June 27, 2007

A Mom goes "Over the Top" at RIAA

In poker, when someone raises you and you make a big re-raise, you are said to be “going over the top” of your opponent. You’re not only standing your ground, you’re asserting the strength you expressed when you made your initial bet. You’re aggressively telling your opponent “you just made a big mistake by raising me.”

A disabled, single mother from Beaverton has filed a federal lawsuit against the Recording Industry Association of America, claiming that she is the victim of abusive legal tactics, threats and illegal spying as part of an overzealous campaign to crack down on music pirating.

The recording industry sued Tanya J. Andersen, 44, in 2005, accusing her of violating copyright laws by illegally downloading music onto her computer. Andersen claims in a suit she filed last week in U.S. District Court in Oregon that the recording industry refused to drop its case after its own expert supported her claims of innocence.

The RIAA accused her of downloading some pretty misogynistic music, ignoring all the evidence to the contrary. She was not a fan of the music she was accused of stealing according to the record club of which she was a member. She was able to easily locate the teenaged boy who used the screen name she was accused of using — and his MySpace page admitted to illegal downloading.

They were hell bent on persecuting her for a few thousand bucks just for the sake of not having to back down. It was so important to them that they never back down that at no point did their lawyers take a time out to apply some common sense and ask whether they were in the right. Clearly, the idea of being right was foreign to them — unnecessary. To be right, you have to ask the question “am I right?” Their attitude was one of “might makes right.” By threats and persistence, they just figured they would intimidate her into backing down. The threats included:

  • We will financially ruin you
  • We will interrogate and intimidate your 10 year old daughter
    • (A woman claiming to be the girl’s grandmother was snooping for info at the girl’s former elementary school)
  • We will not stop until you pay us thousands of dollars

After she filed a counter suit for their illegal and abusive tactics, RIAA lawyers eventually came to the conclusion that they would be happier if she dropped that suit, and so they offered to drop theirs in return for Ms. Andersen giving up her rights and dropping her suit.

Instead of taking that deal, she demanded they provide proof she violated their copyrights. They dropped their suit. She is continuing with hers.

Tanya J. Andersen, a disabled, single mother, is a hero in my eyes. Bullies, like the RIAA, are on a power trip. It takes someone who is willing to fight to show them that not everyone is so easy a target for their abuse. She was right, she showed them that they had overplayed their hand, and without the evidence they needed they were forced to slink away.

I only hope that she can find justice when the court hears her case against the RIAA.

Posted by James at June 27, 2007 9:08 PM
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Good for her. I hope they rue the day.

Posted by: Chuck S. at June 28, 2007 1:53 PM

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