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.

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Are The RIAA's Investigation Techniques Illegal?”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
Anonymous Coward says:

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.

|333173|3|_||3 says:

Re: 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.

Mike says:

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.

DCX2 says:


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…

Don says:

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.

Wyndle says:

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.

Brandon Eubanks says:

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.

GeoFront says:

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.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...