RIAA Must Face Consequences of Meritless File-Sharing Lawsuits

San Francisco - The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has filed a brief with a New York district court, urging a judge to allow the target of a recording industry lawsuit to fight back with counterclaims of his own.

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has already moved to dismiss copyright infringement claims against Rolando Amurao. However, Amurao alleges that the RIAA's case is meritless and intended to harass him, so he has countersued for a declaration of non-infringement and a finding of RIAA copyright misuse. In its amicus brief, EFF argues that giving Amurao his day in court increases RIAA accountability in the industry's broad lawsuit campaign against file-sharing.

"If Amurao's allegations are true, then he has the right to clear his name," said EFF Staff Attorney Corynne McSherry. "It's simply unfair to shield copyright owners from the consequences of careless lawsuits. Counterclaims like Amurao's help make sure that the RIAA can't simply dismiss its case and walk away when an innocent target fights back."

The RIAA has sued thousands of individuals for allegedly sharing music over the Internet since its campaign began in 2003. But sloppy investigative methods have left innocent people entangled in expensive and draining legal proceedings. When the RIAA threatens someone with a lawsuit, it offers to settle the case for a carefully chosen sum that is smaller than the legal fees required to fight the accusations. Faced with this choice, some innocent people settle simply because it's the most affordable option. However, a few individuals like Amurao have decided to battle the RIAA in court. In one Oklahoma case, EFF provided amicus support to an innocent target of a file-sharing lawsuit who is fighting to have the RIAA reimburse her attorneys' fees.

For the full amicus brief:

For more on the RIAA's lawsuit campaign:


Rebecca Jeschke
Media Coordinator
Electronic Frontier Foundation

Corynne McSherry
Staff Attorney
Electronic Frontier Foundation

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