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And it may have shot itself in the foot for doing so

The RIAA brought an abrupt end (PDF) to the longstanding copyright trial Warner v. Cassin earlier this month, after filing a sudden motion to dismiss late last May.

The dismissal, approved by the White Plains, New York court on June 4, was discovered Wednesday by Ray Beckerman of copyright blog Recording Industry vs. The People. He notes that discussions had just begun on the principle of "making available" -- that is, offering a file for download via a P2P client's "shared folders" feature. With recent case history suddenly shifting towards the defendant, instead of the RIAA, it appears that the case may have been dropped in order to snuff out another unfavorable ruling.

"They were afraid of [Warner v. Cassin] Judge Robinson deciding the case, because his would be the most well-informed decision so far," said Beckerman, in an interview with Ars Technica.

The RIAA has thus far remained quiet on its reasons for the dismissal.

Warner dropped the case voluntarily and "without prejudice," leaving both sides to bear the cost of their legal fees and leaving its complaint open to future litigation. It is possible, notes Beckerman, that Warner may have closed the door on future, similar cases as well, if it turns out that defendant Cassin was previously identified through a prior "John Doe" proceeding, which Warner had also voluntarily dropped.

Federal law states that cases where "plaintiff previously dismissed any federal-or state-court action based on or including the same claim" as another future case, then a second dismissal -- such as Warner v. Cassin -- automatically operates as an "adjudication" of cases' merits.

The dismissal of Warner v. Cassin marks yet another iteration of an emerging RIAA pattern: walking away -- or trying to -- from cases it feels it cannot win, or cases that might result in an undesirable precedent. In Atlantic v. Boyer, where Atlantic tried to have a judge dismiss a counterclaims suit filed against it by plaintiff Eva Boyer, a District Judge expressed his annoyance with the RIAA's seemingly dogged antics, denying Atlantic's motion almost immediately and without any response from Boyer.

Speaking in the comments section, Beckerman says defendant Joan Cassin has a chance of winning back her legal fees, although she is undecided on whether or not she will choose to do so.





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