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.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    eleete, May 15th, 2008 @ 1:27pm

    WOW, Excellent

    Maybe this will show a shift toward correcting the situation. Now if they could just squash that damn ProIP bill perhaps we can show the world we are in fact a sane country. Corporate greed is polluting our system and infiltrating others.


    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Lucretious, May 15th, 2008 @ 2:01pm

    Geez Mike, don't sound so depressed.....

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    John, May 15th, 2008 @ 2:03pm

    "Awarding" may not mean "won"

    Even though the judge in this case awarded Andersen $108,000, it doesn't mean she's "won". After all, the RIAA will appeal the case (if only to lower the fine).
    Then there's the matter of actually getting the RIAA to pay up.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 15th, 2008 @ 2:52pm


    The fact that their only real 'triumph' is being overturned by the same judge and not even GOING to the appellate level just proves how grossly dishonest and STUPID the RIAA lawyers are.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    wasnt me, May 15th, 2008 @ 2:53pm

    at the risk of having said that about the st article conserning Tanya Andersen.

    finaly the light at the end of the tunnel

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Gabriel Tane, May 15th, 2008 @ 3:09pm

    Re: "Awarding" may not mean "won"

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. icon
    Gabriel Tane (profile), May 15th, 2008 @ 3:13pm

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    Overcast, May 15th, 2008 @ 3:29pm

    "said false things under oath"

    That's perjury and contempt and should be treated as such - but let me guess, they'll get a pass..

    But God help me if I did it against them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    judson, May 15th, 2008 @ 4:10pm

    Punative what?

    If the RIAA can demand thousands for 15 songs why should they not have to pay on an equal scale ...... seems only appropriate!
    And as Overcast stated, what about the lies? SHould more cases be reviewed?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    Rekrul, May 15th, 2008 @ 4:27pm

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    hypocrisy, May 15th, 2008 @ 5:56pm

    My Name is

    Do as I say, not as I do.
    I am above the law though you must submit.
    My name is RIAA

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 16th, 2008 @ 9:04am

    and so it goes.........................

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 17th, 2008 @ 2:42pm

    Honestly, the RIAA needs to be dissolved permanently. Only thing they're serving to "protect" is their bank accounts.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. identicon
    Gene Cavanaugh, May 17th, 2008 @ 7:33pm

    RIAA problems

    Why would you think the RIAA would stop claiming those things merely because the Judge ordered a new trial? Are you saying the RIAA has suddenly gotten a bad case of honesty?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15. icon
    PaulT (profile), May 19th, 2008 @ 2:53am

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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