The order read: ‘Although plaintiffs are entitled to statutory damages, they have no right to silence defendant’s criticism of the statutory regime under which he is obligated to pay those damages.’ It turns out I no longer had to give a nudge nudge wink wink when I told people: ‘Of course, you shouldn’t download!’
And so this order was representative of the legal results we’d received from the case: absurdly disproportionate remedies interspersed with bits of sanity. Though they’d succeeded in fining me, the RIAA hadn’t yet found a way to circumvent the constitutional rights to free speech of the people it sued. And therein lies the potential to restore balance. Just as a huge organisation like the RIAA has every advantage in a legal system where every word and piece of evidence can be censored on technicality, we have the advantage in a world of transparency and free speech.