There have been a growing number of stories recently about people finally fighting back against the various RIAA lawsuits, that are usually filed on the basis of a single IP address, without any effort being made to find out who might be responsible for any of the unauthorized sharing. This was a question that some had been asking since the RIAA first started filing lawsuits, but many people felt it was safer to just settle and pay the fine than to risk going to court and losing. However, since that one story of a woman fighting back, others have stepped up as well, and they may reach a new level, as one woman has now countersued the RIAA under racketeering charges and a slew of other charges: "fraud, invasion of privacy, abuse of process, electronic trespass, violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, negligent misrepresentation, the tort of "outrage", and deceptive business practices." Some of those seem like pretty big stretches and won't get very far, but it should be quite an interesting case (if it actually gets to court). The charges of the RIAA hacking into her computer and spying on her are unlikely to get very far at all -- especially if the data was left open to be viewed by file sharing programs. The extortion charge is the really interesting one, as that's the biggest point that many critics have brought up in the past. The RIAA basically says they'll make these cases go away for a few thousand, and often make it clear that people should just pay up rather than fight it -- which certainly sounds a lot like extortion to most people. Of course, there was at least one similar case nearly two years ago, where someone filed racketeering charges against the RIAA, but it's not clear if anything ever came of it (the case was filed by Michele Scimeca, and there seems to be plenty of info about the original lawsuit, but nothing quickly found about the resolution). A very similar case against DirecTV, however, found that the company could no longer just sue people who had card readers, without proof that they really did something wrong. It's possible a judge could read that ruling and say it applied equally to the RIAA as well. Update: Aha. Apparently for that original case, the woman has since filed for bankruptcy and the case is no longer active. Too bad.
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