Oregon Attorney General And University Of Oregon Tell The RIAA They're Not Its Free Investigators

from the can't-just-push-around-students dept

Earlier this year, the RIAA began to focus many of its file sharing lawsuits on college students. The RIAA incorrectly referred to it as an education campaign, when it might more accurately be described as pissing off the very people the RIAA needs to support any future business model (oops, too late for that). While the RIAA tried to force universities to just hand over the names of those it accused of file sharing, it was nice to see at least a few universities fight back. In most cases, this mean telling the RIAA to shove off, as it wasn’t the university’s job to help serve legal complaints. Eventually though, when subpoenas came through, most universities would hand over the info. However, it looks like the University of Oregon is taking a stand. Together with the Attorney General of Oregon, they’ve actually filed a motion to quash the RIAA’s attempt to identify students at the school. In other words, they’re not just refusing to pass on the info, they’re actively pushing back against the RIAA’s lawsuit.

Specifically, the Attorney General points out that with just IP addresses, it’s basically impossible to identify the students that the RIAA is asking the university to hand over: “Plaintiffs’ subpoena is unduly burdensome and overbroad. It seeks information that the university does not readily possess.” In order for the university to figure out who was associated with those IPs, it would involve a level of investigation that isn’t required (and shouldn’t be required) under law. In other words, the university isn’t there to be the free investigative arm of the RIAA. It doesn’t get to just throw some weak evidence over the wall and tell the university to figure out who’s responsible. Either it comes up with a better way to find the information itself, or it should stop filing these lawsuits. It should be interesting to see if this works… and if other universities follow suit.

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Companies: riaa, university of oregon

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Comments on “Oregon Attorney General And University Of Oregon Tell The RIAA They're Not Its Free Investigators”

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20 Comments
Max Powers at http://ConsumerFight.com (user link) says:

I agree 100%

I commend the University of Oregon. Any other University that gives in to this threat should have their accreditation removed for not protecting their students. This is a very similar problem that is now being litigated in my industry.

Several consumer complaint websites like mine are fighting new lawsuits of companies filing to obtain the IP addresses of consumers that have made complaints against their company. So far, none of the websites have complied that I know of and are still in litigation.

The company I’m referring to is Video Professor (that bald guy that hawks his training CD’s on infomercials) that states that they have no way of helping the consumer who complained unless they know who they really are.

I have a better idea for Video Professor, don’t rip off your customers by charging their credit cards or bank accounts fraudulantly in the first place. Any company that has over 600 complaints at the BBB must be doing something wrong.

Personally I would never give up this information, regardless of the ruling. Once we don’t protect our rights to allow third parties to make complaints, you lose the Free Speech aspect of the Internet and the consumers will never trust us again.

Hey Max says:

Re: Here's a thought

I’m no legal expert so I don’t know if this would work but why not ask the court to require Video Professor to first prove the statements in question are libel/defamatory. If the court finds the statements to be a legally protected expression of opinion, fair use of trademarks, etc. then there is no need to know WHO made those statements.

Azmo says:

Re: Re:

Doubtful, innovation would cost them money. That’s the wonderful thing about their fishing trip subpoenas, the threat is usually enough to get people to do the work for them.

When people stop rolling over for them and start standing up for themselves, the amount of money they’ll need to spend tracking down Joe Student who downloaded a few mp3’s might actually give them pause.

Fan of Mike says:

You really should fix this headline

Mike, I think you’re awesome and brilliant. That’s why the improper use of “it’s” in the headline is such a bother to me: it’s telling a lie about you by making you seem either careless or ill-informed, neither of which you are in the slightest. So please fix it asap. I honestly had trouble figuring out what the story was about because of it. I was thinking, “they’re not, but it is? What’s the sense of that?”

Bignumone (profile) says:

Good for UO, bad for grammer Nazi(s)

I have wondered for a while when people were going to tell our government we are not in the business of proving RIAA cases. I don’t want to pay taxes for that, and I don’t think it is an appropriate way for a University to be forced to use its resources! I don’t think it is OK for students to steal music, but I believe it is up to the music industry to figure out how to stop it or prosecute an investigation and take it to court.
As for the grammer Nazi, I will come out and say what so many people are dancing around with sarcasm. I like to use proper English, but it is friggen’ annoying when someone I don’t know issues an unsolicited correction! You are right, and the author might actually appreciate it.
But please, don’t help ME! I don’t want your help! Thank you if you offered.

Gary Rubenstein says:

RIAA Comlaints

I was very happy to read about the University of Oregon and the Oregon Attorney General standing up to the RIAA. Only today I was advised by my daughter a student at the University of Utah that the RIAA has filed a complaint against her IP address. I hope that the University of Utah and the Utah Attorney General fight back, as well. Leave our kids alone. College is hard enough to deal with. Now the RIAA wants to subject them to fines and/or lawsuits?

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