Are The RIAA's Investigation Techniques Illegal?

from the put-to-the-test dept

Having victims of the RIAA's shotgun legal approach fight back is certainly nothing new. In fact, having people charge the RIAA with racketeering for its actions has happened quite a few times at this point. However, this latest case against the RIAA is a little different. Filed by the same woman who charged the RIAA with racketeering two years ago, Tanya Andersen, the latest case doesn't just focus on the legal strategy, but also on the technology strategy of spying on what users are uploading -- again claiming it violates both racketeering laws and computer fraud and abuse laws. It notes that the process by which the company MediaSentry tries to figure out who is offering files isn't just flimsy, it's illegal.

Ray Beckerman has a link to the full complaint (warning: pdf file). It talks about how flimsy the evidence is, how it's easily falsified, how MediaSentry knew that -- and how it still claims that it offers positive identification on uploaders. The suit also points out that in Oregon (where the suit is filed), MediaSentry is not properly licensed as a private investigator, which breaks the law. Then, the suit goes in for the kill -- focusing on how the RIAA proceeds to use this weak and flimsy evidence to bully and scare people into paying up, abusing their private information and not giving them nearly enough time (or information) to counter the claims. The filing also contains a rather detailed description of the specific actions the RIAA took to intimidate Andersen and her daughter -- despite Andersen providing an awful lot of evidence that she was completely innocent of the charges. It's quite a filing, and should make for an interesting case should it get anywhere. The RIAA will likely do as much as it can to get the case dismissed or buried (as they did with Andersen's previous case), but so far Andersen has shown a very strong willingness to fight for what's right.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 26th, 2007 @ 11:26am

    Looks like the RIAA may have finally messed with the wrong bitch.

    It would be so nice if this case got somewhere. Of course if it did then the RIAA would take the lessons learned from it and setup shop in an even more underground setup and pick where it left off. And that is assuming that they don't cover this up like most of their activities.

     

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  2.  
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    mc, Jun 26th, 2007 @ 11:41am

    finally!!!
    I was waiting for the day someone finally going fight back..
    I hope she suit this asshole so good they will stop fucking with people and follow the proper doors..

     

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  3.  
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    Mike, Jun 26th, 2007 @ 11:45am

    Rooting for Tanya

    This is an interesting turn of events in that most of the other fights where the RIAA has dismissed the initial "attack", they've also found a way to minimize or eliminate the counterclaims as well (Foster is a big exception, of course).

    With a new suit filed directly against the RIAA as well as the music companies and MediaSentry, this allows Tanya to keep fighting them regardless of what happens in the original suit by the RIAA.

    I'm hoping this new turn of events is able to bear some fruit on getting these pointless lawsuits to stop clogging our judicial system.

     

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  4.  
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    discojohnson, Jun 26th, 2007 @ 11:49am

    question

    who's paying her legal bills?

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 26th, 2007 @ 12:01pm

    Re: question

    We all should

     

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  6.  
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    dav3, Jun 26th, 2007 @ 12:14pm

    Thank you Tanya Andersen, and good luck to you!

     

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  7.  
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    DCX2, Jun 26th, 2007 @ 12:31pm

    Hmmm...

    I've read elsewhere that a lot of the evidence they use in the complaint is on public record due to previous litigation by the RIAA. So, it's not like they can just say "these charges are without merit".

    You'd think that if several different people filed similar lawsuits over racketeering, then maybe, just maybe, these common folk might be on to something...

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 26th, 2007 @ 12:49pm

    I just really want to donate some money to her.

     

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  9.  
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    Don, Jun 26th, 2007 @ 12:55pm

    Poor RIAA, so blinded by greed to trample the right of anyone - artist, consumer, or competitor - in their quest to make a buck by any and every means possible that they don't see the impending storm gathering in the distance.

    They seem totally oblivious that they've not just alienated a bunch of kids who want to ""steal" music, they've also managed to turn a number of people like myself, who was a very strong supporter of their organizations a mere five years ago, into some of their most vocal opponents, even though we have no interest or desire in the more improper uses of file sharing.

