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RIAA told to pay legal fees for harrassed defendant

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Tanya Andersen, a single mother and unlikely file-sharers' champion for hoisting the RIAA with its own petard, has scored another victory.

A US District Court judge in Oregon affirmed an earlier decision to award Andersen attorneys' fees for the two-and-a-half year legal pursuit by the Recording Industry Ass. of America, that ultimately ended in dismissal. The latest poop on Andersen was spotted by hawk-like focus of Recording Industry vs The People.

The whole mess started when Andersen was sued by the RIAA in February 2005. The label cabal accused the disabled 44-year-old mother of downloading and distributing gangster rap over the Kazaa music sharing network under the handle "gotenkito." (Titles such as the 2003 Ludacris tune, "Hoes in My Room," in which the artist inquires who invited several undesirable women into his penthouse, and describes them in humorous detail.)

Andersen denied the allegations and countersued the RIAA later that year for fraud and racketeering.

Throughout the legal battle she accused the RIAA of using threats underhanded tactics to find evidence. (The RIAA couldn't find proof on her computer that she shared files). Notably, she claimed RIAA agents tried to contact her then 10-year-old daughter at school by impersonating the girl's grandmother on the phone.

In June 2007, the RIAA agreed to drop charges against Andersen, just hours before the court deadline to submit proof that she illegally downloaded the copyrighted material.

The case was then dismissed with prejudice, meaning Andersen could attempt to recover attorneys' fees from the RIAA. Andersen also dismissed her own countersuit without prejudice in order to pursue a separate malicious prosecution lawsuit against the RIAA.

The fees were awarded to Andersen by a federal magistrate judge last September. The RIAA quickly appealed the decision. But the magistrate's ruling was affirmed yesterday by Judge James Redden.

As a result, the RIAA will have to pay some amount to Andersen, but the amount is not apparent.

Andersen is also still pursuing her lawsuit against the RIAA and is seeking class-action status for others to join her. ®

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