RIAA Gets Hit for $68,000 in Fees in Capitol Records v. Foster

by Mike on 7/17/2007

in Copycat Law, First We Kill All the Lawyers, The Intarweb

In the great file-sharing war, it looks like the tide may be turning. Deborah Foster, the defendant in a peer-to-peer file-sharing case out of Oklahoma, not only got the records companies to dismiss their case against her, she got a court award of $68,000 for attorney’s fees – the cost of defending her lawsuit.

The Court emphatically stated that copyright defendants like Foster are entitled to have the cost of their defense paid for by the record companies, even when they refuse to throw their family members under the bus:

The plaintiffs argue that the defendant is not entitled to fees incurred after some point when she allegedly “could have avoided [fees] altogether but chose not to do so.” Throughout the course of this litigation the plaintiffs have alleged that had the defendant appropriately assisted their copyright infringement investigation and litigation, she could have avoided being sued. The Court has rejected this argument on numerous occasions and declines to entertain it yet again. The defendant was entitled to litigate the claims the plaintiffs chose to bring against her and, as the prevailing party on those claims, she is entitled to recover the reasonable attorney’s fees she incurred in so doing.

This decision will no doubt encourage more attorneys to accept defense cases even when the defendants themselves may not be able to pay the fees up front. Where the record companies have been using settlements to fund their ongoing litigation campaign – using defendants’ money against other defendants – now defendants have the prospect of using the huge financial resources of the record companies to level the playing field and fund the resistance to the copyright abuse.

Link via Recording Industry vs. The People.

UPDATE: Consumerist chimes in.

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