Meet Tanya Andersen, a 45-year-old single mother who was sued by the RIAA for music piracy, and won (her case was dismissed after RIAA's own computer experts proved that she did not pirate any music).
Now, Tanya is taking the record industry to court under conspiracy laws, and she appears to be winning:
After being sued by the music industry for stealing songs and winning the case's dismissal, Andersen is now taking the record industry to court. Her case is aimed at exposing investigative practices that are controversial and may be illegal, according to the lawsuit. One company hired by the record industry, she claims, snoops through people's computers, uncovering private files and photos, even though it has no legal right to do so. A different industry-backed company uses tactics similar to those of debt collectors, pressuring people to pay thousands of dollars in settlements even before any wrongdoing is proven. In Andersen's case, the industry's Settlement Support Center said that unless she paid $4,000 to $5,000 immediately, it would "ruin her financially," the suit alleges.
Andersen is going after the recording industry under conspiracy laws. She argues the Recording Industry Association of America, the industry's trade group, and its affiliates worked together on a broad campaign to intimidate people into making financial payoffs. The defendants "secretly met and conspired" to develop a "litigation enterprise" with the ultimate goal of preserving the major record companies' control over the music business. Andersen is requesting class action status for her case, seeking at least $5 million in compensation for the class.
Here's an interesting BusinessWeek article by Heather Green: Link - via reddit (Photo: Brian Smale)
5 million might only be a drop in the bucket for the RIAA but the result of the trial will be hugely beneficial to anyone else the RIAA tries to sue. A sufficient judgment could well put an end to the litigation as it would become unprofitable.
Sure, they may not like having terms dictated to them by the likes of Apple, but it goes a long way in showing that if the recording industry would have started adjusting their business model in days of Napster. Had they done that, they would be more than the archaic oligopoly they are now, intent on suing their customers into bankruptcy.
And posting on a blog about the RIAA isn't being asleep..how many of us have been sued or even contacted by the RIAA? Is spreading news and talking about it being asleep? We could take it on as a personal goal to kill the RIAA but I'm sure most of us would rather fight global hunger.