In Capitol Records v. Foster, in federal court in Oklahoma, a case against a mother -- whose only connection to the alleged filesharing was that she was the person who paid for the internet access -- has been dismissed with prejudice.
Faced with the mother's motion for leave to file a summary judgment motion dismissing the case against her, and awarding her attorneys fees, the RIAA made its own motion for permission to withdraw its case.
The Court granted the motion and let the RIAA drop its case.
The Court went on to hold that the defendant, Ms. Foster, is the "prevailing party" under the Copyright Act and is therefore eligible for an award of attorneys fees.
The Court then indicated that it would decide the attorneys fees award question upon receipt of a motion for attorneys fees.
July 13, 2006, Order Dismissing Case and Finding Defendant to be Eligible for Award of Attorneys Fees against Plaintiffs*
For background of the case see:
Amended Answer and Counterclaims*
* Document available online at Internet Law & Regulation
The attorney for Ms. Foster is Marilyn D. Barringer-Thomson, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
Steve Gordon, a New York-based entertainment attorney, formerly in house counsel at SONY, and the author of the well known book on digital music "The Future of the Music Business", had this comment on Capitol v. Foster:
"This case demonstrates weakness in RIAA's cases in general. If they cannot back up their claims of infringement with legally required evidence, this could affect all their cases and encourage more defendants to fight back -- especially if, as in this case, the court awards attorneys fees for the defendant."
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