It's pretty obvious that the RIAA's lawsuits against alleged file traders are a form of legal bullying. The individuals must choose between expensive judgments and expensive lawyers, while the RIAA instantly succeeds in scaring people. However, most people probably don't realize that this asymmetry is just the tip of the iceberg. Ray Beckerman has a nice piece outlining the various tactics used by the industry to slant the playing field even further. First, the suit is filed in the city where the user's ISP is based, rarely the same place that the defendant actually lives. Once the suit is filed, they don't make much of an attempt to even contact the defendant, instead letting the ISPs send them a vague letter. This makes it hard for them to get adequate legal help, as they don't have enough information to tell a lawyer their situation. Throughout the rest of the process, the situation is no more fair to the defendant. The legal system should be about making accurate findings of fact and law, and if someone is found in violation, properly compensating the victim. Clearly, the RIAA doesn't see it this way.
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