Amicus Briefing Filed In RIAA Vs. Innocents

Aron Schatz
August 11, 2006

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The RIAA is now in deep due to count them... the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the American Civil Liberties Union, Public Citizen, the ACLU of Oklahoma Foundation, and the American Association of Law Libraries. They have submitted an amicus curiae brief in support of the motion for attorneys fees that has been made by Deborah Foster in Capitol Records v. Debbie Foster, in federal court in Oklahoma. The Brief (PDF).


This is an important case. While it may appear to many as just one woman defending herself against several large corporate copyright plaintiffs, as the court is undoubtedly aware, this lawsuit is but one battle in the broader war the RIAA is waging against unauthorized internet copying. As a result of this war, the RIAA has wrought havoc on the lives of many innocent Americans who, like Deborah Foster, have been wrongfully prosecuted for illegal acts they did not commit for over a year despite their clear innocence and persistent denials. Using questionable methods and suspect evidence, the RIAA has targeted thousands of ordinary people around the country, including grandmothers, grandfathers, single mothers, and teenagers. In its broad dragnet of litigation, the RIAA has knowingly entangled the innocent along with the guilty, dragging them through an expensive and emotionally draining process of trying to clear their names. In deciding whether or not to grant defendant Deborah Foster's Motion For Attorneys Fees, the court should consider the broader context of the RIAA lawsuit campaign - especially the positive effect that a fee award would have on encouraging the RIAA to be more diligent in conducting its pre-suit investigations, more prompt in dismissing suits when a defendant asserts substantial claims of innocence or mistaken identity, and more responsible in asserting its legal theories. Moreover, a fee award would encourage innocent accused infringers to stand up and fight back against bogus RIAA claims, deter the RIAA from continuing to prosecute meritless suits that harass defendants it knows or reasonably should know are innocent, and further the purposes of the Copyright Act by reaffirming the appropriate limits of a copyright owner's exclusive rights.


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