Wednesday, July 30, 2008

RIAA v. Almost 30,000 People

Ray Beckerman is a redoubtable and remarkable New York lawyer who has made it his mission to stop the RIAA's mass litigation campaign, which has now victimized almost 30,000 ordinary people, ranging from a 12 year girl living in subsidized housing to a dead grandmother. He has published an excellent article in the ABA's The Judges’ Journal, Volume 47, Number 3, Summer 2008. This is a journal that is read by the American judiciary.

Of relevance to Canada, he points out at the outset that:
The courts of other countries—notably the Netherlands and Canada—are not clogged with these cases for the simple reason that they were quick to recognize the paucity of the RIAA’s evidence and refused to permit the identities of Internet subscribers to be disclosed to the record companies.
It was the leadership of CIPPIC, who I was proud to represent, and the principled opposition mostly by Shaw but also of Telus that led to the successful resistance at the outset to a similar campaign in Canada. Canada was fortunate to have had the PIPEDA privacy legislation in place and and a federal judiciary with the wisdom and the will to dispense justice in the BMG litigation at both the trial level and the appellate level.

One should be very skeptical about Canadian music industry claims that there is no intention to sue ordinary individuals in Canada. There was certainly a major effort by CRIA involving three prominent law firms to do so in 2004 - 2005 and there very likely will be renewed efforts at litigation against individuals for common place activity by CRIA and/or others if Bill C-61 is enacted as it now stands.

P.S. - Ray has posted an epilogue on some key developments since March, when the paper was essentially done.



  1. The CRIA has lobbied hard to make it easier to sue customers, the whole time stating they are not planning to do it. The question that the politicians need to ask that they are not is: Why are they pushing so hard to make it easier to sue, if they do not plan on doing it?

  2. Or even better - "if they have no intention of suing, why do they need to be able to do so ?".

  3. Well, it could be true non the less that they don't want to sue even though they make lobby to make it easier.

    While this sounds on the first view contradictory (sp?), it does indeed make sense if oyu just look a bit to the south how it is done there:

    Evil4 is NOT interested in suing, suing is just a needed requirement to get the names.
    What evil4 wants is that you give them money, much money WITHOUT that they first need to invest some themself for suing you. HRO has setup this "$3000, no courts, no questions ask" credit card payment site.
    And the CRIAA is very likely also interested in running a same kind of operation with you guys up in the north!

    they want your money, not sue you :-(