy, libel and slander, deceptive business practices, misuse of copyright laws, and civil conspiracy"

What a freakin awesome way to end the week. Maybe there is a little justice in this world after all!

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Re: Class action is not the answer

The point of a class action suit is that individuals can rarely afford legal representation nearly good enough to beat a corporate lawyer cadre. It's not about justice, it's about how much you can afford to spend on lawyers. The RIAA lawyers are on retainer; lots of little lawsuits won't hurt them nearly as much as the legal fees will hurt the individuals.

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Anonymous Coward

@ Lance

I agree, class action is not the answer. It is, however, less expensive for the plaintiffs.

And gang-style executions are not only illegal, they're far too quick and merciful.

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Thank you!

This woman is bloody brilliant. I love some of the reasons she's suing under:

"computer fraud and abuse, trespass, invasion of privacy, libel and slander, deceptive business practices, misuse of copyright laws"

The last one is just an utter slap in RIAA's face. The company that's charged with protecting copyright laws is abusing them. The irony is so sharp that they need to hire Billy Mays to advertise about it.

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Re: Class action is not the answer

@ Lance

Most of the RIAA's victims can't afford lawsuits, which is one reason the RIAA has gotten away with these tactics for so long. No, this is one of the few times a class action is appropriate. As for the few who can afford their own lawsuits, they always have the option to exempt themselves from the class.

-daniel

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Anonymous Coward

Bravo

Not much to say except kudos to those bringing the suit.

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quotes from another web site

Dear RIAA: It has come to my attention that you may be suing me as a John Doe. However, instead of waiting for me to sue you for malicious prosecution, I am generously offering to let you settle "at a discounted rate" before those claims go to trial.

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Neat

The list of charges would make Al Capone envious.

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Anonymous Coward

HAHA

It must be fun for the RIAA to finally reap the rewards of their actions. I'm going to enjoy watching this case.

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Re: Class action

Perhaps individual suits are better, but I think this approach will strengthen this particular case, help many who could not mount suits of their own, and set some good precedents for those that follow.

I'm hoping that eventually, many of those who have been charged already will be able to show a miscarriage of justice. I want to see this situation snowball. Maby I'm dreaming, but it's time for a change. Heystoopid got it right when he said that the RIAA "have been stealing from all recording artists...". That has got to stop.

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Anonymous Coward

No Legal Aid ?

Dont they have legal aid like in UK ? That way all of them can file lawsuits and fuck them (RIAA) big time.

Please Register, keep us posted on this case regularly and highlighted appropriately. What happened to the UK cases which RIAA pursued ?

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MPPC

Trade groups aren't necessarily sacrosanct. In 1908 Thomas Edison set up the Motion Picture Patents Company which used threats, intimidation and legal action to bully independent film producers into paying its fees. This is one of the reasons why the film industry moved to southern California, where the local courts were less sympathetic to patent claims. The MPPC eventually had its patents cancelled and was shut down as an illegal monopoly in 1918. It could be interesting to see what would happen if the *AA groups ended up going the same way.

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Anonymous Coward

Don't know if they have it in the US

but in Australia and UK we have a term called "vexatious litigant". The courts can deem a person or company vexatious if they engage in harassing or baseless lawsuits as a means of extorting money. And it means that in future they need to apply for special permission before filing any legal action.

I think pursuing that might be a better goal, long term.

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Yours Faithfully, The Mafia.

<sarcastic>Whilst I'm surprised that any large business could be accused of illegal practices, racketeering, extortion and other crooked acts,</sarcastic> it seems as though (if these suits are carried) that the RIAA should perhaps be investigated by the US Government for their business actions. That does of course depend though whether this enforcement business is in the government pocket, but then governments arn't crooked, are they?

What businesses should be doing is encouraging the triad's to protect their interests in China where a vast amount of high-level piracy happens, much as US businesses seem to be paying the mafia to protect their interests there.

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Fan - effin - tastic

If there's a group on the Earth that deserve to be squashed (ignoring major religions :-) ) it's the RIAA. They're so silly I would laugh if life was a Monty Python sketch. However, in grim reality, these are just a bunch of vultures picking the carrion of creative types.

The whole recording industry is an anachronism, and they will fight to the death their right to exist, but thank God the Internet is burning them out of existence.

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whooooo hooooo!

Harder to ignore an angry mob of people aint it RIAA?

: O P

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Anonymous Coward

UK TV Licensing is just as bad as the RIAA

Its not only the RIAA that uses unecessary force and intimidation to make a nuisance of itself.

In the UK, TV licensing behaves as if everybody without a TV licence is a criminal by behaving as if they're guilty until proved innocent. Not everybody has a TV, and therefore that stance is wholly unreasonable.

Before pointing the finger at the RIAA, lets have an intelligent MP (if there is such a thing) bring in a law that says UK TV Licensing must have independently witnessed evidence from a TV detector, *before* they're allowed to write threatening letters demanding the occupant proves they don't have a TV.

Of course, it doesn't make the RIAA's actions any less unpalatable ... but it is NOT just the RIAA that carries out its activities in this thoroughly unnecessary and unnaceptable manner.

