As we expected
this morning, the RIAA has won its lawsuit against a woman for sharing files
. This is unfortunate in the long run, as the decision is actually going to hurt the companies the RIAA represents more than if it had lost the case. That's because the RIAA will take this as a validation of its "sue our fans" strategy, rather than realizing it's finally time to try a different model. In the meantime, the woman in the case, Jammie Thomas, never should have let the case go this far as there appeared to be plenty of evidence that she actually did break the law. The RIAA often has weak evidence, but in this case the evidence was much stronger. Unfortunately, that distinction won't be made by most, and they'll simply assume that if the RIAA won this case, it should win many others. The RIAA, of course, wasted no time in gloating about the decision and is using this to push others to settle rather than fighting the RIAA lawsuits. This actually is reasonable advice if, as in this case, you were guilty of breaking the law and the RIAA has the evidence to show it. The problem is that's often not the case -- yet, again, that important point will get lost.