by Mike Masnick
Tue, Jul 31st 2007 9:50am
If you hadn't noticed by now, the RIAA will go to great lengths to get people they accuse of file sharing to "settle" a case before it ever goes to court -- especially when the evidence they have is especially flimsy. However, with the threat of much bigger fines as a possibility, many people feel compelled to simply pay up and move on. Luckily, some people fight back -- and the RIAA almost always ends up backing down when the facts are presented. The latest such case takes place in Tennessee, as pointed out by Ray Beckerman. A soldier was accused of unauthorized file sharing for six songs, but in the evidence filed with the court, the RIAA lawyers included screenshots showing 4,600 files from the guy's computer including pornographic content. The guy claims that this clearly has nothing to do with the case, but is a situation where the RIAA is abusing a copyright infringement claim to try to shame the guy into settling. He still insists he's innocent and that lots of other people had access to his computer at the time the charges refer to. After countersuing over this issue, the RIAA has now backed down from listing the 4,600 files and is now only showing 367 sound recordings that it believes are infringing. Rather than admitting that it was abusing the lawsuit to pressure the guy into settling (and this change is due to the countersuit), the RIAA's lawyers claim they've made this change as a "professional courtesy." How nice of them.
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