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Re: No Legal Aid ?

I think you'll find that the Recording Industry Association of America doesn't have much jurisdiction in the United Kingdom. ;)

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Re:UK TV Licensing

Too true. I bought a new PC with MediaCentre installed, and a TV tuner, and got a threatening letter from UKTV Licensing a week later, saying that I didn't have a TV License and if I didn't buy one they'd see me in court.

Of course I don't have a TV license. My girlfriend, however, does, and it's for our house.

Rather than check their database and see if the address is listed with a license, they'd much rather threaten someone to try to get another £100+ out of them for no reason.

The sooner parasites like these get the boot the better.

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Where can I donate

I want to help get the RIAA wiped out.....

Doubt this case will manage that but well worth a few of my bucks.

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UK TV license

In the UK, one is NOT legally obliged to pay for a TV license **IF** one does NOT watch television *programmes* !! Possession of a television set is NOT a valid reason for suing anyone for a TV license. I believe this has been proved in court that a person who *only* uses the set for watching videos/DVDs can *legally* possess a set without paying for that extortion from the Beeb !! The onus of proof is on the Beeb !!

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Re: UK TV Licence

"In the UK, one is NOT legally obliged to pay for a TV license **IF** one does NOT watch television *programmes* !!"

Nope.

You are required to buy a licence if you own "any apparatus capable of *receiving* broadcasts". Should you then not choose to watch them, that's your prerogative. You don't need one if you possess a DVD/video player (not recorder).

Back to the topic: I hope this gets stuck to the R.I.Ass of A good and proper. However, I suspect their weasly lawyers will find a back door somewhere...

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g e
Silver badge

Oh happyyy daaaayy!!

Which was actually the title of an email I sent a mate the day SCO got bent over in the court but I digress...

What would be utterly tanfastic would be if the RIAA got kicked about big time by the class suit and THEN the artists sued them for something contributory that had damaged their income raised by evidence presented in this case... I think that may constitute proof of a benign and loving God if it came about LOL!

Maybe then the IFPI might shut up and think about their future, too.

As for the TV license.. I think I'm right saying it's required if you possess a device CAPABLE of receiving and displaying/playing the broadcast or a part thereof, whether you use it for DVD's or Playstation is moot. I'd like to see someone prove the didn't watch BBC ever and therefore had no need to fund them in that special 'unique' way. I never did get a response from them to the letter I worte asking if they could provide a breakdown of all first-time broadcasts material vs repeats and omnibus subsequent broadcasts and schedule time taken up by broadcasts first made in previous licensing annums (i.e. stuff already paid for by a previous year's license collection). This would allow the true ratio of original programming vs stuff-already-paid-for to be seen so the portion of the license fee used for transmitting stuff you were effectively paying for twice/thrice/etc could be easily shown.

Maybe if someone from the Beeb reads this they might like to volunteer the information to El Reg for all of us, tem being an institution commited to open access to all in a platform agnostic manner. (ssshh .. don't mention the IPlayer)

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Anonymous Coward

re: alex

"I think you'll find that the Recording Industry Association of America doesn't have much jurisdiction in the United Kingdom. ;)"

wrong. they are still prosecuting UK citizens, even to the point where they even demanded that some UK defendants travel to the states to appear in a US court.

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Anonymous Coward

re: Ishkandar

"Possession of a television set is NOT a valid reason for suing anyone for a TV license"

although unfortunately, the UK TV licence site has this to say:

"Using a TV without the correct licence is a criminal offence. If you use a television or other equipment capable of receiving broadcast television programmes - such as a TV-enabled computer - without a licence you could face prosecution and a fine of up to £1,000."

although if you keep the equipment de-tuned and not connected to an aerial in any way, it isn't techncially classed as "capable", but it will go to the courts to decide. and has many times before...

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Anonymous Coward

Come again?

"The RIAA lawyers are on retainer...." Not bloody likely.

In 20 years of practicing law I have known exactly *zero* firms who undertake representation in litigation matters on retainer. Unless these attorneys are in-house - equally unlikely - I would find it incredibly incredible that any of the lawyers who are performing this work are paid on anything but an hourly basis.

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Anonymous Coward

"Capable" of receiving TV is missing the point ...

... which is that UK TV licensing doesn't even care whether the occupant has anything "capable" of receiving TV transmissions.

All it does is to write to every address without a TV license in an extremely underhand and threatening manner, demanding that the recipient admits their inspector to prove that they don't have any such equipment. It makes no difference whether you have any "capable" equipment or not, you still get the letter demanding that you admit their inspector to prove it.

In other words, its a classic case of "guilty until proved innocent" with absolutely no attempt made to distinguish (eg by use of a TV detector) the innocent from the guilty prior to sending the underhand threatening letter.

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Anonymous Coward

political influence

It won't be much good hoping that the US govt will investigate RIAA. How do you think they managed to get the Digital Millenium Act and strong copyright laws in place? They throw far too much money at political parties and candidates for the government to "bite the hand that feeds".

