Woman Wrongfully Targeted By RIAA Lawsuit Awarded $108,000

You may remember Tanya Andersen (pictured left) as the woman who was falsely accused of illegally sharing over 1,000 songs, thus becoming the target of an unsuccessful RIAA lawsuit. According to The Oregonian, a federal magistrate has awarded her nearly $108,000 in recompense for attorney’s fees and other costs associated with her successfully fighting the lawsuit. Details, inside…

The article says,

The attorney fee award is separate from a national class action lawsuit Andersen filed against the recording industry last year.

Andersen’s legal battle with the Recording Industry Association of America has gained national attention as a case of David vs. Goliath. Her suit accuses the industry of a waging a “campaign of threat and intimidation” against her and others who have never illegally downloaded music.

“While we respectfully disagree with the magistrate judge’s decision to award extraneous fees — including on counterclaims that the defendant herself brought and dropped — it is important to note this decision is only a recommendation and falls significantly short of defendant’s requests. We will likely file an objection in short order,” said Cara Duckworth director of communications for the Recording Industry Association of America.

The recording industry has taken legal steps against thousands of people suspected of illegally downloading music since 2003.

The industry sued Andersen in 2005, but dropped the case last year after failing to turn up evidence that she illegally downloaded music.

Congratulations to Tanya. It’s nice to see that one person can not only defend herself but turn the system against bloodthirsty, big-time corporate lawyers. Hopefully decisions like these will teach the RIAA to be more careful about who they put in their cross-hairs.

Beaverton woman wins $108,000 against recording industry [The Oregonian] (Thanks to Nick!)


Edit Your Comment

  1. Heck yeah! Awesome victory for the “little guy”.

  2. Nice to see any victory at all, I’m glad she fought back. Teach them mother f*ckers to have EVIDENCE before bringing a frivolous case upon innocent people….


  3. uberbucket says:

    Amazing, I didn’t think it was possible to win against the RIAA litigation machine.

    Let’s hope it doesn’t get overturned on appeal.

  4. bravo369 says:

    i don’t think $108,000 is nearly enough. This seems to have been going on for years. Hopefully she wins her class action and RIAA has to pay millions upon millions of dollars, has to disband and we never hear from them again.

  5. tristax says:

    Hahaha, I love how passive-aggressive/defiant the RIAA are in their statement, namely in the starred parts. I know it’s business-speak/legalese, but it has the sore loser written all over it.

    “While we respectfully disagree (*) with the magistrate judge’s decision to award extraneous (*) fees – including on counterclaims that the defendant herself brought and dropped (*) – it is important to note this decision is only a recommendation (*) and falls significantly short (*) of defendant’s requests. We will likely file an objection in short order (*).”

  6. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    Can someone explain the RIAA’s logic in calling the judge’s decision a “recommendation”?

  7. attackgypsy says:

    Old news. She’s never gonna see a dime. This is going to go on another 10 years.

  8. SacraBos says:

    File an objection? Since the judge has made his decision, sounds like they are going to have to file an APPEAL. Morons. Hopefully some of the other lawsuits regarding RIAA using Media Sentry as an unlicensed “detective” agency go through, too.

    Don’t share files, use http://www.last.fm/YouTube/etc, buy CD’s/DVD’s used, don’t feed the RIAA – go to a concert. Live performances are the only place musicians really make any money.

  9. highmodulus says:

    RIAA is still in the worst company in the world contest right? Or were they pulled because they would win every year? Is anyone even close? Even Best Buy is less evil.

  10. CharlieInSeattle says:

    I second going to concerts, this is where musicians really make their money anyway. Support Trent Reznor who is giving the music industry the big finger, and has released his last two albums for free. It must be having some positive affect for his music career because this year he’s playing a much bigger place in Seattle. BTW he not only released the album for free, but he released it under the creative commons license. To quote his website:

    “the slip is licensed under a creative commons attribution non-commercial share alike license.

    we encourage you to
    remix it
    share it with your friends,
    post it on your blog,
    play it on your podcast,
    give it to strangers,

    ©2008 NIN”

  11. vladthepaler says:

    RIAA won last year but weren’t even in the running this year. Here I am wondering if Ben is enjoying all his free CDs….

