Wilke Fights RIAA
Paul H. Wilke, a 52-year-old Illinois man, has decided to fight back against the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for alleged copyright infringement. Wilke declares that he’s never used Peer-To-Peer (P2P) file sharing programs, or, and the RIAA has it all wrong.
On February 24, 2006, he received a letter saying he’d been sued for copyright infringement by numerous record companies. Dumbfounded by the charge, Wilke hired a professional systems expert to check his computer, since the songs cited by the RIAA as being on his computer illegally were all ripped from CDs he’d purchased. The analysis revealed that there were no P2P programs on his computer. So Wilke decided to contact the RIAA to pursue a dismissal.
Unfortunately, no one at the RIAA would speak to him and consistently referred him to the Settlement Hotline where the entire matter would be dropped for the small price of $3750. The next thing he knew, the RIAA named him in a suit filed in the Northern District of Illinois. But instead of settling, Wilke got pissed and hired an attorney, Daliah Saper.
Saper asked Judge James Holderman to dismiss Elektra v Wilke in Chicago federal court, on August 22. Holderman’s reaction to the motion was to ask the RIAA’s counsel what, if anything, they’d have to say in a responsive pleading in which they stated further investigation was necessary.
The Future: It’s painfully obvious that the RIAA is leveraging America’s Litigation Economy to their own unctuous needs. As more and more infringement defendents step up and fight, the RIAA has no choice but to back down when they can’t produce evidence to support their claims. However, not everyone can afford to battle a syndicate like the RIAA, and more often than not, opt for the $4000 settlement. It’s a shame that the States don’t implement the same penalty that the British court system provides defendents: if the Plaintiff files suit and loses, then they pay all the Defendent’s court costs.