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RIAA Stumbles in Lawsuit
Thursday, February 22nd, 2007 at 12:00 PM - by
The RIAA sued an Oklahoma woman, Debbie Foster, back in August for music copyright infringement, but was rebuffed by U.S. District Court Judge Lee R. West, who awarded attorney fees to Ms. Foster. The RIAA argued, according to a recap at Ars Technica Thursday, that awarding attorney's fees to the defendant would deter other copyright owners from pursuing infringement claims.
With harsh words, the RIAA's motives were called into question earlier in the trial: "the true motivation for the filing of the instant suit can be gleaned from the evidence in the district court file. Thus rather than pursuing resolution of a fairly minor dispute in good faith ... plaintiffs [RIAA] and their council filed and maintained this suit in order to extract a significant payment from perceived "Deep Pocket" defendant, Debbie Foster."
At one point, the RIAA decided to settle without asking for payment. But Ms. Foster wanted to clear her name, and she declined to settle. Accordingly, the RIAA is annoyed that they should now have to pay attorrney's fees when the defendant had been previously offered the opportunity to settle the suit for no payment and elected to clear her name instead.
Other defense attorneys are watching this case closely because the RIAA has used exactly the same tactics in other cases. The stakes are now much higher for the RIAA because frivolous suits may end up costing them more than they had planned.
A Website has been set up by two New York attorneys who are specializing in coming to the aid of RIAA defendants, via the Electronic Frontier Foundation: Recording Industry vs The People. On their site, they state: " In these oppressive and unfair cases, a cartel of multinational corporations collude to misuse the courts, distort copyright law, and frighten ordinary working people and their children. We established this blog to collect and share information about this reign of terror."
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