Print 17 comment(s) - last by flydian.. on Jun 18 at 10:06 PM

Next moves in the convoluted story of Warner v. Cassin

The RIAA decided to refile its John Doe complaint from Warner v. Cassin late last week, after suddenly and mysteriously dropping the case late last May.

The new case, titled Warner v. Does 1-4 (PDF) seeks to restart the John Doe process that previously named Cassin as a defendant, and opens with a motion for discovery (PDF) to discover the identity behind the person who used the KaZaA account "omc@KaZaA" to distribute 349 music files over the internet.

Critics accused the RIAA of forum shopping, noting that the industry's complaint against Joan Cassin had already been settled twice (once as a previously dropped John Doe complaint, and once again in Warner v. Cassin), and that Warner v. Does 1-4 was filed in a way that leaves out official references to previous litigation,supposedly so that it can be assigned to a new judge.

"It is evident that [Warner v. Does 1-4] is a 'related case,' which plaintiffs omitted to disclose, hence the assignment to Your Honor rather than to [Warner v. Cassin] Judge Robinson," reads a letter (PDF) from RIAA critic and attorney Ray Beckerman, whose firm is representing Cassin. "We are writing to request ... referral back to Judge Robinson, at which time we will move to dismiss based on res judicata (the complaint was already decided)."

The RIAA denies these claims, and says that while it has accepted Cassin's proclamations of innocence, it is interested in finding whoever was responsible for downloading music to her IP address -- and to that end, it has since filed an expedited motion for discovery (PDF) in order to do so.

"Ms. Cassin is wrong when she argues that, by filing this lawsuit, Plaintiffs are somehow engaged in forum or judge shopping," reads the RIAA attorneys' response (PDF) to Beckerman's letters. "Plaintiffs originally brought the Cassin case against Ms. Cassin because she was identified by her Internet Service Provider ... as the person responsible for the [IP address] through which the alleged infringement of Plaintiff's copyrights occurred."

"Plaintiffs learned, from their own continued investigation, that other individuals resided in Ms. Cassin's household, including an individual with initials that match the username at issue, 'omc@KaZaA.' ... plaintiffs decided that the appropriate course of action was to dismiss the Cassin case voluntarily ... and to file this Doe lawsuit to determine the identity of the true infringer."

The letter goes on to say that the Cassin's defense of res judicata is only valid in a case filed a third time against the same person, and that the Does named are likely other residents of Cassin's household, and not Joan Cassin herself.

Wired's Threat Level notes that Beckerman declined to comment on the RIAA's response.

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Kids, here's your word for the day...
By Golgatha on 6/18/2008 9:08:14 AM , Rating: 5
douchebaggery - Presenting one's self in a manner that inspires those around you to wish death and/or serious injury upon you.

RE: Kids, here's your word for the day...
By MrBlastman on 6/18/2008 9:55:13 AM , Rating: 4
So basically these RIAA punks are trying to rack up her legal bills on purpose. It is a sad day when they figure - hey, we can't win a suit against all these people because perhaps, the world is catching on... SO lets sue, drop, sue drop over and over again to raise their legal fees to such a level that we punish them indirectly.

What a bunch of poo.

I eagerly await the day a Judge punishes them for their actions with some very large fine and sets a precedent which would allow others to collect the same versus them. This is just another reason why I will not buy music anymore except from artists directly.

RE: Kids, here's your word for the day...
By mmntech on 6/18/2008 10:08:08 AM , Rating: 5
It's certainly a gross abuse of the courts. I think RIAA is up there with NAMBLA now as one of Americas most despised organizations. Still, they seem to get the politicians on their side. A briefcase stuffed with $1000 bill will do that though. I guess they use revenue from lawsuits to bribe the politicians.

RE: Kids, here's your word for the day...
By collegeguypat on 6/18/2008 10:31:27 AM , Rating: 5
Which NAMBLA? North American Man-Boy Love Association or National Association of Marlon Brando Look-Alikes?

/Southpark reference
//it was from about 4 years ago

RE: Kids, here's your word for the day...
By sporr on 6/18/2008 3:08:31 PM , Rating: 2
NAMBLA - North American Man-Boy Love Association

Possibly the funniest acronym ive ever seen :D

By SavagePotato on 6/18/2008 3:29:30 PM , Rating: 2
If you think their acronym is funny, you should see their logo.

