Preparing For Early Neutral Evaluation Conference

It’s amazing how no matter how many times you tell someone something, they don’t seem to “get it”. Someone called me letting me know they are preparing whatever paperwork they have to file for next weeks Early Neutral Evaluation Conference. They keep letting me know they are working on getting the issue settled.

But here’s the problem… It’s not about the money for me, it never was. I’ve already spent more in legal fees than what I could have settled for.

I will never sign any sort of admission that I did anything (since I didn’t) in exchange for them to drop it. There is nothing the MPAA/Universal Studios could say or do that will make me settle (I wouldn’t settle for $1). I know technically I can’t prevent them from dropping the case, but if I could, I would force it to go to a full trial with final judgement. As far as I’ve been able to research, out of the tens of thousands of RIAA and MPAA lawsuits, not a single one has gone to a final judgement. Does that seem odd to anyone else? (If anyone knows differently, please let me know.)

The bottom line is I would gladly prefer to spend whatever it takes out of my own pocket, rather than just hand over the $2,500 in extortion money they wanted. Regardless of the money spent, there is always a way to indirectly recoup the costs. For example paid advertising displayed to people reading about my case (which at this point is well over 100,000 people, and we haven’t even really begun). Another idea I had was why not put together a website where people could use it to defend themselves from the RIAA and MPAA lawsuits. The only reason people settle with them is because they can’t afford the cost of going to court. Maybe put together a site that generates all the filings/forms they need to defend themselves for a couple hundred bucks or something. BTW, if any lawyer(s) want to do a joint venture on something like that, please let me know.

More info on this whole case can be found over here.

Update

For everyone asking how to contact me in the comments, my email is shawn at this domain. Please put MPAA in the subject so I know I will see it (I get way too much email).

161 thoughts on “Preparing For Early Neutral Evaluation Conference”

  1. Beat them up! Don’t mind me asking, but wouldn’t it be easier to buy the movie if you have money? I strongly support you all the way! Hope you win and embarrass them!

  2. They need a loss in court, and a judgement for the accused. I’m watching this closely, and hope your lawyers will aggressively defend you. A protracted lawsuit is not in the RIAA gameplan… and a win would encourage others to stop rolling over.

  3. Hey man, I wish you the best of luck with all of this. On behalf of everyone who’s pissed off at the RIAA/MPAA being assholes and taking advantage of the situation, we back you 110%. Please keep us up to date–we’re dying to hear what happens in the end!

    /salute

  4. i hope the ads on this site help with some of the cost, i clicked the ads so kick some ass for me now in court!

  5. you definately have my support here, can’t say it better than some of the people here already have.

    A website where RIAA and MPAA victims can come together I think would be absolutely wonderful and is exactly what the web needs. When data can be consolidated (within legal reasoning as to not hurt the victim even further) a believe a much stronger case could probably be made for it.

    If you had a tech person behind it, attached a forum, had a person or two on staff who’s decently versed in copyright law and up to date on the news, it would be a beautiful community effort and I truly believe it would soar.

    If can help out anyways let me know, i’d be more than happy to against these scumbags.

    kudos on having principles.

  6. Hey Shawn seriously if you win it will be a huge upset and one major win for consumers everywhere. Good luck!!

  7. If they drop the suit, then sue them for bringing a frivilous lawsuit: your offer being that they can 1) admit that the whole thing was frivilous & without legal merit and 2)to stop bringing these kinds of suits.

  8. I do quite a bit of trial work – 84 State Street, Boston – and offered to take on Patricia Santangelo but her attys have guided her into a different direction. If you’re really serious, just reply. BTW – look at F.R.Civ.P 41(a)(1)(ii) which applies in any case after a responsive pleading is filed – they have no right to voluntarily dismiss without your assent and signature. This is most definitely the case if you’ve filed a counterclaim of any sort. If you’re in state court, most rules of civil procedure have adopted some form of Rule 41. Good luck whatever you decide to do!

  9. I’m glad someone stood up this a-hole, because If had the money would have too…. good luck and I know you going to win hehe.

  10. Dude. You are a legend! Someone needs to stand up to these corporate bastards. I give you best of luck and will click ads regularly.

    I hope you kick their ass. If you win, counter-sue for all they got!

  11. Rock On – U Rule!

    The R.I.A.A.K.K.K. can look forward to diminished returns on their bullying tactics if they continue to alienate music fans with their failure to adapt to 21st century sales and marketing changes.

