online prescription solutions
online discount medstore
pills online
buy lorazepam without prescription
xanax for sale
buy xanax without prescription
buy ambien without prescription
ambien for sale
buy modafinil without prescription
buy phentermine without prescription
modafinil for sale
phentermine for sale
lorazepam for sale
buy lexotan without prescription
bromazepam for sale
xenical for sale
buy stilnox without prescription
valium for sale
buy prosom without prescription
buy mefenorex without prescription
buy sildenafil citrate without prescription
buy adipex-p without prescription
librium for sale
buy restoril without prescription
buy halazepam without prescription
cephalexin for sale
buy zoloft without prescription
buy renova without prescription
renova for sale
terbinafine for sale
dalmane for sale
buy lormetazepam without prescription
nobrium for sale
buy klonopin without prescription
priligy dapoxetine for sale
buy prednisone without prescription
buy aleram without prescription
buy flomax without prescription
imovane for sale
adipex-p for sale
buy niravam without prescription
seroquel for sale
carisoprodol for sale
buy deltasone without prescription
buy diazepam without prescription
zopiclone for sale
buy imitrex without prescription
testosterone anadoil for sale
buy provigil without prescription
sonata for sale
nimetazepam for sale
buy temazepam without prescription
buy xenical without prescription
buy famvir without prescription
buy seroquel without prescription
rivotril for sale
acyclovir for sale
loprazolam for sale
buy nimetazepam without prescription
buy prozac without prescription
mogadon for sale
viagra for sale
buy valium without prescription
lamisil for sale
camazepam for sale
zithromax for sale
buy clobazam without prescription
buy diflucan without prescription
modalert for sale
diflucan for sale
buy alertec without prescription
buy zyban without prescription
buy serax without prescription
buy medazepam without prescription
buy imovane without prescription
mefenorex for sale
lormetazepam for sale
prednisone for sale
ativan for sale
buy alprazolam without prescription
buy camazepam without prescription
buy nobrium without prescription
mazindol for sale
buy mazindol without prescription
buy mogadon without prescription
buy terbinafine without prescription
diazepam for sale
buy topamax without prescription
cialis for sale
buy tafil-xanor without prescription
buy librium without prescription
buy zithromax without prescription
retin-a for sale
buy lunesta without prescription
serax for sale
restoril for sale
stilnox for sale
lamotrigine for sale

How Legal Fees Might Stop the RIAA’s Campaign Against File Sharing

It’s no secret that the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has responded to the growth of online file sharing with a wave of copyright infringement litigation. Often, the individuals targeted by the RIAA fear the overwhelming costs of defending themselves in court, and many have agreed to pay large settlements. A current federal case in Oregon, however, may dramatically alter the legal landscape by forcing the RIAA to pay attorneys’ fees for those who have been wrongfully accused.

Attorneys’ Fees in American Courts

Attorneys’ fees are the costs of legal representation. They are usually expressed in one of three ways: 1) as a contingency fee; 2) as a fixed fee or 3) as an hourly billing fee. The standard billing practice for law firms is the hourly rate system, and rates for large law firms can average over $300 per lawyer per hour.

Unless the parties have agreed in advance to a different result, under the default American Rule each party in a lawsuit is responsible for paying its own attorneys’ fees. Certain statutes, however, force the losing party to pay the prevailing party’s attorneys’ fees or else give the judge discretion to order such a payment. For example, under 17 U.S.C. § 505, a judge has the discretion to award attorneys’ fees to the prevailing party in a copyright dispute. In a recent case, Gonzales v. Transfer Technologies Inc., the judge considered the cost of prosecuting copyright infringement and the relatively low statutory damage award, and the judge chose to award attorneys’ fees.

The Andersen Case

In February 2005, the RIAA sued Tanya Andersen, a disabled single mother living in Oregon, for copyright infringement related to online file sharing. Alleging abusive practices, Andersen filed a counter-claim accusing the RIAA of, among other things, electronic trespass, deceptive business practices, invasion of privacy, fraud and negligent misrepresentation. Andersen demanded statutory and punitive damages, as well as attorneys’ fees.

On June 1, 2007, the RIAA filed for dismissal of its case with prejudice, reflecting its belief that the case was non-winnable. To determine whether Andersen can recover attorneys’ fees, the federal district court judge must decide whether the goals of the Copyright Act would be furthered by the award. The federal magistrate wrote the judge a recommendation stating that the RIAA’s suit “lacked prima facie evidence,” that the suit “did not appear justified as a reasonable exploration of the boundaries of copyright law” and that “copyright holders generally, and these plaintiffs especially, should be deterred from prosecuting infringement cases [in a similar manner].” Accordingly, the magistrate recommended awarding Andersen attorneys’ fees. The judge has not yet ruled on this recommendation. (reported at Ars Technica)

Legal and Strategic Implications of Awarding Fees

If legal fees are awarded to Andersen, the RIAA may be forced to rethink its tactics in prosecuting copyright infringers. Until now, the RIAA has relied on a “shotgun approach,” filing nearly three hundred lawsuits per week against alleged downloaders of copyrighted music, often without particularly strong evidence of illegal activity. If the court forces the RIAA to pay Andersen’s legal fees, it could establish a precedent upon which other accused copyright infringers will rely. This may cost hundreds of thousands of dollars per case, and it may prompt the RIAA to abandon the shotgun approach and focus its legal strategy on downloaders who can be more conclusively tied to illegal activity. On the other hand, the RIAA might not be particularly sensitive to these costs and may instead prefer to occasionally pay in order to pressure file traders to stop downloading copyrighted music.

No matter how the RIAA responds, it is certain that a ruling for Anderson would make it more difficult to bully defendants into settling to avoid costly legal fees. Defendants with strong cases may be more willing to go to trial and to stand up to the RIAA if they believe they will recover their legal fees. These recoveries can be quite large – Andersen’s lawyers, for example, estimate their fees to be well over $200,000. Some argue that this would simply force the RIAA to be more careful about whom it sues and to avoid frivolous lawsuits. Others believe that even the RIAA has a right to have its day in court. Therefore, it’s clear that the judge’s decision in the Andersen case may prompt a dramatic change in the way the RIAA approaches copyright infringement cases.

By James Alonso, Marc Friedenberg, Michael Nguyen, Shawn Oakley and Sarah Calvert; originally published at the Columbia Project on Law and Technology blog.

About the Author

STLR

blog comments powered by Disqus