It's Nambla but with a great big capital M next to a little b, symbolizing the adult M no doubt sodomizing the tiny b.

By Chemical Chris on 6/18/2008 3:18:48 PM , Rating: 2
Hate to nit pick, especially such a good post, but it was season 4, so, 8 years ago.....damn, I hate getting old :(

By FDisk City on 6/18/2008 9:56:18 AM , Rating: 5
Are you sure this is a real word? I looked it up in the dictionary and it just had a picture of Jack Thompson. Oh wait. That was a thesaurus. My bad.

What they should do...
By UppityMatt on 6/18/2008 11:11:19 AM , Rating: 2
They need to counter sue then for lost time, psychological damage, pain and suffering, court costs and lawyer fees...and anything else they can make up or claim. Hit the RIAA back!

RE: What they should do...
By sporr on 6/18/2008 3:10:49 PM , Rating: 2
I agree, the defendant should be able to sue the RIAA for damages and lost income, should they win.

RE: What they should do...
By Ticholo on 6/18/2008 4:25:41 PM , Rating: 2
RIAA's point here is that the people they sue don't get to win! They pull the cases before they get the chance!
RIAA should just be booted out of every court and see every case dismissed.
But, in reality, the people they target should just start suing them back for legal fees, time, any damages they can think of, etc. Not the most enticing of scenarios after being bullied around by them, but it needs to start happening in the majority of these cases.

RE: What they should do...
By flydian on 6/18/2008 10:06:17 PM , Rating: 2
mmm...punitive damages...

As outrageous as they usually are, sometimes they're the only thing that keeps these folks in line. I know if it were me, I'd be counter suing in a heartbeat.

P.S. I think this is a great example of the biggest problem in our legal system, both sides of it. But at least both sides have an option to file lawsuits that serve no real purpose other than to "teach the other guy a lesson", instead of the little guy getting completely screwed because they don't have as much money to waste.

RE: What they should do...
By Integral9 on 6/18/2008 4:32:14 PM , Rating: 2
Defendants shouldn't have to sue to get their damages back. That costs more money and time and then the defendants lawyers get an even larger check. It's not like the defendant asked for the suit. I think it should just be law that plaintiffs will pay all court costs, fees, etc. including the defendant's costs, etc upon loosing a case or in this case dropping it when the going got rough. I think it should apply to all turd-sandwiches out there, not just the RIAA.

Pyric victory or just defeat
By djc208 on 6/18/2008 9:36:57 AM , Rating: 2
Every time I see stuff like this I have to wonder if anyone in the RIAA has acutally stopped moaning about the revenue that might have been lost (sorry, I know how much you wanted that gold dolphin bar) do to this case long enough to figure out that they've probably spent 100 times that amount trying to find out who did it and make them pay.

Of course this is assuming the people who downloaded it from the account were actuall willing to pay for it if the opportunity to steal it hadn't been there.

RE: Pyric victory or just defeat
By bodar on 6/18/2008 3:34:34 PM , Rating: 2
Well their logic is that each suit is a deterrent against other people and if that 100x stops 1000x or 10,000x people from pirating, it's worth it.

They also know that the majority of people will despise them for it, but will still buy the albums anyway, they just won't be happy about it. They may buy less, but let's face reality here, just about every major artist belongs to the RIAA, and not just trashy pop bands either.

They'll continue to villainize everything/everyone that threatens their stranglehold on American music, and provide large campaign contributions to any politician who will further their agenda at our expense. Business as usual.

Also, FYI: it's spelled Pyhrric

Who should we sue?
By Wiggim on 6/18/2008 12:10:29 PM , Rating: 2
... and to file this Doe lawsuit to determine the identity of the true infringer.

So they are going to file a lawsuit in order to figure out who they should really be suing - And that's not an abuse of the court system? I think pirating should be encouraged so that artists will see what the RIAA is doing for them.

waste of time..
By root mean sq on 6/18/2008 6:12:51 PM , Rating: 2
step 1: sue john doe, i assume the ip addrss holder, get a name, drop first suit.

step 2: sue the name, realise it might be the wrong name, theres another name with the same initials, drop suit.

step 3: sue anyone in the household who's initials match?

step 4: ?????

step 5: music industry is saved!!!!

couldn't suits 1 and 2 have been avoided with a little investigation? the RIAA should be penalised for wasting the court's time.

"What would I do? I'd shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders." -- Michael Dell, after being asked what to do with Apple Computer in 1997
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