    Its just too bad that not ALL R.I.A.A.K.K.K. victims have the deep pockets necessary to fight back since the U.$. court systems are all about who has the money. . . .

  12. I don’t and won’t pay to download commercialized music. There is so much good stuff out there by independent artists that need listening to – why does everyone flock to the labels’ offerings?
    — Anyhoo – I suggest you set up a way for the public to make donations to your defense. I understand that you have money to defend yourself, but the message would be a whole lot stronger if 100, 1000, 10000 people all gave a $ to stick it to the corporations.
    — Good luck!

  13. What will you do if they drop the case? You’d be out all those legal fees. Is there a way to get them to pay the legal fees if they don’t plan on pushing this all the way through?

  14. Why not put up a paypal donation link. Even if you don’t need all the money, anything extra can be used to subsidize other cases.

  15. “Looks like the neighborhood bully picked a fight with Chuck Norris.”

    “-whoop that trick!
    –git em’!”
    -hustle and flow

  16. I’d be glad to help with the technical end of a website with forums. I’m very technically-minded, so if you’d like examples or a resume or something, just let me know.

  17. Eh, cancel that message… I just looked at your blog and realized you’re fairly well technically minded yourself.

  18. Good on you man, make sure you point out that there claim “non profit” is a total bullshit ! They make like heaps of all there bullcrap lawsuits, I’m so glad bands are starting to ditch the companies and make there music free ๐Ÿ˜€

  19. Good luck with the case, hope you win this. It might teach the RIAA and MPAA a lesson not to pick on every person by poking their finger at a random name in a phonebook.

  20. Good on you, nice to see someone who holds a sence of right and wrong over the almighty dollar. Is it any wonder your lawyers can’t understand what you’re doing?

  21. Wow! This is sweet! Go for the gold.. their gold. You know as citizens we are still the ones in power? In fact we can vote the MPAA, RIAA, Whatever-AA illegal and split them up and force them to compete against each other and pass insane rules to restrict any future/current/past actions. It is not right for them to extort; we must all do our part to make these organizations illegal and pay for their actions.

  22. I really appreciate your stand on this and to be quite honest I aspire to be in your position. If I ever have the money to do so, one of the many things I would like to do is open several service industries such as an isp, wireless carrier, cable company, etc., and lower the consumer costs where the company only breaks even and makes no profit. Of course I’d probably have to charge more initially to get approval from the FCC and other powers that be, but eventually I would like to do this.

    As for your story, I’m glad the MPAA finally picked on the person that can afford to put the bully in its place. I wish you the best through this ordeal and you should know a large chunk of the world is with you on this.

  23. Sounds like they picked the wrong guy to mess with. Good for you, man… take em to the cleaners. If you haven’t already, I’d suggest reaching out to foundations like the EFF for some courtroom ammo.

    Good luck… may the force be with you.

  24. When the RIAA has no idea of the collective-collaberation power of the internet.

    If they piss off enough people, they will be in very big trouble.
    Imagine hundereds or thousands of very skilled, highly motivated people communicating in real time to make life hard for them.

    Things like dynamic collective blacklists that automatically lock the RIAA out of the internet, or large collective boycotts.

  25. Everyone has your back, keep at it. The MPAA/RIAA are a business in themselves, wanting to make money through easy means. They are not recouping for their losses, they are profiteering.

  26. you have muchos cahones! Good luck pal, kick there asses!! Sue them for wasting everyones time too – including people who arent involved but have to hear about it on the news ๐Ÿ™‚

  27. I wish you the best of luck. This may just be the “Gettysburg” of the fight against frivolous suits by the MPAA. Again I wish you best of luck ๐Ÿ˜‰

  28. Do it, do it, do it. Way to go. These guys are thugs hanging on to shreds of an old idea of copyright; in the case of those who are innocent of their charges, it is even worse. The people are behind you.

  29. It’s about time someone stood up to them. Way to go, everyone has your back 100% for this. I hope you destroy them in court. Good Luck!

  30. I wish you well on this issue. I DO NOT like bullies, legal, positional, or physical. With lawyer’s fees of $200 or more per hour you are hurting them in their pocketbook, that is for certain. I wish I could offer financial support. This posting is the best that I can do. I found that when dealing with bullies that they always look for easy prey–when the prey bites back then they will rethink their strategy. With the internet and bloggs the sharing of information is a major problem for bullies like these.

  31. If you do take it to a final decision and it is decided in your favour this could also set a precident and make it easier for others right back against them

  32. Stay the course. Continue to make the path for others to find safe passage for these vultures who prey on the weak.

    Semper Fi.

