Using a tactic that should be illegal the RIAA has once again shown us that they don’t care about their listeners, just about their own pocketbooks! As illustrated by the following example, the RIAA will often sue a person, use that suit to subpoena information, drop the suit, and use the information they acquired in another suit.
On the surface, that doesn’t sound all so bad, after all, they’re going after the RIGHT person and dropping the charges against the WRONG person. That’s a good thing, right?
Well, yes and no. Yes, the suit is dropped (hopefully with prejudice), that’s good. The Bad? Well, the defendant has had to hire a lawyer and spent potentially thousands of dollars defending a suit that was dropped. Theoretically, defendants can be awarded legal fees, but no such awards have been given yet.
RIAA now has dropped several copyright infringement lawsuits against suspected P2P file sharers, including Warner v. Pidgeon and Interscope v. Leadbetter and Elektra v. Santangelo . Generally this is so RIAA can amend or refile the claim against a related person.
This practice highlights RIAA’s shotgun justice. During the course of the suit RIAA switches from the initial ISP subscriber to more appropriate targets if found. As a well-funded adversary RIAA thinks nothing of suing tens of thousands of people based on limited information. Such weak evidence would not be enough for a criminal arrest. But RIAA can get away with it as a civil suit.
No harm, you say? Hardly. At a minimum many innocent people are being sued and forced to spend thousands of dollars to defend themselves. Is there any justice for the innocent? Judges have indicated that plaintiffs may be awarded attorneys fees and costs. But there have been no such awards yet.1