RIAA hit with $68,000 in attorney's fees

RIAA hit with $68,000 in attorney's fees

Summary: In November 2004, the Recording Industry Association of America sued Deborah Foster for copyright infringement, claiming her IP address was connected to illegal downloading. It expanded the suit to include her adult daughter Amanda and won a default judgement against Amanda.

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TOPICS: Government US
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In November 2004, the Recording Industry Association of America sued Deborah Foster for copyright infringement, claiming her IP address was connected to illegal downloading. It expanded the suit to include her adult daughter Amanda and won a default judgement against Amanda. But the RIAA kept going after Debbie, trying to nail her for secondary copyright infringement. In July 2006, a federal judge threw out the charges against Foster, dismissing the case with prejudice and making Foster eligible to win attorney's fees.

Yesterday, the judge ruled on how big the fee award would be and it's substantial: $68,685.23. The RIAA has never been ordered to pay attorney's fees in any case, says Ray Beckerman, a lawyer who tracks the RIAA's actions against Internet users at Recording Industry vs The People.

The RIAA told News.com in a statement: "We respectfully believe that this ruling is in error and is an isolated occurrence." But that statement doesn't indicate whether they will appeal or just hope that it doesn't happen again.

The RIAA clearly engages in predatory lawsuits, writing letters to victims asserting the statutory fine of $150,00 per violation and making a one-time-only settlement offer in the four figures.

After Foster won in court, EFF, the ACLU and Public Citizen wrote amici briefs supporting the award of attorney's fees.

"A fee award would encourage innocent accused infringers to stand up and fight back against bogus RIAA claims, deter the RIAA from continuing to prosecute meritless suits that harass defendants it knows or reasonably should know are innocent, and further the purposes of the Copyright Act by reaffirming the appropriate limits of a copyright owner's exclusive rights," they wrote.

RIAA defended its legal strategy today in a statement.

"Our interest in these cases is enforcing the rights of the record companies and artists, while fostering an online environment where the legal marketplace can flourish and the music industry can invest in the new bands of tomorrow," the group said in a statement. "In the handful of cases where the person engaging in the illegal activity in the household is not the person responsible for the ISP account, we look to gather the facts quickly and do our best to identify the appropriate defendant."

Topic: Government US

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7 comments
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  • And charge them 1% interest per day

    compounded, for every day that they drag their heels and refuse to pay. These greedy bottom dwellers at the RIAA deserve no sympathy, no pity, and no mercy.
    magcomment
    • how about infinite Billion + 1??

      The openly criminal organisation that is the is the RIAA (along with her sister in crime the MPAA) is not event legitimate and have no legal reason to exist period. The court should charge them for the money lost by TAXE PAYERS for the abuse the RIAA is doing of the justice system. Taxes dollard shoulde not be use to support such a clearly criminal organisation that contribute nothing to the society and drain taxes dollars to STEAL money from innocent citizens.
      Mectron
      • Just don't do it

        If you don't steal movies and music, you have nothing to worry about.
        Technogeez
        • Yeah, just ask grandma (nt)

          (nt)
          jabster17
        • Are you stupid, or did you not read the article before posting?

          The problem (as shown in the article)is that INNOCENT people are sometimes targeted, and once the mistake is dicovered, RIAA appears to be reluctant to drop the lawsuit, and appears to continue trying to intimidate the people shown to be innnocent into settling the case and paying.

          This is wrong.
          legalista
  • restraining the RIAA

    I am really getting tired of hearing the RIAA claim its predatory lawsuits against music fans are somehow related to helping "starving" songwriters and performing artists.

    All they are doing is trying to preserve the revenue once enjoyed by music media DISTRIBUTORS. Yes, this business is now mostly gone due to digital downloading. Furthermore, the ongoing harrassment of consumers will not bring it back.

    Yet money (plenty of it, no doubt) can still be made with music. The exact business model is still being constructed a la Apple iTunes and others. A sensible court decision on these matters would simply say to the RIAA and its fellow travelers:

    "Stop bothering innocent people, get a life, and do not bring these matters before this court again under penalty of censure or worse."

    or perhaps:

    "The market for buggy-whips existed yesterday. It does not exist now. Adapt. Do not seek relief from the legal system."
    dmennie
  • The best way to deal with them!

    For 6 months everybody should not buy any recorded media at all no CD's no DVD's no movies nothing there is plenty of music out there already and the only way to teach these money grubbing bastards a lesson is to destroy them.In 6 months their businesses would collapse and the contracts that they hold would probably become void because of lack of payment.SO don.t buy any discs from September 1 ,2007 until March 31 2008 and let see what will happen!!!
    wizardb@...