  33. This is how it should be, someone sticking up for the rest of us. Take them on and maybe they’ll think that there should be other distribution models and approaches to the medium. Thanks

  34. I just paid off my $4,250 RIAA settlement- I hope their crooked industries crash and burn. The scumbags pushing this kind of extortion, and using the US Court system to strongarm college students and single mothers, deserve nothing less than jail. Give them hell, I only wish I could have afforded to make the statement you are going to make.

  35. awesome man, thank you for doing this. we need someone who can fight back for the rest of us that can’t. good luck.

  36. If you are willing to spend up to $1 mill, just hire some terrorists to assasinate the prosecuting lawyers, for $250k you can hire the best assassins, by number 2 I think they will back off or at least there won’t be any smart lawyers willing to take a case against you.

  37. I am currently being sued by the MPAA for running at BitTorrent tracker at http://www.niteshdw.com . I’m in exactly the same situation. I can barely pay my monthly bills, let alone pay for legal counsel or even a settlement. Right now, I’m really stuck between a potentially huge judgement against me (losing in court), or settling the case at $100 a month for 3 years. What can you do?

  38. this would be a bad ass idea ( probably better than just ads.. )::

    PUT up a paypal donate link on here! you’ll get more money from one donation than a bunch of ads

  39. Your the man, do whats right! don’t be falsely accused of something. You should put a advertisement on Google/Yahoo/MSN or something about what you need to help you, I bet with all the web searching people will do that someone will see your advert and click it and could tend to help you in anyway. Good luck, do it for yourself, and for the future of people who are falsely accused.

  40. I think a website that helps people take on the RIAA/MPAA via downloadable forms and isntructions so they can fight it for alot less money would be brilliant.

    How do we contact Shawn? I can’t seem to find his information.

  41. Finally someone who is actually going to do this. If there is anything us as a community can do to help, let us know! I am so excited about this prospect b/c it is now that this legal battle needs to take place. We need to stop this monopoly before they choke-hold the market like Microsoft attempts to do.

    Please keep posing here to alert more supporters!

  42. I don’t know you, and you don’t know me, but I wish you Godspeed in the battle against the RIAA/MPAA.

  43. You’re about to become a real hero! Go for it, so many vicitims of the RIAA are looking up to you!

  44. Rock on dude. Just make sure you do this right. Get your attornies on the same page as you.

    ‘Cause if this does go to final judgement, and you lose, it sets precedant against anyone else who might be even more innocent than you.

    So in closing, rock on, good luck, you’ve got our support.

  45. Good going man, you’re an inspiration. Now get some adsense on here, a paypal donation link and start recouping your losses.

  46. Give’em heck. I hope you win. Just in case, however, I believe I read an article a few days ago that said a court had ruled that the ‘accused’ can only be held accountable for ‘actual’ damages. Not the trumped up figures that the *AA have been using.

    Again best of luck

  47. Let me know where to send the resume when you start hiring ๐Ÿ™‚ (web/app UI, usability, Web 2.0 type guy)

    Yours is a great cause and I would do the same, had I the necessary “$kills”.

    All the best!

  48. I just signed a 6 figure deal for a big movie coming out in 2007. If I get paid before this thing goes to court, you have all of it.

    ALL OF IT. Period.

    Use it for whatever you need, just promise me you will devote every waking hour to taking down the RIAA and MPAA. This bullshit extortion needs to be stopped. I am thrilled that someone is finally stepping up and saying NO.

    How will it look when their own artists are turning against them? They aren’t protecting us! They haven’t stopped piracy! We haven’t seen a CENT from the millions of dollars they have strong-armed out of people who’s settlements are more than they see in several months pay combined. That is sick and twisted. The RI/MPAA execs who thought this whole thing up should be jailed.

    Want to make it visceral? Just think about the execs sitting back in their office laughing at what a brilliant move they have made to supplement their falling income. Just think about it for a second. They fail to provide a good product and fail to change with the times. Their profits drop and as a result they start suing thousands of people, more than half of which probably didn’t even download anything.

    My brother’s neighbor is TERRIFIED that he is going to get sued. He has 4 children and they all discovered kazaa and downloaded a few songs before he could put a stop to it. He dreads getting the mail each day because he knows that one of these days, the riaa is gonna get desperate and sue him for his daughter downloading “Lady marmalade”. He is a single parent, and a perfect target for riaa strong-arming. This is horror you can’t even explain. That makes me ill.

