RIAA Forced to Pay Defendant Lawyer Fees

The RIAA has been ordered to pay over $68,000 in attorney fees for an Oklahoma woman who won a piracy case against the music industry organization in July of last year.

Judge Lee West had called RIAA disingenuous in its motives to attempt to get out of paying the fees earlier this year after the case was dismissed and ruled in the woman's favor. In total, the RIAA will be responsible for $68,685.23 in fees.

The RIAA had first filed suit against Debbie Foster in November 2004, later adding her daughter Amanda Foster as a co-defendant. The group alleged that the Foster family had downloaded copyright music from the Internet illegally.

Debbie Foster denied any wrongdoing and chose to fight the RIAA, which later amended their suit to accuse her of "secondary copyright infringement" as the Internet service on which the files were downloaded was in her name.

West disagreed with the record industry's claims and dismissed the suit, ruling that Debbie Foster was eligible for attorney's fees. RIAA lawyers attempted to argue that she could have avoided the case and therefore wasn't eligible for the fees, but West again sided with the Fosters.

"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," West wrote in the 14-page decision.

"The Court has rejected this argument on numerous occasions and declines to entertain it yet again."

The awarding of attorney's fees is believed to be the first infringement case lost by RIAA where the defendant has successfully recovered legal costs for fighting the organization.

RIAA representatives argued that this was not a new trend in the piracy cases it is fighting, saying it does all it can to identify the correct defendant before pursuing legal action.

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