The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has made a household name for itself over the last seven or eight years, in its increasingly aggressive pursuit of those that it suspects to be downloading music. The RIAA would threaten to sue those who didn't settle. Settlements typically were anywhere from a couple thousand to $10,000 USD. Those who fought the RIAA would likely lose far more.
However, the tide has seemingly turned, with a number of key losses have the RIAA reeling. Among these is the precedent-setting rejection of "making available" claims. According to the new precedent, the RIAA now has to provide actual proof that someone downloaded shared files, not merely that they had been made available. Such proof is much harder to obtain.
Another pending case may soon eliminate the use of MAC addresses as evidence, only allowing IP address to be used.
The RIAA lost another significant case against Tanya Andersen. Ms. Andersen was accused of downloading gangster rap under the username "gotenkito". However, forensics experts found no evidence of file sharing on her computer.
The judge had little sympathy for the RIAA's tactics and wastefulness of the court's time. He ordered $107,834 in attorneys' fees to be paid to the defendants. The record award was considered a major victory for those who stand accused by the RIAA, as more attorneys will be willing to take on their cases, realizing the potential for significant fees.
The RIAA didn't go down without a fight. It first tried to offer Ms. Andersen only $30,000. After realizing this wouldn't work it sweetened its offer to $60,000. She refused, and a judge refused to lower the award. The RIAA finally caved in and paid, as an official document reads, "Together with the $117.03 off accumulated post-judgment interest, the total amount of the $107,951.03 has been fully paid and satisfied by the Judgment Creditors."
The slight difference of just over $100 between the initial award and final payment is due to interest.
Ms. Andersen is not finished with the RIAA, though. She plans on taking the fight to them and is part of a large class action suit against the RIAA which accuses them of violating federal anti-racketeering laws.