    We need lawyers and people with expendable income to band together and take these suckers out. A phoenix will rise from the ashes, and hopefully, a (new) mp/riaa will change for the good.

    My dream, is a settlement that forces the MPAA and RIAA to pay back every cent they have extorted over the past years. Let’s work for that.

  49. This is totally awesome. I started out sorta understanding the RIAA position on downloaded music. Afterall, we have to pay for the intellectual rights of the artist’s efforts.

    I however, think it is the slimiest thing to do to sue kids and their parents. Give it to them good, you have my full support.

    In the meantime, I’ve gone from spending $1200 a year on cd’s to nothing, nil, nadda, zip. I’m letting everyone know about this as well.

    You are a modern day hero.

  50. Best luck to you.

    I don’t normally post on these things, but I do want to show that I would not only stand behind what your saying, I would love to participate….Please keep us updated!

  51. Fight the power brother. They’re nothing but bothersome assholes. It’s about time someone decided to stand up to these people.

  52. Shawn, I think you’re living out a lot of geeks dreams here. I would also love to see this go all the way through to final judgement. Would love to see the real case that they make for themselves and how any presiding judge could justify it.

  53. Dude, do eet… I wish i had the funding, and such to have been sue’d

    Neither of whichi have.. but i would do the same if i could.. much love, good luck and godspeed.

  54. You RULE! Fight those money grubbing ********!

    P.S. You need a paypal donation link, a lot of us would be willing to give a little $$$ to help out.

    P.S.S. You made Digg. That itself is pretty big.

  55. Add a PayPal link to your site for micro payments/contributions. I’m sure a lot of people would kick in a few bucks to see you go three rounds with those highway robbers. I know I would.

  56. Stick it to the man! I’m Canadian so (as far as I know, I can legally download music) But none the less it always irks me to read about people being sued when there are extra taxes on anything that can be used for ‘illegal music’ (iPods, HardDrives, Burnable CDs/DVDs, etc etc) I really hope they clue in after this one that they can’t just be the bully and spin a wheel “Who will we sue this week” I think previous cases I’ve read about show enough evidence that their way of finding people is far less than reliable (Eg, the dead person, or the one that doesn’t even own a computer…) Best of luck dude, you know you have the world(Except Riaa) watching your back. Viva La Revolution ๐Ÿ˜‰

  57. thanks you. your doing a huge favor to this world. i hope the riaa and mpaa get what they deserve

  58. You ARE THE MAN!!! GO!!! in fact you have touch a sensible question why doesn t anyone, wenยดt the all 9 yards whit RIAA, court is expensive in fact here in Portugal RIAA has just arrive advertising in the television newspaper heaven giving conferences the fines go to 5.000 euros or 5.000 dollars us
    people are scared …..

    Just leave everyone here we pay for internet no matter what the service you always pay why do we pay 50 dollars for 8 megas download speed internet if we can t download nothing???? why would i want 20 gigas of traffic if i canยดt use it????

    Iยดm lucky because my country is very retarded our laws are old and thy can t just supine us …….. etc….

    GO ON MAN!!!! GOOD LUCK HERE IN PORTUGAL WE HARE ON YOUR SIDE!!!!!

  59. Ah. Since this is a landmark case for them, think of their cost of their lawyers right now. Now think about what it would have cost them overall if they lose.

    Best of luck. ๐Ÿ˜€

  60. What people dont understand is the money does not goto the artist… The money they get from you goes to them…

    There is no reason for them to sue you, artists dont like people downloading thier songs. I understand that.. But you will NEVER stop piracy… Look at hacking when it first started. Look how it went underground with bbs boards, finally you just give up and accept the fact that people will download music/movies…
    The thing you must relise is that if you are a artist and you find out your songs are mass downloaded, you will be mad, thats your hard work… But also your true fans will purchase your music…

    I download music, if I like it, I buy the album. If I like the movie I will buy it… If I like the software and think that the author(s) deserve the money then I will buy it…

    Even if you are in the industry to make money and dont care about fans… There will be true fans.. Alot of them… Which means you get money… Music has always been downloaded, it has just gotten publicity now… All the publicity has made it worse. Drop all the controversy of downloading music and eventually people will forget about it and just buy the cds/movies.

  61. dude your the man, start a paypal donation link…its bootleg but still man you’d definetely get more then enough support, I would definetely be down for donating money. FUCK RIAA, FUCK MPAA, AND FUCK METALLICA ESPECIALLY LARS that little bitch

  62. Dear sir,
    You are a defender of freedom, and the rights of the individual. I wish you the best of luck, and just remember, this is bigger than yourself. You could really make a difference for the greater good.
    Go fuck them up!

