Bad Day For The RIAA: Two High Profile Cases Go Against RIAA

from the judges-getting-things-right dept

Well, well, well. The RIAA is not having a particularly good week. In the Tanya Andersen case (where the RIAA sued an innocent person), the court has awarded Andersen $108,000 in legal fees from the RIAA. You may recall that the RIAA had protested having to pay legal fees, which the judge smacked down. Note that this is entirely separate from Andersen’s racketeering case against the RIAA.

However, the much bigger news concerns the infamous Jammie Thomas case. As you’ll recall, the RIAA won that case, even though it now admits that it said false things under oath. Much of that decision hinged on the fact that the court said that “making available” was infringement, which is the opposite of what many other courts have been saying. In fact, it turns out that it went against the binding precedent in a different case within the same circuit. The judge has now admitted that he may have committed a “manifest error of law” in his jury instructions, and it sounds like he’s going to order a new trial.

This is a big deal. The RIAA has been holding up the Thomas case over and over again as proof that (a) “making available” is infringement and (b) that courts will award huge fines for those caught file sharing. If that decision gets tossed out (not even by an appeals court, but by the judge who ruled in the first place), it will suddenly make the RIAA’s claims relating to that case disappear completely.

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Companies: riaa

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Comments on “Bad Day For The RIAA: Two High Profile Cases Go Against RIAA”

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Gabriel Tane (profile) says:

Re: "Awarding" may not mean "won"

Sorry for the previous blank comment… finger slipped.

Anyway… Not to mention the basic fact here: “Winning” this case simply shows that Tanya Anderson successfully proved her innocence. It does not address the legality or morality [sic] of the RIAA’s tactics… let alone the legality of file sharing.

When a judge awards huge punitive damages against the RIAA because if its tactics… that’ll be a great day for freedom! or at least for the cause.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: "Awarding" may not mean "won"

I agree, but the great thing about this is that it sets legal precedents. The RIAA will have a much harder time withholding fees for people it’s incorrectly sued.

The Jammie Thomas case is even better news – the original ruling was based on a clear misinterpretation of law, and now that this has been realised it’s going to be extremely hard for the RIAA to win the new trial.

The only problem with these cases is the length of time they are taking. While it’s good that victories are being made and the RIAA keeps losing, I wonder how many people are seeing these cases and just going “to hell with that, I’ll just pay” when the RIAA threat comes through their door. Both of these women have been through hell and probably serious financial debt to prove their points. Not everyone can do that.

Rekrul says:

The judge’s decision in the Jammie Thomas case is great news.

Now who wants to start a countdown until the inevitable bill that criminalizes “making available” appears in Congress?

I give it one month from the date the Jammie Thomas verdict is overturned.

Come on, you KNOW that the entertainment industry isn’t going to let the number one argument for suing file sharers just be taken away from them. When they can’t win under current laws, they buy new ones.

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