View Full Version : BEWARE! Download Lawsuits Filed on 5 in State

07-09-2007, 09:13 PM
Download Lawsuits Filed on 5 in State: One Oklahoman Says He Was Misled By Service

The Recording Industry Association of America has fired another shot at alleged online music pirates, filing lawsuits against five Oklahomans it claims have illegally downloaded copyrighted music off of peer-to-peer sites that let users swap music files.

Four people were named in lawsuits filed in the Federal District Court in Oklahoma City and one in the Northern District in Tulsa.

Named in the Oklahoma City lawsuits were Stephanie Smith, 313 Waterfront Drive, Norman; Brooke Vinje, 2704 NW 52 St., Lawton; Francisco Ramirez, 333 Main St., Woodward; and Jeff Wells, 2101 Hidden Valley Road, Edmond.

Named in the Tulsa lawsuit was Tony Lewis, 4836 S. Maybelle Ave., Tulsa.

A recording industry spokeswoman said that while the industry continues to pursue file-sharing businesses that promote illegal downloading such as LimeWire, individuals also must be held responsible.

"It has always been our first priority to go after the services that are encouraging this stuff online," spokeswoman Jenni Engebretsen said.

"At the same time, it is important that we simultaneously send a message to individuals that there are consequences for those actions."

One of the Oklahomans named in the lawsuit, Wells, said that he was misled by the file-sharing service Kazaa.

"Kazaa, on the front page of their Web site said 'file sharing is not illegal,' but apparently they were lying to their customers and there is a class-action lawsuit pending against Kazaa for misleading their customers," Wells said.

In his case, Wells said that the recording industry took action not because he was downloading music, but because it was uploaded from his computer to other users.

He said the Kazaa software allowed others to upload files from his computer without his knowledge.

The recording industry association offered a settlement to Wells of $4,100 to which he did not respond, Wells said.

"We've been in negotiations for six months, at least," he said.

Engebretsen said federal law permits assessment of up to $750 per song or recording illegally downloaded or shared up to a total of $150,000.

The lawsuits seek an injunction to halt further illegal downloading and requiring the defendants to destroy pirated copies, as well as unspecified damages and plaintiff's costs and attorneys fees.

The hot list of allegedly pirated music by Oklahomans ranges from rockabilly to alternative to classic rock and rap. Songs include Joni Mitchell's 1960s hit "Both Sides Now," Pink Floyd's "Another Brick in the Wall," Green Day's "Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)," Sinead O'Connor's "Emma's Song," Kenny Chestney's "How Forever Feels," Dr. Dre's "Bang Bang" and many others.

The recording industry is represented locally by Shawn E. Harrell and Charles L. McLawhorn II of McAfee & Taft, and Colin G. Martin of Gardere Wynne Sewell in Dallas.

Lawsuits also were filed in federal district courts against allege music pirates in Denver; Bridgeport and Hartford, Conn.; Wilmington, Del.; Washington, DC; Louisville, Ken.; Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minn.; Aberdeen, Jackson, and Oxford, Miss.; St. Joseph, Mo., and St. Louis; Lincoln and Omaha, Neb.; Las Vegas; Eugene, Medford, and Portland, Ore.; Providence, Rhode Island; Columbia, Knoxville, Memphis, Nashville, and Winchester, Tenn.; Seattle and Tacoma, Wash.; and Green Bay, Madison, Wis., and Milwaukee.

Before the latest batch of lawsuits was filed, the recording industry organization had sued 172 Oklahoma residents since September 2003, of whom 91 have settled.