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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Filed Under: colleges, copyright, file sharing, lawsuits, music, oregon, students
Companies: riaa, university of oregon

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  1. 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.

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