Slowly, we're putting together a How-To on defending yourself from fishing expedition lawsuits by the Intellectual Property (IP) industries. This case provides a good deal of illustration for that How-To.
The fact of the matter is that these corporations have been using the threat of their vast wealth and the droves of lawyers it buys to intimidate the little guys (read: us) into paying settlements for cases that are leagues away from air-tight convictions. With the ubiquity of wireless networks these days it's utterly impossible to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the owner of an internet connection committed the intellectual property violation they are standing accused of - and that's just the beginning of the problems with proving these cases.
We've always needed just a few of these cases to be fought to the defense's successful conclusion for a precedent to be set down. This is why the RIAA has dropped so many cases against people that seemed determined to fight, rather than having this losing precedent established. Now that we're beginning to build case law, the numbers of these intimidation lawsuits should decrease markedly. How nice.