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Thread: First Filesharer To File Lawsuit Againt Riaa

  1. #1
    Recording industry's subpoenas met with legal challenges

    By Mike Snider, USA TODAY

    As the record industry's campaign against home music swappers expands, legal challenges are building as well.

    The Recording Industry Association of America has filed more than 1,200 subpoenas since July, and court clerks are seeing more every day. The subpoenas seek identities of home users accused of copyright infringement.

    Now, a Sacramento attorney plans to file a motion this week in U.S. District Court in Washington on behalf of one of them the first legal action by an individual targeted in the RIAA's campaign.

    The argument is a new one in the increasingly contentious battle over the blizzard of subpoenas being served to colleges and Internet service providers: Just because a user's PC has music files stored within a peer-to-peer file-sharing program doesn't mean the user is illegally distributing copyrighted material, says attorney Daniel Ballard. Distribution implies sending, rather than leaving something where it may be taken, he says.

    "It is an assumption they (the RIAA) are making," says Ballard, who will file a "Jane Doe" case for a user whose personal information has been subpoenaed.

    The RIAA wouldn't comment before the motion is filed but said it asked the court to force ISP Verizon to turn over the user's information, after which it would discuss any issues with the individual.

    This brings "another dimension to the fight," says Fred von Lohmann, an attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which is leading the battle against the record industry's targeting of individuals. "Actual subscribers have a perspective that has so far been absent."

    The RIAA says it intends to file hundreds of lawsuits against the biggest offenders, starting later this month or in early September. A federal judge in April ordered Verizon to supply identities of customers accused of sharing copyrighted files, a ruling that set off the flurry of subpoenas. Verizon is appealing the decision; a court date is set for Sept. 16.

    Other recent developments:

    A federal judge ruled late last week that RIAA subpoenas issued in Washington, D.C., to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Boston College were invalid. Both schools argued that the subpoenas should have been issued in Massachusetts and that they did not have sufficient time to respond. Columbia University filed a similar motion last week.

    Earlier this week, the Net Coalition, a group representing dozens of ISPs, sent a letter to RIAA president Cary Sherman questioning the validity of its campaign. In addition to the cost that ISPs face in complying with the RIAA subpoena process, "we are concerned over the broad implication of turning over all this personal information," says executive director Kevin McGuiness.

    Two weeks ago, Pacific Bell sued the RIAA, differing with its interpretation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, the 1998 law that eases the subpoena process when used by copyright holders seeking to halt infringements.

    On Friday, the RIAA filed a motion asking the court to enforce subpoenas sent to Pacific Bell and the parent corporation, SBC.

    The RIAA has sent copies of its subpoenas to the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. Chairman Sen. Norm Cole- man, R-Minn., demanded information about "this barrage of RIAA subpoenas," saying he was "concerned about the potential for abuse" in the subpoena process.

    Meanwhile, hundreds of people who have been notified by their Net providers that their names have been subpoenaed are anxiously wondering whether, or when, the RIAA will sue them.

    Heather Gillette, 23, of Revere, Mass., has removed the 3,000 songs she had on her PC. Based on the RIAA's statements, Gillette figures the group could seek more than $2 million from her.

    "It's unrealistic, but I definitely freaked out," she says. "The fact that they can go see what I've downloaded bothers me to begin with, but to actually go ahead with (a lawsuit), I really hope not."

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  3. File Sharing   -   #2
    An interesting point. Since the RIAA doesn't download the files you offer you could claim that it wasn't copyrighted music. Basically using their spoof tactics against them. Just because it has the name of a copywritten song, doesn't mean it's actually that song. The RIAA should know all about that tactic

    (I posted my opinion in a reply because it could just be glossed over while reading the story)

  4. File Sharing   -   #3
    You guys are missing the point

    Because the RIAA is currently requesting subpoenas based on searching for song titles and corresponding users' IP addresses, Ballard believes he has a strong case because the RIAA apparently doesn't actually attempt to download songs found on users' systems to prove that distribution has occured.
    They are filing these lawsuits based on THE NAMES OF STUFF in your share directory...

    1. Spoof Filenames?

    2. Encrypt file names/Decrypt on Request?

    Hee hee hee

  5. File Sharing   -   #4
    Generally the RIAA does not seek out file traders, they hire others to do so. BayTSP is one and so is Mediaforce for example. It is the people who they hire that download and verify files.

    The lawsuit in question was filed because these companies scan your shared folder and assume that you are "Trading" all of these files when in fact you only traded the one they downloaded. Therefore when the RIAA goes for a subpeona they are accusing the Trader of "Distributing" these files when in reality the RIAA has absolutely no proof that the trader is. Therefore the information used to obtain the subpeona is false and the subpeona will be "Quashed" and the case will be thrown out. A lawsuit is the easiest way to do this otherwise you would have to do it on an individual basis for each subpeona making it difficult and expensive.

  6. File Sharing   -   #5
    hmm, they say that just because you have the file in a p2p prgram doesnt mean you are distributing it and such. couldnt the riaa just find out from the isp if the person dled the song? im talking about, if they already know that the song is real.


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