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WinMX World :: Forum  |  Discussion  |  WinMx World News  |  Setback for malicious prosecution lawsuit against RIAA

Author Topic: Setback for malicious prosecution lawsuit against RIAA  (Read 555 times)

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Offline DaBees-Knees

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Setback for malicious prosecution lawsuit against RIAA
« on: November 16, 2009, 01:52:00 pm »

Although the RIAA has decided to stop initiating new legal actions against music fans as part of its war on piracy, there are still a few cases in which the wheels of justice are rolling ahead slowly. One such case is Andersen v. Atlantic, where exonerated former RIAA defendant Tanya Andersen is suing the record labels for malicious prosecution, negligence, and conspiracy. That lawsuit hit a speed bump when a federal judge dismissed some of the claims in Andersen's lawsuit.

In a ruling issued last week, Judge Anna J. Brown ruled that the RIAA had sufficient legal justification to initially file suit against Andersen, saying that they could have "reasonably believed" that she was responsible for sharing copyrighted tracks on a P2P network in 2004.

As part of her malicious-prosecution lawsuit, which seeks class-action status, Andersen argued that the RIAA should never have brought suit against her in the first place in part because the labels and MediaSentry had no way of knowing who was actually behind the computer when the MediaSentry investigator detected KaZaA user gotenkito's shared folder. As a result, the lawsuit against Andersen—and by implication every other person targeted by the RIAA—was "sham litigation," and therefore not protected by the First Amendment.

Not so, said Judge Brown, noting the way in which IP addresses have been linked to individual users by ISPs upon being served by subpoenas. "On this record, the Court concludes Defendants could have reasonably believed there was a chance that their copyright-infringement claims against Plaintiff might have been 'held valid upon adjudication' on the basis of the link between gotenkito's shared folder and the IP address leased to Plaintiff in light of the many cases in which such a link has been held to be sufficient to support probable cause to initiate an action for copyright infringement," reads the ruling.

Even though there is no way to know for certain who was behind a captured IP address, there's enough of link to support "a chance" that the RIAA had positively targeted the person culpable for the shared folder's existence on the P2P network. "[L]inking illegal P2P sharing of copyrighted works to an individual through that individual's registered IP address has been accepted by several courts as constituting probable cause for the initiation of copyright-infringement proceedings," noted the judge.

So the RIAA was justified in suing Andersen in 2005, but the propriety of its conduct after initiating the lawsuit is still up to the courts to decide. Andersen says that the RIAA acted inappropriately throughout its original lawsuit, pursuing her even though she provided the labels with the name, address, and phone number of the individual she believed was responsible for the "gotenkito" account. RIAA investigators also attempted to make contact with her then-eight-year-old daughter without Andersen's knowledge, according to the lawsuit

What surprises me in these cases is no one has mentioned entrapment.  8)

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