Video Game Law Blog

October 03, 2005

This isn't exactly a video game law story, but it's close enough. The reason we're reporting it is because it provides a great laundry list for counsel who are drafting counterstatements or statements of defence.

As you know, theRecording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has been busy filing lawsuits against thousands of individuals who have allegedly violated copyright by sharing MP3 files online. 

The RIAA has had some PR problems in the past (e.g., when it sued a 12 year old honours student and an 83 year-old grandmother).  The RIAA has just encountered another PR problem with its lawsuit against a 42 year-old, disabled, single mother. 

The interesting part of this story is that the mother filed a lawsuit in response. And she's not shy  she's suing for RICO violations, fraud, invasion of privacy, abuse of process, electronic trespass, violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, negligent misrepresentation, deceptive business practices and"?we like this one"?the tort of 'outrage"?. We'd never heard of that one before. 

This highlights an important point when you're faced with a breach of your intellectual property rights, you have to respond carefully. Your intellectual property is valuable and you must protect it (in fact, if you don't protect it you can lose some or all of your rights). And a lawsuit can be a very effective way to protect your IP. However, sometimes a lawsuit isn't the best choice. 

Sony is well aware of this (and has experienced several litigation-related PR issues in the past). Perhaps this is why Sony decided to sue retailers"?instead of consumers"?to prevent grey-market PSPs from entering other markets ahead of schedule. 

RIAA coverage at