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Hint, hint...

Doesn't the RIAA's actions fall under the RICO Act?

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Anonymous Coward

Yes Reg, keep us posted.

I would be very intrested in seeing how this turns out :)

A kick in the face for the RIAA I would hope.

hurra

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Class Action? I've got one better.

Use the RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations) statues against them. Those were designed to bring down organized criminals (read: the mafia/mob), and I think in this case that the Recording Ass of America certainly qualifies.

Oh, wait, this defendant already _did_ that: (check the footnotes of the WIki article)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Racketeer_Influenced_and_Corrupt_Organizations_Act

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Unfortunately

This won't change anything, win or loose. Suing a rich shell organization that is propped up by even richer giant global corporations does nothing.

If the actual music label executives that signed off on these decisions (or continued to support the RIAA after what they were doing was known) went to the federal penitentiary then things might actually change. General population of course, not the white-collar country club places.

I think that would be pretty ironic; these execs would finally be in touch with the culture they promote. I wonder what all the 'gangstas' will say about all of their 'snitching'. Hmm... oh well, whatever happened, it would be deserved.

Heres hoping!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: UK TV Licence

Been there as well with the TVLA (TV licence authority)... I bought some TV tuner cards and a week or two later received threatening letters demanding that I either pay them because "there was no record of a TV licence at my address" (my partner had a TV licence) or to provide details of the TV licence that I might claim to be using (which they would then consider in due course as to whether it was valid or not). In the meantime I was on notice of a court appearance, bailiffs, etc.

Needless to say, if they couldn't be bothered to look into their own records, then I certainly couldn't be bothered to look onto our noticeboard where the TV licence is pinned, so I wrote to them (using the same threatening stance, phrasing and formatting that they used in their letter to me) telling them to check their own records. Needless to say, they ignored this letter and sent a subseqent letter informing me of a provisional court date,further threats of bailiffs, criminal record, etc. So I wrote back to them (again, copying their style) and pointed out that, as mentioned in my previous letter, I already had a licence and that they get their finger out and check their own records, noting how frequently make claims to as to how good these records are, and if they didn't then I'd quite happily meet them in court and pursue them for all kinds of damages due to stress, oppression, corporate incompetence, etc. (pretty much any vague threat that I could think of at the time). Two days before the supposed court date I received a letter from the TVLA stating that "on this occasion" they had decided not to pursue a court case.

Nope, not racketeering and bullying at all...

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TVLA

Phone them.

Their call center staff are friendly and have update rights on their database.

I got the tipical letter from them when my gf baught a TV. (The licence is in my name). So I called the number on the letter.

The person in the callcenter was friendly, appoligised for the letter, and I've never heared from them since.

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Pulls out the popcorn

This is gonna be gooooood.

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Anonymous Coward

Re:TVLA

Their call centre MAY be nice and friendly, but if their initial contact with someone is a threatening and offensive letter can there be any wonder that people respond by telling them to f*** off.

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re TVLA

Great about RIAA... lets hope it goes the distance.

As for the TVLA, i responded to the threatening letters saying that due to work commitments they were welcome to make an appointment to visit my house when i would happily show them my lack of TV, otherwise due to level of crime in my area i advised my GF not to open the door after dark.

Needless to say they declined an appointment, kept hassling me though.

Sooner we get rid of that outdated tax the better!!

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Bronze badge

TV License

Am I the only one who doesn't mind paying it?

Take a close look at the state of TV outside the UK and consider whether £120 a year for some pretty decent shows (Life on Mars, anyone?) with no adverts is a price worth paying. And the World Service, what a service. Go Auntie.

Although it would save everyone a lot of hassle if they just took it out of the tax budget.

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TV Licence

I agree - the TVLA send incessant theatening letters no matter what you write back to them; however I've found that if you ignore them and wait for an inspector they will eventually update their records.

We had a perfectly civilised gentleman call and inspect our TV, DVD player and video recorder, along with shelves full of pre-recorded DVD's & videos. He tried several channels on our TV and found no reception and we haven't heard from them since.

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Law

TVLA

There is a campaign somewhere to actually get the TV license removed... anybody who hates the tax enough should join it... I did about 4 years ago and it still hasn't stopped.

I move house.... alot.... and the one thing I always ignore are repeated claims I didn't have a TV license... I also refuse to give my postcode and house number to people in places like Tesco, Curries etc where I would buy TV equipment. Not been sued yet, dispite lots of letters.

The funny thing is, I actually have a license... but I noticed early on when I began moving every 6 months that alot of these letters a auto-generated.... if you ignore them, they essentially forget about it. If they visit your home, you don't let them in without a policeman present... they have no rights to enter without your consent!

I love how the TVLA get more rights & money to threaten & bully people and arrange advertisement campaigns designed to scare - and yet, our amazing benefits system is only allowed to say "No Ifs... No Buts... " in their campaigns to reduce benefit fraud, something we all pay for!!

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Class action law suit is perfect

See if this goes over well, other lawyers will be apt to take on the RIAA, and some will be willing to take it on contingency as they know it s a winnable case

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