p2p news / p2pnet: At the beginning of February, in Recording Industry vs The People, Ray Beckerman pointed out that hired legal guns Shook Hardy & Bacon were no longer the Big Four Organized Music cartel’s sue ‘em all representatives.
It seems even S, H&B, who made their bones defending Big Tobacco, couldn’t stomach the music industry, or its RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America).
The job of suing innocent men, women and children for the non-existent ‘crime’ of sharing music online, is now in the hands of Colorado’s Holme Roberts & Owen but, “If the RIAA thinks that by changing attorneys it can somehow alter the self destructive nature of this litigation onslaught, it is mistaken,” posted Beckerman, continuing:
“If, on the other hand, the change in attorneys signals a change in philosophy and tone, and that present lawsuits will be discontinued, and that lawsuits will only be brought where (a) there is clear evidence of an actual copyright infringement by a defendant, and (b) there has been an unsuccessful good faith attempt to obtain a cease and desist agreement, then this will be a positive development.
“But if the pit bull tactics of the RIAA’s predecessor counsel are continued unabated by the new counsel, this will accomplish nothing except further damage the recording industry, and wreak havoc in people’s lives.”
Now, somewhat belatedly, “Our contract with them [the RIAA] ran out, and they have moved on to a new firm,” the Kansas City Business Journal has Trent Webb, chairman of Shook’s intellectual property litigation practice group, saying.
“The file-sharing cases targeting online music piracy are a potential cash cow for firms capable of handling them,” says the story.
“Two defense lawyers said Shook typically demanded about $4,000 per defendant to settle them, and an RIAA spokeswoman said it has pursued 18,000 separate defendants.
“But the cases, filed in dozens of states, can be expensive to manage: Shook hired a subcontractor to operate a phone bank handling inquiries about the cases, and defense lawyers said the firm may have spent thousands of dollars pursuing judgments against defendants with little money.”
The story neglects to mention that not one of the more than 18,000 victims, who include school children, has yet appeared in court to answer the Big Four’s civil copyright infringement claims.
In florid, dinsingenuous press releases, Warner Music, EMI, Vivendi Universal and Sony BMG, who are themselves under investigation at both the federal and state levels, call the people they’re suing “criminals” and “thieves” although no crime has been committed and nothing has been stolen.
Patti Santangelo, a New York mother of five, is the first of the 18,000 to stand up to the multi-billion-dollar labels.
Or mail your contribution to:
C/O PO Box 274
New York 10530-0274
pointed out – RIAA Changing Law Firms?, February 1, 2006
Kansas City Business Journal – Shook lets RIAA deal play out, March 13, 2006
solely supported – Patti Santangelo fund nears $11.5K, March 5, 2006