Deborah Foster Beats RIAA – Scores Legal Fees
Deborah Foster, who was unsuccessfully sued by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), has scored a major victory against the trade organization. Ms. Foster was granted full reimbursement of her legal fees from her successful defense of the RIAA copyright infringement lawsuit.
The decision, signed by US District Court Judge Lee R. West, largely seals an earlier ruling from February of this year. The RIAA initially targeted Foster (Capitol Records v. Foster) for illegally uploading copyrighted content, though Foster challenged the action on the grounds that she was not the actual infringer. As a result of that challenge, the RIAA dropped the initial case and shifted its action against Deborah’s daughter Amanda, who subsequently entered a default settlement. The shift may have been a strategic attempt by the RIAA to avoid a showdown over secondary liability, which contends that the owner of an access account can be penalized for the infringing activities of other individuals.
In its challenge against the fee award, the RIAA did some major saber-rattling by stating that it would have won the case against Foster had it been pursued. A claim that was counter to most of the judge’s verdicts. The outcome is a serious slap in the face to the RIAA, and will certainly invite future legal fee challenges. It also represents a victory for the ACLU, Public Citizen, Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), and the American Association of Law Libraries, all of whom rallied in support of Foster.