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Appeals court determines original judge was wrong to dismiss the case

The music industry is most known for the willy-nilly sue everyone antics of the RIAA as it sought to stamp out piracy. During the heyday of the suits, the RIAA sued people that were dead, kids, and many others with little or no proof that they had actually done anything wrong.

The massive legal assault on suspected music pirates led to some notable victories by the music industry such as the 2008 legal victory for the industry that set a precedent for people who made music available on file sharing sites. There was a significant case where the people charged the music industry with wrongdoing for a change.

In October of 2008, a district judge in New York dismissed a case brought against defendants including Bertelsmann AG, EMI Group, Sony Corp, Vivendi SA and Warner Music Group Corp and various affiliates of these music companies. The U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York has now ruled that the judge on the original 2008 case was in error when he dismissed the suit.

The suit alleges that the defendants named in the original case had conspired together to fix the price of music sold online. The suit also alleged that the defendants limited the availability of downloaded music in violation of antitrust law, specifically a violation of the Sherman Act.

Christopher Lovell, legal representation for the plaintiffs, said, "There was uncertainty in the law over the standards for pleading a price-fixing conspiracy. This decision goes a long way toward clarifying what the standard requires in a way that helps people who paid allegedly conspiratorial prices for digital music."

Lovell is looking to turn the original suit into a class action and feels that the outcome of the case could affect millions by consolidating 28 different state and federal cases from 2005 to 2006. According to the plaintiffs in the case, the named music industry companies conspired to fix the price of a song at wholesale at 70 cents.

Circuit Judge Robert Katzmann wrote that assuming allegations were true there was "enough factual matter" to allow the case to go forward. One key statement that Katzmann pointed out was an assessment by a commenter that "nobody in their right mind" would use services like MusicNet and Pressplay – those are two of the music services ran by the defendants in the case. The judge felt that some sort of agreement for a price floor between the music industry players would have been needed to make those services viable.





"You can bet that Sony built a long-term business plan about being successful in Japan and that business plan is crumbling." -- Peter Moore, 24 hours before his Microsoft resignation
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