Bang The Gavel Slowly
Most of the lawsuits that the RIAA issues never make it to court. Usually, recipients of the association's prelitigation letters, very often university students, settle, staving off the possibility of an ugly, expensive legal mess.
Such was not the case with Tanya Andersen, a disabled single mother living in Oregon, responded to the RIAA's lawsuit in 2005 with a vigorous denial of the charges and a countersuit. The RIAA's suit has since been tossed out of court, and earlier this week, a U.S. District judge in Oregon upheld an earlier ruling that the RIAA must compensate Andersen for her legal fees.
The judge also cleared the way for Andersen's malicious-prosecution case against the RIAA to obtain a class-action status. Among the bizarre tactics that Andersen alleges the RIAA investigators engaged in include impersonating a relative while on the phone with her elementary-school-aged daughter.
The RIAA legal beat is nothing if not lively. Of necessity, the RIAA's file-sharing cases that make it to court get very personal very quickly. We learn what kind of music people listen to, what sorts of pornography they favor and other details about their Internet habits that they'd just as soon keep to themselves. Well, Andersen's showing us that the mud flies both ways. This should be a fun one to watch.