updated 01:30 pm EST, Thu December 18, 2008
RIAA breaking court orders
Members of the RIAA may be violating court orders in one of the latest lawsuits directed against filesharers, reports say. Motown, Universal and BMG are involved in a case dubbed Motown Records vs. John Doe, targeting a number of anonymous students at the University of Southern California. The university has been ordered to provide the names of a variety of students in the case, making it possible to extract compensation should blame be assigned.
The difficulty, according to reports, is that presiding judge Manuel L. Real also ordered record labels to use the information for "the sole purpose of obtaining injunctive relief," as opposed to financial compensation. The labels are, instead, already said to be asking for settlement money from students, typically between $4,000 and $4,500. This may run in direct contradiction to court demands.
The RIAA has typically tried to avoid full-blown trials, preferring out-of-court settlements due to the likelihood of success, the lower costs involved and the lack of negative publicity. It has however been forced into several trials, which have sometimes backfired.