RIAA drops file-sharing case

In 2005, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) sued a disabled single mother with a 9-year-old daughter for allegedly downloading music over Kazaa, the file-sharing site.

Tanya Andersen, who lives in Oregon, denied engaging in music piracy and filed a countersuit accusing the record industry of racketeering, fraud and deceptive business practices, among other things.

Now, after two years in court, the RIAA, which represents 90 percent of the U.S. music industry, has dropped its claim that Andersen had illegally downloaded more than 1400 songs. The case was dismissed “with prejudice,” which means Andersen is the prevailing party and can attempt to recover attorneys fees.

Andersen, a former U.S. Justice Department paralegal, voluntarily allowed the RIAA to search her computer after the accusation was made. The RIAA continued the lawsuit even after finding no evidence of the downloaded music, court records said.

Late last month, Andersen filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that the RIAA “failed to provide competent evidence sufficient to satisfy summary judgment standards” to show that she engaged in copyright infringement.

Faced with the prospect of a case that was all but not winnable, the RIAA agreed to dismiss the case even though Andersen did not agree to drop her counterclaims. The case was unusual because the RIAA stipulated to a dismissal with prejudice, completely exonerating Andersen.