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.

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  1. identicon
    Don, 26 Jun 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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