For years, we've been asking why so many parents just roll over when the RIAA comes calling about unauthorized file sharing activities of their kids. It was never clear if there was any real liability, but many parents agreed to pay up because they either didn't understand the law (and the RIAA certainly didn't help), or just wanted to protect their kids. This issue has finally been getting more attention lately, as a few parents have started fighting back against the RIAA, raising the question of liability for the actions of others. This came out last week, so we're a bit late on it, but it's worth noting that in at least one such case, a judge has said that the liability cannot be placed on the parent, freaking out the RIAA, who withdrew the case, and then tried to have the judge open up another way to go after the kid -- and the judge refused. This is bad news for the RIAA, especially if more parents begin to realize that they can fight back. However, the one downside to this ruling was denying the mother's request to have the RIAA pay her attorney's fees. For that, the judge said that the RIAA had "taken reasonable steps to try to prosecute this case and litigate against the proper defendants." That seems questionable. We've been pointing out for years that the RIAA and the MPAA seem to send out threatening letters without any effort to actually determine who was involved. They simply determine who owns the connection and go after them, even though it's quite clear at this point, in an age of easy networking, that the owner of a connection is often not the person using it. In fact, in home situations, the owner of a computer may not even be the person using it.
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