    Of course, with all the other cases, the RIAA will use any means it can think of, including substantial cash offerings, to make sure this case does not go to trial.

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 26th, 2007 @ 12:56pm

    i think thats the 1st step, this woman seems to be doing it correctly.

    maybe others will follow

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 26th, 2007 @ 12:58pm

    Re:

    I would to. Is there a fund somewhere? This could be a pivotal case for music and video sharing. RIAA will if nothing more just try to out spend her to where she finally gives in. I can think of few better ways to spend a few bucks than defending your civil liberties against these jackals.

     

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  12.  
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    GoblinJuice, Jun 26th, 2007 @ 1:12pm

    Crazy beats big!

    Sooner or later, the RIAA was going to mess with a psycho. =)

     

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  13.  
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    Ferinoch, Jun 26th, 2007 @ 1:23pm

    any chance

    That a legal fund could be made to support this lady? Sounds like it'd be a tough fight, and this case winning out would benefit us all a hell of a lot.

     

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  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 26th, 2007 @ 1:45pm

    If this succeeds, will it allow anyone who has previously settled with the RIAA to challenge the settlement agreement in court?

     

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  15.  
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    Paul, Jun 26th, 2007 @ 1:45pm

    funding

    there's no need to supply money to her cause, because if she wins, she will certainly be awarded the cost of her legal council

     

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  16.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 26th, 2007 @ 2:04pm

    Re:

    I highly doubt it. More than likely any decision that goes in this woman's favor will have a clause attached to prevent anyone who has already settled to challenge it.

     

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  17.  
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    ddiksd, Jun 26th, 2007 @ 2:11pm

    Re: funding

    well, right, but she may end up scared of losing and being offered money to withdraw...

     

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  18.  
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    Jim, Jun 26th, 2007 @ 2:22pm

    funding

    While it is true that IF she wins she may be rewarded the cost of her legal council, the game for the RIAA here is to run her out of funding BEFORE she wins. We DEFINITELY need a legal defense fund here in my opinion!

     

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  19.  
    icon
    Michael Fötsch (profile), Jun 26th, 2007 @ 2:27pm

    Re:

    Moderate your language! You seem to be listening too much to "the violent, profane, misogynistic, and racist music that the RIAA and its controlled member companies monopolize." (paragraph 5.36 of the complaint) ;-)

     

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  20.  
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    Wyndle, Jun 26th, 2007 @ 2:32pm

    She almost had them last time...

    She had them dead to rights (no pun intended) last time but since they started the suit they chose to drop the case right before the judge slammed them with the results. This time they are the defendants and it is her case to slam over their heads or lose. Three of the four major points of her case are public record and already proven. The last point already has tons of evidence documented. If this goes the way it should, the RIAA and it's members and croneys will get a major judgement against them.

     

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  21.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 26th, 2007 @ 2:41pm

    You go girl!

    Now if only you can get a judge that isn't in their pocket . . .

     

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  22.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 26th, 2007 @ 2:51pm

    If I was a lawyer, it would do it for nothing. Any of you lawyers out there game ?

     

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  23.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 26th, 2007 @ 2:56pm

    Class Action

    I hope she does well.

    So if this case is successful would a group be able to file a class action lawsuit of some sort?

    Say a racketeering or invasion of privacy case?

    Just curious.

     

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  24.  
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    Frenchy Frog, Jun 26th, 2007 @ 3:16pm

    Re: Class Action

    Count me in on the class action suit. I'd sure like to see these greedy SOB's taken to the cleaners!

     

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  25.  
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    Overcast, Jun 26th, 2007 @ 3:30pm

    GO lady go!

    We need a link to donate to her defense fund, lol

    I'll take the $$ I would have spend on CD's over the last couple months and send it her way.

     

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  26.  
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    Bob, Jun 26th, 2007 @ 4:35pm

    I just have to ask...

    Is this a Rhetorical Question?

