RIAA Says It Shouldn't Have To Pay Legal Fees Because Woman Didn't Settle; Judge Says Think Again

from the a-new-low dept

Despite the RIAA’s astounding legal gymnastics and its questionable — if not illegal — investigative techniques, it typically finds a way to wiggle out of paying the legal bills of anybody it has sued in its misguided legal campaign against record labels’ customers. Though there’s been a few exceptions, the group’s strategy of dropping cases when people notice their flimsy evidence seems to generally shield them from having to pay costs. That’s a real problem, since it makes it very easy, and relatively cheap, for the RIAA to abuse the legal system by filing thousands of suits, then suffer no repercussions when it drops them after they’re exposed as bogus. Hopefully, though, that’s starting to change, as more judges become aware of the RIAA’s tactics, or at least pay attention to the facts of its cases. A judge in Oklahoma has now ordered the RIAA to pay $70,000 in legal fees to an Oklahoma woman, after tossing out the group’s suit against her earlier this year. In this case, the RIAA didn’t make a very good impression on the judge by claiming that they shouldn’t have to pay the defendant’s legal bills because she could have avoided being sued, had she “appropriately assisted their copyright infringement investigation and litigation” — which means had she given in to their bullying and accepting one of their generous settlement offers. That’s absolutely ridiculous, as the judge noted, since it steamrolls a defendant’s right to defend themselves against bogus suits. It’s up there with the RIAA’s promise in another case not to incorrectly sue a woman a second time, as long as they didn’t have to pay her legal bills for the first time they wrongly sued her. The RIAA has gotten away for far too long with bending the legal system to fit its desires; hopefully those days are coming to an end.

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Companies: riaa

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Comments on “RIAA Says It Shouldn't Have To Pay Legal Fees Because Woman Didn't Settle; Judge Says Think Again”

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Buzz says:


The RIAA calls their brigade “copyright infringement investigation and litigation”? Do they honestly feel their campaign is having a positive influence on the world?

At this point, it would seem that the RIAA is enjoying this. There were several business opportunities introduced with the advent of music downloads. They simply chose the worst one. Rather than work with the masses, they chose to view the unending series of downloads as an endless supply of lawsuits. I think they LIKE the fact that so much of their music is pirated.

I wonder, if I started passing around several dozen silent MP3 files with famous song titles for filenames on P2P networks, would the RIAA flag those as being shared illegally and send me a lawsuit notification? I would be giddy. I would take them to court, plead “guilty” to the charges relating to sharing of those specific files, and then embarrass the RIAA substantially when they find that my files have three minutes of silence.

The RIAA’s search methods may be more sophisticated than that, but judging by their ability to sue individuals who do not even own a computer, maybe they don’t…

Bob says:

Seriously though, haven’t you told us this before? Slow news day? Every link here is to a techdirt article from the past, what’s new about this that warrants a new article? Perhaps you should have filed this under “summarizing what we’ve already said”? Filing it under “a-new-low” indicates there might be some new content here, which is entirely misleading.

Mike James (user link) says:

They've now added an external link

…that external link was not there earlier today. I did notice they didnt forget to link to a half dozen internal links. It is this kind of ‘reporting’ that has caused several major podcasters to stop referencing Tech Dirt articles.

They seem to blatantly loop link from one TD article to another in an effort to increase page views or something…..in the end this type of sillyness will be its downfall.

The proper way to attribute previous stories is to list them at the end under an ‘other stories we’ve done’ or ‘read also’ Your main story should CLEARLY link to your source, not make someone hunt through 15 links to find the one that isnt TD.

Hieronymus says:

Oh, Those Crazy French! (by John Dvorak)

“The French are also skeptical about the whole movie-piracy phenomenon. Why should illegally downloading the equivalent of a $19 disc result in a $250,000 fine and 5 years in prison? Shoplifting a $100 item from a store—which is tangible and real—has fewer consequences. Does this make any sense to anyone? The French don’t think so. Illegally copying movies or downloading should be like a traffic ticket—perhaps a $100 fine. Now they are being accused of ‘encouraging’ piracy. How’s that? $100 is a lot of money,” Dvorak writes. “The American tendency to prioritize poorly seems to be thematic. It took yet another new twist when a get-tough stance against Wi-Fi poaching cropped up in Illinois. Yes, forget burglary, where someone steals something tangible. Instead, we need to bust Wi-Fi poachers… Law enforcement should not be wasting the taxpayers’ money looking inside every car where they see some guy sitting reading a newspaper, in hopes of finding a Wi-Fi poacher… I’m moving to France.”

Cyber Akuma says:

So basically what they are saying is this?

RIAA: Well, despite the fact that she was found innocent, we offered her a chance to admit she is guilty and pay us X amount of money without any chance to fight back but she didn’t, so why should we pay the legal fees of a person with a 5 figure salary who fought against a multi-billion dollar company whose lunch breaks cost more than what she makes in a year?

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