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
    Mike, 26 Jun 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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