RIAA lawyers bully witnesses into perjury http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20051230-5871.html
12/30/2005 1:35:16 PM, by Anders Bylund If you're into reading legal proceedings verbatim, here's a doozy for you. It gets even better if you like to see RIAA lawyers dragging themselves, rather than their chosen targets, through the dirt. Let's get a feel for what's going on here: In Motown v. Nelson, pending in federal court in Port Huron, Michigan (Eastern District of Michigan, Southern Division), the defendants -- Mr. and Mrs. Nelson -- have made a motion for attorneys fees against the RIAA attorneys, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 1927 for unreasonable and vexatious litigation and improperly interfering and/or obtaining false testimony from a prospective witness. Got all that? Good. For the rest of us, here's what it means. The RIAA sued the Nelsons, who in turn are basically asking for the case to be dismissed and their legal fees reimbursed, because the RIAA lawyers got the testimonies they wanted from some witnesses through coercion and/or extortion. The transcript of the deposition that followed this motion gives us a glimpse into exactly how far the recording industry is willing to go to justify their crusade against file sharing. It's also very long, so I'll just give you a taste here: Q. What other areas do you feel that Mr. Krichbaum put words in your mouth? A. I don't remember any specifically. Just trying to get me to say that Angie and Jim or I had ripped the music off. [...] Q. It wasn't true. And you felt that Mr. Krichbaum was trying to get you to say something that wasn't true? A. Yes. Q. And did he get you to say something that wasn't true? A. From the statement I read, yes. Ms. Granado went on to testify that Mr. Krichbaum had urged her to provide false and inaccurate testimony with regard to the entire portion of her original testimony implicating the Nelsons. Q. Did he tell you why he needed you to stick with your original false story? A. Because he said he didn't have a case unless I did. Q. So, he told you that he didn't have a case unless you stuck with the original false story? A. Yes. This is a 15-year-old girl, telling the story of how lawyers of a major industry group told her she had to commit perjury, just so they could win their case. Some might call that racketeering, and it's most certainly a highly illegal way to win a court case. The deposition strongly suggests that the RIAA knew they didn't have a leg to stand on, and that they were perfectly happy to do anything in their power to win anyway. Funny how rather than open their own wallets to settle, they prefer breaking the law themselves. (Cue Radiohead's Karma Police. On second thought, don't. I'll get sued for not paying license fees.) In response, counsel for Mr. Nelson then asked Plaintiffs' representative to provide a factual and legal basis for its position. Plaintiffs' representative responded that 'It didn't matter, someone is going to be responsible and someone is going to have to pay.' Plaintiffs' representative further threatened that unless Mr. Nelson paid $4,000.00 immediately, his client authorized him to conduct extensive discovery which would only increase the amount that he would eventually owe. Nice. We've known all along that it's all thud and blunder, a wave of scare tactics meant to force the small folks to settle in the face of bigwig lawyers dropping of intimidating subpoenas. Sometimes they're obviously just guessing, and all they're doing is forcing the actual file sharers further underground where they're harder to find, which leads to the next round of lawsuits hitting an even lower ratio of bad guys to innocent people. They're way out of feet in which to shoot themselves, and if albums sales drop a little, maybe it's because they're scaring away their own customers. Or, more likely, they're simply proving time and time again at this is an industry that doesn't deserve our business. You are a subscribed member of the infowarrior list. Visit www.infowarrior.org for list information or to unsubscribe. This message may be redistributed freely in its entirety. Any and all copyrights appearing in list messages are maintained by their respective owners.