p2pnet news | RIAA News:- There’s been no word, official or otherwise, from Warner Music, EMI, Vivendi Universal and Sony BMG’s RIAA on the allegation that MediaSentry, a company acting for the Big 4 enforcement organisation, illegally “investigated” students without a license, a crime.
Nor is it being reported by the mainstream media, normally quick to pick up and repeat any and all ‘statements’ issued by the RIAA.
However, RIAA mouthperson Jonathan Lamy says University of Oregon determination to block the subpoenas is “misguided” and, according to Associated Press, “urged higher education officials to help prevent students from pirating music”.
“It is our view that universities carry the great responsibility of educating students about many important issues, including technology, ethics, copyright law and civic responsibility,” he also observed.
No doubt university authorities the length and breadth of America will duly take note of young Lamy’s thoughts.
Meanwhile, Oregon attorney general Hardy Myers says the RIAA may be illegally spying on UO students and ferreting out data they’re not entitled to, p2pnet reported for the first time yesterday.
He and the University of Oregon are the, “first American institutions to jointly make an active and determined effort to protect state students against the depredations of the RIAA,” we said.
Quoting Recording Industry vs The People’s Ray Beckerman, we posted:
Says Recording Industry vs The People‘s Beckerman:
“In a stinging rebuke to the RIAA’s opposition papers, and in further support of the motion by the University of Oregon to quash the RIAA’s subpoena seeking the identities of the students, in Arista v Does 1-17, the Oregon Attorney General has filed reply papers which call for immediate discovery into the RIAA’s tactics, and which point out to the Court that:
- Carlos Linares, upon whose declaration the subpoena was issued, had no first hand information whatsoever;
- the RIAA’s ‘data mining’ investigation does not reveal how the files were obtained or whether they were ever shared with anyone;
- the RIAA papers did not show that any infringing activity actually took place;
- the RIAA concealed a material fact from its original ex parte motion papers â which sought to create the aura of an emergency and the need for immediate ex parte action – the fact that the University had informed the RIAA in July that the requested information had been gathered and would be preserved; and,
- the RIAA lawyers falsely implied that the Attorney General’s office had failed to ‘meet and confer’ with them prior to making the motion to quash, even though they had in fact conferred with the RIAA’s lawyers.
At the beginning of the month the EFF‘s (Electronic Frontier Foundation) Fred von Lohmann wrote:
In its brief, the university makes 5 arguments:
1) the university is already preserving information, so no need for ex parte subpoenas;
2) the subpoena imposes an undue burden because the university cannot tell who the file-sharer was without additional investigation;
3) the language of subpoena is overbroad;
4) the FERPA bars disclosure of the identifying information; and
5) Section 512(h) of the DMCA provides the exclusive mechanism for ex parte subpoenas to ISPs in these circumstances.
The last argument, if accepted by the court, could radically change the nature of the RIAA’s 4-year litigation campaign against music fans. Currently, the recording industry’s strategy relies on pressuring universities into handing over student targets, either by having the university deliver “pre-litigation settlement letters” to students or, failing that, forcing universities to respond to subpoenas obtained after filing a “John Doe” lawsuit.
And significantly, “If these avenues are blocked, the recording industry would have to undertake its own investigatory efforts to determine who to sue.”
However, as Beckerman points out with respect to the UO case:
MediaSentry appears to have been conducting an investigation without an investigator’s license, in violation of ORS 703.045 and ORS 703.993(s), which is a crime; and,
The deposition testimony of the RIAA’s expert witness Doug Jacobson in UMG v Lindor tends to indicate that the RIAA has already illegally accessed private information on the computers of University of Oregon students.
The RIAA has failed to provide an affidavit of the individual who actually conducted the ‘investigation’.
Associated Press – Oregon says music industry spies on students, November 29, 2007
p2pnet – RIAA may be spying on students: Oregon AG, November 29, 2007
Recording Industry vs The People – Oregon Attorney General’s Reply Papers Go on the Offensive, Seek Investigation of RIAA Tactics, in Arista v. Does 1-17, November 29, 2007
EFF – Oregon Fights Back Against RIAA Subpoena, November 2, 2007
Doug Jacobson – RIAA ‘expert’ gainsays own evidence, October 3, 2007
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