  63. Hey Shawn!

    Thanks for using your ample resources to stand up to such bullies and help less economically capable individuals fight agaist the RIAA. I wholeheartedly respect your resolve.

  64. Sir,
    Usually, I wouldn’t think sueing over music could be considered patriotic, but the circumstances involved in your case are clear. You’re taking the RIAA Mafia to court for making the lives of thousands of Americans miserable by enforcing absurd copyright laws with maximum force. What you’re doing is forcing the RIAA and it’s ilk to come to terms with the new business conditions that the Internet has created. I’m sure that I speak for a majority of Americans, and computer-literate people across the world, when I say ‘thank you’ for this service.
    Also, please counter-sue, those pig-fuckers need to have the lesson drilled into their collective skull with a litigation-powered jackhammer.

  65. What he should be counter suing for is Metal physical stress, court fees, lost wages , and really anythng else u could possibly think of.

    Then make them an offer or threatin them to make court as long as possible which will cost them so much cause of ther expensive lawyers.

    I think the plan should be to make these fuckers go broke or to the point where its not worth it to them to pursue anymore cases.

    Cause if there asking for 2500 in settle ment then make them spend 20000 on lawyers and whatever else exspenses they might have so they are the ones losing.

    The reason they use scare tactics to get money out of is because they KNOW they’ll never win, why do think they always want the settle ment ??

    CAUSE NO JUDGE IS GONNA AWARD THEM WHAT THERE DEMANDING AND PROBABLY HAVE NO PHYSICAL PROOF OTHER A USER NAME AND A IP which will mean nothing to the average person PLUS how many ppls kids u think dload music think there gonna award them what they want in fear that it could happen to someone you know because chances are no matter who you are you know someone dloading something

    Thats why they will never win and eventually somone is gonna clue into there tactics which seem barley legal anyways

    BECAUSE that means I could threatin to take someon to court and cost them more money then I say if they give me I wont take them to court NOT GONNA WORK so why should it for them.

    SO since you are blessed with the money to put these goofs in there place I truly HOPE you succed

    good luck to you my freind

    P.S. the only other proof they could possibly obtain would be by hacking your personla computer WHICH is ILLEGAL

    AND also most ppl have random ips all the time so HOW can they prove that that was your random Ip at anygivin time

  66. O and thats why they wont go after ppl with low income because they will most likely have a court appointed lawyer if they cant afford one NOT completly sure about that tho since its not lke a crimanal case or what have not to sure how that works tho but makes sense to me.

  67. Damn straight. The whole organization deserves to die off for what it has done. The purpose of the music industry it to SERVE its customers, not bankrupt them. Good luck and give ’em hell!

  68. It’s encouraging to see this virtually-unanimous sentiment propagating throughout the world. Best of luck to you with the case!

    Don’t you folks find it amusing that the only two opposing replies (above this one) appear to have been posted by a couple of spastics? Haha! I mean, there’s a massive collection of comments here which outline a number of interesting viewpoints, but rather than attempting some thought-provoking retort, these two nonners (and many others like them around the net) just fire off a round of:

    “hey, u! Y3r, uh, lyke, uh.. fuckin…stupid head or somethin, an, uh, y…yer gonna go to mm k…like, you man.. your gonna go to jail and sh…an shit man! You poo head dumm thief poop!”

    Brilliant! Yup, those fellas sound like a couple of real prodigies!

    Mwahahahahahahahahaaaaa!!!

  69. Looks like this is going to be a pretty high profile case so if you need a body guard to escort you to the Neutral evaluation conference just let me know. I will also give you a ride to the courthouse in this armored maybach armored Maybach!

  70. Shawn, If the RIAA are in fact willing to take this to trial, then I would under all circumstances be vigilant. If they are afraid of the outcome and un-honorable as they have already proven themselves to be – I would not put it past them that they would have no problem “taking it to the mattresses”. If you are in need of security and protection, Me and my men got your six! The RIAA have money and money to them means “they make their own laws”. Just an offer. Need protection? You’ve got it! Hang in there soldier, you’re doing great!

  71. Even if they withdraw the case, can’t you then turn around and start a fresh lawsuit as a class-action suit, joined with anyone else who has been sued in their extortion scheme? Basically sue them for wrongful prosecution or something similar? As a class-action suit, you could even team up with lawyers from the EFF, ACLU, etc. and really get some attention for this, as well as burn them hard enough to stop them from doing this to anyone else…

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