     

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  27.  
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    Tony, Jun 26th, 2007 @ 8:22pm

    Does she really stand a chance... i mean shes just one person... with a case.... but is it a good case... what are her chances?

     

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  28.  
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    Dr. Klahn, Jun 26th, 2007 @ 9:58pm

    There's a fund

    Per Ray Beckerman's site there's a fund to which you may donate. It doesn't appear to be specific to this action, but there are a lot of other people who need help too.

     

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  29.  
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    mike allen, Jun 26th, 2007 @ 10:10pm

    Good luck to her These B*******s have ruined so many lives killed (almost ) internet radio and now plan to start on broadcast radio. She is right the only difference between the RIAA and Al Capone is they are government backed.

     

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  30.  
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    satan, Jun 26th, 2007 @ 11:13pm

    she's not..

    She's not just fighting the riaa but also the legal system.

     

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  31.  
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    John, Jun 27th, 2007 @ 4:17am

    ...same $__t, different day!

    This case illustrates the need to protect oneself by encrypting all file transfers over the net. There's lots of applications out there that can do so, thereby preventing third parties from snooping. One great file-sharing app is GigaTribe: http://www.gigatribe.com Hope Tanya wins, you go girl!

     

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  32.  
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    Brandon Eubanks, Jun 28th, 2007 @ 8:21am

    This is pointless

    This is pointless. In the end it will be consumer demand that wins out. The consumers want access to music/media at a much lower price point on a song by song basis. They also want to OWN their music. How many of you have bought a piece of media only to have it fail because somehow media companies always choose to place their media on a type of medium which is prone to failure(CD/Cassette/VHS). They then provide no CONVENIENT means to reacquire a copy of said media which they have already paid for. In many cases it's just simply been easier to go and buy it again than try to deal with the companies and get a replacement copy. Back to my point the RIAA won't be defeated in the long term by legal maneuver. It will be defeated because someone, somewhere will figure this out, and give the consumers what they want. The tipping point will be when it's easier, cheaper, and less risky in the consumers mind to get the media the legal way than the illegal way.

     

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  33.  
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    |333173|3|_||3, Aug 18th, 2007 @ 5:00am

    Re: Re:

    Why is it a problem that the RIAA monopolise "violent, profane, misogynistic, and racist music". Couldn't that be a basis for a criminal prosecution for incitement to violence, incitement to racial hatred, hate speech, racial discrimination, or any similar crime, depending ont he available selection of laws in the USA.

     

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  34.  
    identicon
    |333173|3|_||3, Aug 18th, 2007 @ 5:04am

    Re: funding

    Has anyone been in touch withthe ACLU or the EFF on her behalf? One or the other may well be willing to help collect money for her, like they did for the Santiago[?] family when they were sued the the RAA.

     

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  35.  
    identicon
    |333173|3|_||3, Aug 18th, 2007 @ 5:07am

    Re: ...same $__t, different day!

    can we please have any post mentioning Gigatribe posted to /dev/null. I for one am sick of their shills spamming on here about it.

     

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  36.  
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    GeoFront, Oct 1st, 2007 @ 9:40pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    To reply if you look into any communication law book you will find that the RIAA is not responcible for the music is protects and the music itself is protected under the First Amendment. Hate Speech or Fighting Words are null and void in this situation.

     

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  37.  
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    GeoFront, Oct 1st, 2007 @ 9:44pm

    Re: This is pointless

    This case is not just to strike at the RIAA but to protect privacy rights and expose organizations that choose to participate in illegal activities. If this case is won by the RIAA and set as a precedence then we might see more violations of your rights in the future. Music will be music but there is more at stake then illegal file sharing.

     

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  38.  
    identicon
    Joe, Oct 5th, 2007 @ 8:33pm

    All of the I.T. community should fight fire with fire against the RIAA... then make it a free distro for the masses.

    MediaSentry is a weak outfit. Exploit their weaknesses.

    And for all you lurking RIAA wannabe snoopers, bring it on bub.

     

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