  12. vladthepaler says:

    (or come to think of it maybe they just threatened to sue?)

  13. Nighthawke says:

    If this goes all the way and the Supreme Court of the country upholds the judgment, it’ll set a precedent for the rest of the shotgun lawsuits that the ack-acks have out there.

  14. highmodulus says:

    Maybe if you win you get the next year off to keep it interesting? Otherwise the RIAA would win this year (and next too). Ben or a mod- can you confirm if that is the case? Also any chance of a Best Company in the World contest next?

    I got some Newegg love to dispense!

  15. Pro-Pain says:

    @verucalise: You are very sadly misinformed. Maybe do some research before making such a moronic post.

  16. saralegal21 says:

    @SacraBos A magistrate isn’t a judge, and a judge has to sign off on the whole thing. The magistrate makes findings and recommendations, and both sides are able to file exceptions/objections, and the judge will take all that into consideration before signing off on it. Judges usually go along with a magistrate’s findings though. But the RIAA can’t file an appeal until a judge enters the judgment officially.

  17. bradnh says:

    @Rectilinear Propagation and @SacraBos- Just to clarify a bit, the RIAA is technically correct in calling the decision a “recommendation.” The key is that this was a decision of a MAGISTRATE Judge, not the actual Federal District Court Judge. Federal District Court judges are lifetime appointees; magistrate judges serve eight year terms and have more limited powers, depending on the district in which they serve. In some districts they handle varying levels of pre-trial discovery issues but they are generally not the final arbiters or decision makers. They often are empowered to make recommendations to the District Court Judge which, although often rubber-stamped by the judge, may be modified also. Thus procedurally a litigant would indeed file an “objection” to such a recommendation. An “appeal” may only be taken from a final decision.

  18. Mr. Gunn says:

    What, you mean suing your customers ISN’T a viable business plan after all? Boy, do I have some explaining to do.

  19. RandoX says:

    Why doesn’t this have the “Hero” tag?

  20. @Pro-Pain: I researched his post, albeit briefly. What was moronic?

  21. AT203 says:

    For anyone interested in the topic of the RIAA’s extortionate and sloppy litigation campaign I have to recommend Ray Beckerman’s excellent blog [recordingindustryvspeople.blogspot.com] . Ray tracks the different developments in the RIAA’s campaign. Some of the stories of the innocent people sued are just heartbreaking. There are also some links soliciting defense funds. The RIAA targets people who can’t put on a proper defense. They set legal precedent in those cases, and then use that bad law to cudgel other defendants. It is truly despicable.

  22. Trai_Dep says:

    @Nighthawke: Do you really think the Supreme Court justices placed there by the Republicans will side with consumers? Boy, does Shrub have a bridge to sell you.

  23. midwestkel says:

    @SacraBos: They dont get as much as you pay if you go through TicketMaster.com though.

  24. Angryrider says:

    Bravo, but the fight is far from over.
    Man, they’ve no proof that she “stole” “their” music, and yet they’re still going to challenge it? I wonder how many more innocent people must fall so the fat cats can get their lunch…

  25. uberbucket says:

    All the bands I see are in clubs, bars and other smaller venues. I’ve never bought a ticket through ticketmaster and always make sure to buy band merchandise directly from them after the show.

    There are tons of good bands out there that aren’t being pimped on tv or radio, and a lot of them have no intention of ever going mainstream. It’s not always about tying to make a bajillion dollars, most of the time these guys are stoked just to get a meal and gas money.

    Support your local music scene!

  26. heavylee-again says:

    The RIAA needs to DIAF.

  27. Bladefist says:

    @Trai_Dep: I know the supreme court is an awfully complex topic for you. Let me simplify it. Their job, is to determine, if something is constitutional or not. You know, the constitution? Remember? Google it.

    Also, to say republicans are against consumers rights, is vastly incorrect. So thanks again for your worthless commentary on that. Would I be at CONSUMERIST as a republican if I was not for consumer advocacy?

