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The RIAA's days of getting guilty verdicts rubber stamped is at an end.  (Source:
The RIAA loses a precedent-setting case, Interscope v. Rodriguez, in Southern California.

A judge in Southern California made no friends in the RIAA when she handed down a precedent-setting verdict that cleared the defendant all charges in the case Interscope v. Rodriguez.

Since the early days of P2P file-sharing the RIAA has made a questionable name for itself as a legal bulldog, issuing thousands of lawsuits against individuals each year. 

Typically the RIAA accused these individuals of downloading and/or distributing copyrighted works.  These statements often were followed by little evidence and sometimes came against people that had no apparent access to a computer.

One such case occurred in 2005 when the RIAA took up a case against 83-year-old deceased great-grandmother in West Virginia.  The RIAA was unaware that the woman had passed away in December, 2004.  Ironically, her daughter testified that her mother did not ever own a computer, and had no access to one.

After the case gained national attention, the RIAA issued the foot-in-mouth reply, "Our evidence gathering and our subsequent legal actions all were initiated weeks and even months ago.  We will now, of course, obviously dismiss this case."

Since then the RIAA has continued to take individuals to court, many of whom settled out of court privately, for thousands of dollars.

The Interscope v. Rodriguez was considered a typical RIAA case “boilerplate” complaint.  The RIAA accused the defendant, Yolanda Rodriguez, of downloading and distributing copyrighted works, but did not offer any specific evidence or proof of its claims.

As the defendant did not present himself in court, a default judgment ruling was held.  The presiding judge, Judge Brewster, shocked the RIAA by not only denying a default monetary judgment, but also completing dismissing the case for failure to state a claim.

Judge Brewster is on record as stating:
"Plaintiff here must present at least some facts to show the plausibility of their allegations of copyright infringement against the Defendant.
However, other than the bare conclusory statement that on “information and belief” defendant has downloaded, distributed and/or made available for distribution to the public copyrighted works, plaintiffs have presented no facts that would indicate this allegation is anything more than speculation.

The complaint is simply a boilerplate listing of the elements of copyright infringement without any facts pertaining specifically to the instant Defendant.

The Court therefore finds that the complaint fails to sufficiently state a claim upon which relief can be granted and entry of default judgment is not warranted."
This is a landmark ruling, as new defendants will now have some legal precedent and successful framework to challenge the RIAA in court.

The RIAA has made a name for itself by continually coming up with creative new ways of trying to make money of music listeners, via litigation and marketing gimmicks.  It has tried everything from lawsuits, to "ringles" its new ringtone-single campaign, to make up for falling record sales.

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RE: Wow
By SunAngel on 9/14/2007 4:26:10 PM , Rating: -1
Obviously, it was the ISPs that prevented the RIAA from getting the information they needed to prosecute the deceased grandmother. Surely, had they not been blocked, they would have dismissed the lawsuit against the grandmother and brought it against the true user of the infringing computer. I am quite certain, in the future, once they get proof of the infringing MAC address it will be alot easier to get a local search warrant and prosecute "the owners".

I've found its a lot easier, and safer to purchase unlimited radio service like Yahoo! Music. No fuss no mess no worries.

RE: Wow
By HrilL on 9/14/2007 5:37:43 PM , Rating: 5
yeah and MAC address cloning is really hard? Get real. How would the ISP block the RIAA when the lady didn't even own a computer? No computer = no ISP...

RE: Wow
By othercents on 9/14/2007 5:38:35 PM , Rating: 3
You mean you actually use your real MAC address on the internet? I usually fake one by using the MAC address from the school library computers. It would be dumb to use your own.


RE: Wow
By FNG on 9/14/2007 6:07:56 PM , Rating: 3
What's the difference? I think for many individuals the MAC address seen by an ISP is that of the ISP provided bridge or modem. The modem may have logs, but then you make the claim that your wireless router is unprotected...

RE: Wow
By SiliconAddict on 9/15/2007 12:44:40 AM , Rating: 4
Sun if you are going to smoke RIAA pole please go get a damn room. The general public of the internet really doesn't need to watch.

RE: Wow
By mindless1 on 9/15/2007 1:30:41 AM , Rating: 2
No, for the purposes of evidence that is no more damning than the ISP tying a particular IP # to an account owner for this same period of time. By the same token the ISP would have to tie the MAC address to the IP # to the account owner, so you are actually just adding yet another layer of complexity that obfuscates origin.

In other words, MAC address has no useful purpose it is an irrelevant detail that you supposed mattered somehow.

"I'd be pissed too, but you didn't have to go all Minority Report on his ass!" -- Jon Stewart on police raiding Gizmodo editor Jason Chen's home
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