CHICAGO, ILLINOIS (August 10, 2006) Individuals who have
settled with the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA)
beware. The RIAA either has developed a new tactic of harassment
or has failed to conduct due diligence in maintaining its records
of those individuals with whom it has settled. In short, the RIAA,
through its most recent national counsel Holme Roberts & Owen
LLP, has begun to issue threatening letters claiming never to have
received settlement funds from those who paid the RIAAs former
counsel nearly three years ago.
In July 2006, Charles Lee Mudd, Jr. received two letters
from Donald Kelso of Holme Roberts & Owen LLP attempting to
collect the debt allegedly owed by two of his former clients. Specifically,
the letters claimed that the record companies with whom his clients
settled (effectively, the RIAA) had not received settlement payment
and threatened to initiate collection proceedings unless the Record
Companies received what, in effect, would amount to a second
Despite contacting and speaking with Donald Kelso
to explain the RIAAs error, Mr. Mudd received a phone call
nearly two weeks later from the RIAAs settlement information
line (identified as PSC Group LLC) demanding to know why compliance
had not yet been made with the terms of the settlement agreements.
In fact, Mr. Mudds efforts to again explain the RIAAs
errors were ignored as the RIAA representative began to notify him
of what would happen should his clients fail to comply. In the end,
Mr. Mudd instructed the RIAA representative to speak to Donald Kelso
and the RIAAs former counsel to resolve the discrepancies
internally as his clients had fully complied with all terms of the
Am I surprised by this recent tactic of the
RIAA? No. Since 2003, I have instructed my clients to send the settlement
agreements and payments to my attention so that I could then send
it to the RIAAs attorneys. I did so to protect my clients
from this very circumstance, said Charles Lee Mudd, Jr. Evidently,
from my observations over the past three years, the RIAA does not
care about due diligence. It fails to investigate the individuals
whom it has sued prior to imposing extortive settlement demands.
It does not care about families mitigating circumstances.
It fails to recognize when it has sued the wrong individuals. It
seeks what constitute unconstitutional statutory damages. And now,
it obviously fails to care whether it has received and deposited
settlement payments before sending threatening collection notices
to individuals who have previously settled with it.
Charles Lee Mudd, Jr. does not see any end to this type of conduct.
Until the courts consistently require the RIAA to meet pleading
and evidentiary standards, and until Congress recognizes that the
RIAAs tactics have harmed and continue to harm hard-working,
well-intentioned, law-abiding families, the RIAAs tactics
will continue unabated, including the continuing harassment of those
individuals who have, reluctantly and out of necessity, paid it
thousands of dollars years ago.
Charles Lee Mudd, Jr. has represented individuals
sued by the RIAA since the beginning of its en masse litigation
initiative against alleged file-sharers in the second half of 2003.
During the past three years, he has represented more than 80 individuals
finding themselves at the mercy of the RIAAs settlement demands.
He has been interviewed on National Public Radio (NPR), in Rolling
Stone Magazine, and numerous other electronic and print publications
throughout the United States. He co-sponsored with the Electronic
Frontier Foundation (EFF) the First Annual P2P Litigation Summit
held in Chicago, Illinois in November 2005. He continues to represent
individuals who have no choice but to settle with the RIAA out of
financial necessity and who have decided to defend themselves against
the unjust and legally unsound efforts of the RIAA.
For more information, contact:
Charles Lee Mudd, Jr.
Mudd Law Offices
3114 W. Irving Park Road Suite 1W
Chicago, Illinois 60618
773 588 5410
773 588 5440