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Print 31 comment(s) - last by emmet.. on May 19 at 5:13 AM

Florida judge not amused, already told them once

A Florida judge denied an RIAA attempt to dismiss counterclaims filed against it in Atlantic v. Boyer yesterday, allowing all six of the complaints to proceed.

Last month, defendant Eva Boyer filed six counterclaims in response to a standard RIAA copyright-infringement suit filed against her by Atlantic, Warner Bros., UMG, and Sony BMG. She accused the RIAA of civil conspiracy, computer fraud, trespass, deception, extortion, and abuse of process – and each claim was upheld by United States District Judge Richard A. Lazzara.

Recording Industry vs. The People notes that Boyer’s claims are nearly identical to the five out of six surviving claims filed against the RIAA in UMG v. Del Cid, which settled in October of last year. Coincidentally, Atlantic v. Boyer and UMG v. Del Cid share the same presiding judge, in addition to the same counsel for both the plaintiffs and the defendant.

Writing on Slashdot, Vandenberg & Feliu, LLP attorney Ray Beckerman, who coauthors Recording Industry vs. The People, says he underestimated the RIAA’s “chutzpah” for filing the same motion to dismiss a second time:

“I opined that ‘it is highly unlikely that the RIAA will make a motion to dismiss counterclaims,’ since I knew they'd be risking sanctions if they did,” wrote Beckerman under his alias, NewYorkCountryLawyer. “In essence [they] thumbed their nose at the judge, making the dismissal motion anyway.”

In its motion to dismiss, one of the RIAA’s claims (PDF) argued that Lazzara’s prior ruling in UMG v. Del Cid was “wrongly decided,” accusing the court of failing to heed proper burdens of proof, citing revised standards in Twombly v. Bell Atlantic. Lazzara disagreed, noting that a review of the case, and its resulting order, “reflects otherwise.”

Seemingly annoyed with the RIAA’s repeat claims, Lazzara denied the RIAA’s motion to dismiss the morning after it was filed – going so far as to tell Boyer to not worry about filing a response:

“Because the Court has previously resolved all of the issues raised in Plaintiffs’ motion to dismiss,” wrote Lazzara, “and because the Court is not convinced that its prior decision was wrong, the Court needs no response from Defendant and the motion is due to be denied.”

The RIAA has ten days to answer Boyer’s counterclaims.



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RE: Is it just me or...
By MrBlastman on 5/7/2008 2:11:51 PM , Rating: 2
I think it is entirely feasible that an artist can succeed without the RIAA and their in-store distribution system (along with advertising). However, I think that a great deal of luck will also be required to achieve any sort of wide spread recognition. With media delivery tools such as youtube, message boards, forums, blogs etc., it is not impossible, but I imagine seeing this happen through the use of these mediums some time in the future.


RE: Is it just me or...
By TomCorelis on 5/7/2008 2:42:14 PM , Rating: 2
Not to mention, it takes a great deal of cash to match the production values that the mainstream is used to. Oftentimes artists don't have the $5000 to spend on high-end synths (they're used everywhere nowadays), or $2000 to spend on the basic Pro Tools setup, or the who-knows-how-much it takes to hire a high-quality mastering engineer. Traditionally the record labels put up this cash. And all this has nothing to do with distribution and promotion.

I've heard artists who spent time on both sides of the production conundrum, and there is DEFINITELY a noticeable difference in the quality of their music when they've gone through the proper production process. Example: VNV Nation.


RE: Is it just me or...
By MrBlastman on 5/7/2008 3:23:02 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, the costs alone I think are the second part of the duo of biggest barriers to any success for musicians. People like Trent Reznor can succeed due to the fact they already have recognition and a great deal of money saved over time to afford equipment etc.

It isn't impossible, but it could (and probably will) happen at some point.


RE: Is it just me or...
By MrBlastman on 5/7/2008 3:23:03 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, the costs alone I think are the second part of the duo of biggest barriers to any success for musicians. People like Trent Reznor can succeed due to the fact they already have recognition and a great deal of money saved over time to afford equipment etc.

It isn't impossible, but it could (and probably will) happen at some point.


RE: Is it just me or...
By Lakku on 5/8/2008 12:18:56 AM , Rating: 3
While what you say has merit, there are many ways around a cash flow issue in the recording industry. Perhaps it is different in most places, but here in Austin, Texas, you can rent studios that have the equipment you are describing, just provie your own instruments and talent. They even have professional mixers and producers who run the studios, helping to foster local bands. You don't need to buy any of that equipment, and by the time you may need to, you'll hopefully be making enough to do so. The community is a good one down here, so I know it may not be like this in many places. However, I imagine if you are serious about making it in the music world, you'll move or go where you have to to make your record, play gigs to get noticed, and attend things like SXSW, hoping to get your name on the map.


RE: Is it just me or...
By emmet on 5/19/2008 5:13:26 AM , Rating: 1
I agree, but along with a lot of luck, they might even require a modicum of talent rather than a pretty face and a lot of chutzpah.

The RIAA represent the studios; they don't give a shit about the artists. The studios' fear is a fundamental change in the way music is distributed that destroys their business model: the Internet has the potential to disintermediate the music industry so that the artists sell (more or less) directly to the public or give recordings away to promote their live performances.

If this happens (and I hope it does), the vapid muck that is now marketed mercilessly to teenyboppers will be posted on YouTube in vast quantities by every wannabe on the planet... and ignored. The cream might just rise to the top.

Long term, this is no threat to real artists or consumers, only the parasites who have insinuated themselves into the middle and the talentless hacks on whom they spend their gazillion-dollar marketing budgets.


"We don't know how to make a $500 computer that's not a piece of junk." -- Apple CEO Steve Jobs











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