It appears that someone in the RIAA's legal team discovered the word "vexatious" lately and now likes to use it. First, the RIAA declared lawyer Ray Beckerman vexatious
, and now it's trying to pin the same word on a woman who is demanding a jury trial
in her battle against the RIAA. We had written about this case back in August, where the woman used an innocent infringement
defense to try to get the fines for file sharing decreased. That is, she admitted that she had shared the files, but rather than accepting the $750 to $150,000/per song fines that might entail, she claimed that she had no idea what she was doing was illegal, and that the law allows for such cases to be reduced to a $200/song fine.
The RIAA initially pushed back on this, but eventually relented and let the judge set a $7,400 total fine, thinking that the case was pretty much wrapped up. Except... there's the problem of the Jammie Thomas mistrial
ruling, which added to a long list of rulings that claimed that "making available" files wasn't necessarily infringement. So, the woman in this case, Whitney Harper, is now pointing out that the number of files she's "guilty" of infringing should be reduced based on the Thomas ruling. She notes that while she made 37 songs available for download (hence the $7,400 fine), the RIAA only has evidence that six
songs were downloaded. Thus, she believes the fine should be reduced to $1,200, and would like a jury to hear the case. You can understand why the RIAA might be frustrated, but considering how quickly it
rushes out to tell other judges in ongoing cases whenever one judge rules in its favor, it seems only reasonable to have a court reconsider this case in light of the Thomas ruling.