Things will get very ugly over the next few months for the RIAA, if one disgruntled file sharing lawsuit victim gets her way. Tanya Andersen, the single mother who filed a countersuit against the RIAA after the organization mistakenly sued her for sharing music online, attempted to hold it responsible for all sorts of heavy infractions. RIAA could be forced to release potentially incriminating details about its techniques for investigating alleged file sharers. This information would likely be held under a confidential seal, but if lawsuits over mold, tobacco, and asbestos are any indication, the RIAA’s secrets will likely leak out into the legal community at large, potentially culminating in a class-action lawsuit.

Once Tanya Andersen files her amended Complaint, which the RIAA is barred from contesting this time around, the organization could have to explain the following details by producing documents and allowing major-label anti-piracy executives to be deposed:

– How much the RIAA’s lawyers make
– Why the average file sharing settlement fee is $4-5K
– How it decides which file sharers to sue, and which ones not to sue
– Where the settlement money goes (i.e. whether any of it makes it to the artists)

If it turns out that the RIAA is paying its investigators (such as MediaSentry) a percentage of the settlements that result from their investigations, it is in even more trouble.  That’s illegal in many states, according to Ratoza, including New York. Even without a class action lawsuit, the RIAA nutshell is likely to split wide open after Andersen’s case hits the discovery phase, causing problems in subsequent cases.  Ratoza expects the discovery phase in Andersen’s case to start in about 90 days, and said it will last 4-6 months.

Source: Wired

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