In the long list of copyright cases brought by the Recording Industry Association of America, this one stands out for all the drama it provided, and depending on which side you talk to, the amount of precedent-setting decisions involved. Usenet.com lawyers argue the presiding judge diluted the power of the landmark 1984 Betamax case. RIAA attorneys sigh, and say their opponents are just trying to inflame the public.
In what became a provocative sideshow during the proceedings, the RIAA alleged that Usenet.com destroyed evidence and prevented employees from being questioned by RIAA lawyers, going so far as shipping some of them off on extended trips to Europe. Presiding U.S. District Judge Harold Baer, of the Southern District of New York, was unamused and sanctioned Usenet.com.