RIAA: And We Would Have Gotten Away With It, Too, if It Weren't for You Meddling, 43-Year-Old, Disabled Single Mothers.
Settlement Support Center also falsely claimed that Ms. Andersen had ‘been viewed’ by MediaSentry downloading ‘gangster rap’ music at 4:24 a.m. Settlement Support Center also falsely claimed that Ms. Andersen had used the login name “email@example.com.” Ms. Andersen does not like ‘gangster rap,’ does not recognize the name ‘gotenkito,’ is not awake at 4:24 a.m. and has never downloaded music.”
— Excerpt from defendant’s answer, affirmative defenses and counterclaims, Atlantic v. Andersen
Litigation is not our first choice, but education is not enough. The Recording Industry Association of America has sounded that familiar refrain throughout its campaign against file-sharing, even as it has sued thousands of alleged “song-lifters” for copyright violations.
Well, litigation wasn’t Tanya Andersen’s first choice either, but it was the only one she was offered when the RIAA sued her in 2005. And so, threatened with damages that seemed grossly disproportionate to the loss suffered, the 43-year-old disabled single mother contested the RIAA’s allegations of piracy. What’s more, she countersued the association under the Oregon Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act, alleging that it falsely claimed that she owed thousands of dollars in an attempt to coerce and extort payment from her.
Harsh charges, and ones that seemed to have served her well: The RIAA’s case against Andersen was dismissed Friday–with prejudice. Which means the group may not be able to quietly walk away from the allegations as it has in the past when one of its “song-lifting” cases has taken a wrong turn. “Next to a negative verdict, an exonerated defendant is the last thing the RIAA wants,” notes Ars Technica. “When faced with an undesirable outcome, the RIAA’s tactic has been to move to dismiss without prejudice, a ‘no harm, no foul’ strategy that puts an end to a lawsuit without declaring a winner and a loser. Dismissing a case with prejudice opens the RIAA up to an attorneys’ fee award.”