    Also, I dont anyone has said this yet, and it must be said, f@$$% the riaa

  28. tristax says:

    @highmodulus: Since when is the RIAA a company? I thought it was a group of companies.
    @Trai_Dep: The Supreme Court ideally reasons through the law, so it’s party appointment is no guarantee of how cases will be decided. That’s my optimistic reading of the role of SCOTUS.

  29. Trai_Dep says:

    Well, let’s see: the Supremes outlawed states letting terminally ill citizens use medical marijuana because of its impact on interstate commerce – which pot has no realistic impact on. And they rejected counting Florida’s ’00 Presidential votes based on… On… On black roses pulled from their anus?
    The Conservative wing of the Supreme Court has shown quite plainly that it doesn’t let the Constitution carry much weight in its deliberative process.

    Show where Conservatives have pushed for a vast array of Consumer-empowering legislation over empowering entrenched interests and Big Business. It should be easy. Right?

    Yet again, you’re at odds with your ideology. You hate (hate!!) the RIAA, yet your party is the most likely of the two to sell us down the river for a couple grand in contributions. And underaged, naked boys.

  30. Bladefist says:

    @Trai_Dep: You had a semi-point. But I like how they ruled, I would prefer not to turn my America into Amsterdam. As far as the supreme court, conservs and libs alike, shouldn’t be pushing any agendas. That is the job of congress. So I would be against left/right wing agendas.

    However I will say I strongly support constructionalism of the constitution, and they are typical conservatives.

    I hate the RIAA because they pick on weak. In most of my beliefs, I am a republican. However I am not a zealot, nor am I the poster boy for republicans. I still have free thought. My main issue with RIAA, is at some level, the government is involved. Thats a no no. And I think they make absurd frivolous law suits. That cost all of us money.

    So, can I hate the RIAA and be republican too? pretty please?

  31. highmodulus says:

    @tristax: Since they won the Worst Company in the World contest here, hence our discussion as to why they were not in the contest again this year.

  32. chocxtc says:

    Very cool!!! I absolutely hate the RIAA busters!! The RIAA is a prime example of idiots that chose to fight innovation and when it came back to bite them in the ass they decided to do the good ole American company thing, sue the little guy for “damages”

  33. TechnoDestructo says:


    That’s because of a new rule: The worst company of the year has to actually provide products or services to consumers. RIAA MEMBERS would be eligible, but the RIAA itself is not.

    I’m not sure if serving legal papers counts, though, so maybe they should be eligible.

  34. Trai_Dep says:

    @Bladefist: You’ve just demonstrated that you have no moral compass: we’re either a nation of laws or one led by personality cults. You’ve opted for the latter (you don’t get to pick and choose when the Constitution applies based on the outcome). What a strange world you must live in.
    Over the summer, try reading The Federalist Papers. I have, it’s obvious you haven’t. How sad for you: it’s not enough to call yourself a patriot, you really need to live as one. What a sad world you must live in to be constantly rooting for leaders that so contradict your core values (RIAA is only one of many).

    I’m waiting for you to list the dozens of measures that Conservatives have pushed into law that benefit consumers over entrenched, monied interests. Guess I’ll be waiting for a while, huh?

    Anyway, we’re done.

  35. eblack says:

    @Trai_Dep: Way to whip out the pretentious historical literature reference before going off on an incoherent rant about being a patriot. You know how people keep accusing liberals of being elitist? Way to prove their point.

    On the original topic, the most important thing to come out of this is precedent. The RIAA is going to drag out paying that for years, and it’s really not that much money. What we need is either a multi-hundred-million dollar fine, or to just start executing executives.

    Actually, executing executives is a good solution to a lot of problems.

  36. Trai_Dep says:

    Sorry, but anyone mentioning the Constitution really owes it to himself to read the Federalist Papers. It’s not that much of a slog – it was written for a mass audience, ferchissakes – and it’s pretty skinny of a book.
    Especially if they mis-cite it in an argument about the limited powers of the Federal government. Constantly. While wrapping themselves smugly around the flag.
    It’s not “elitist”. It’s informed.

    Heh, that said, we’re on the same side of this RIAA thing, so… Friends? :)

  37. lestat730 says:

    High five for Tanya, your a true hero!

  38. morganlh85 says: