Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 26th Aug 2011 22:06 UTC, submitted by Morgan
Legal And we have another contender for the stupidest technology-related lawsuit of 2011. Do you remember RealNetworks? The scourge of '90s web users? Lucky for us, their horrible media player is no longer a requirement on the web. Also lucky, for those of us who occasionally run into content encoded in any of Real's codecs, there's Real Alternative (download here). Well, apparently, RealNetworks is not happy with Real Alternative (download here), as the US company has completely destroyed the life of the Dutch maintainer of a website who dared to link to Real Alternative (download here).
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RE[3]: I just don't get it Thom
by steogede2 on Sat 27th Aug 2011 10:12 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: I just don't get it Thom"
steogede2
Member since:
2007-08-17

Not to defend the crime, but man versus corporation is not really balanced.


Just a reminder, this is a civil case. One of the reasons that most civilised countries provide public defenders in criminal cases is in recognition that the state is much more powerful and has more resources than te individual. Providing a public defender/legal aid protects the individuals right to a fair trial. Unfortunately few countries (I can't think of any*) offer the right to a fair trial in civil cases.

To everyone who says he 'stole' their IP: please remember that if he were accused of a crime then (in most civilised countries) the state would first decide if the prosecution was in the public interest. Then the state would provide him with a fair trial, including the means to defend himself. Then if he was convicted, the punishment would be proportionate to the crime.

This case is not in the in the interest of Real Network or their shareholders - except to make a scapegoat of this man. They can't win (financially speaking) - he can barely afford his own costs, if he loses he won't be able to pay them damages, he won't be able to pay their legal fees and he won't be able to pay the court costs. In my opinion this is malicious use of the courts.

Thom, I suspect the original article is wrong when it states that, if he loses, he would be required to pay Real Networks costs and that he would have to pay upto 210,000 EUR in fines. Is suspect that the court has the power to require him to pay the plaintiff costs and the court costs and they can impose damages of upto 210,000 EUR (paid to Real Networks). However, cases like this (which deal with something a trivial as a link), might attract "contemptuous damages" - i.e. Real Networks win and are awarded (say) a cent in damages and no costs.


* We do sort of do it a little in the UK, but only in certain cases, such as providing legal aid to claimants in medical negligence cases (where the defendants will be the NHS or heavily insured physicians).

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