p2p news / p2pnet: The Big Four Organized Music record labels continue to pile insult on injury, sending subpoenas to another 235 people for allegedly committing the non-existent crime of “illegal file sharing”.
Owned by Warner Music, Sony BMG, Vivendi Universal and EMI, the new RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) action brings the total number of people subpoenaed to around 19,000, while some 61 million Americans are said to have shared online.
“Friday’s lawsuits, filed in federal courts on behalf of the major record labels, allege that users from California to the Carolinas illegally distributed music via peer-to-peer or file-swapping services such as Kazaa,” says the Charlotte Observer.
The Big Four claim file sharing without their knowledge or permission is a crime, firing subpoenas at men and women, and even young children. And they’ve come up with a new tactic, p2pnet has learned.
They’re trying to turn friend against friend.
They already use children to try to get at mothers and fathers. But that isn’t enough. The RIAA now wants to use the American legal system to raid the computers of people who may, or may not, have swapped files with others, and who aren’t even named in legal actions.
Think of the possibilities!
Recently, RIAA victim Tanya Andersen, the disabled woman who sued the RIAA under the RICO (Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organization) act, won a major victory over the RIAA.
Said to have shared files online, she vigorously denied it and for months, unsuccessfully tried to get the RIAA to examine her hard-drive so they could see for themselves that she’d done nothing wrong.
Finally, the Big Four decided that might be a good idea after all. Unfettered access to Andersen’s computer? Think of the possibilities!
But it didn’t work out like that. Instead, Andersen won a court order which allowed her to hire her own investigator to look for very specific items, preventing the RIAA from freely raiding her system.
However, the pseudo police organization was yesterday planning to carry out an unchecked ‘examination’ of a computer owned by someone who hadn’t even appeared on its hit list of alleged file-sharing thieves.
The current RIAA law firm was hoping the victim, the friend of someone who’d received a subpoena, would be stupid enough to take the computer to the offices of an associated company. And if not, it generously offered to send its own investigator to the potential victim’s home.
It somehow neglected to mention that, following the precedent set by Andersen, the person could retain his/her own technician, and that the RIAA could be confined to looking only for named items rather than being able to roam freely.
Subpoenas aren’t court cases
Meanwhile, subpoenas mean very little in and of themselves. They’re simply documents calling for an appearance in court to give testimony about something.
And file sharing is neither illegal nor a crime. It’s possible copyright infringement, pure and very simple.
And yet the labels have managed to convince the mainstream media that a subpoena equals a prosecution, and that recipients are convicted thieves.
However, file sharing means sharing, not stealing.
No one has been deprived of something they used to own, no money has changed hands and in fact, file sharing could be said to represent a form of unpaid advertising for artists the labels supposedly represent.
Despite the many mainstream reports of the numbers of people ‘prosecuted’ so far, not one of the victims has ever appeared before a judge.
New York’s Patti Santangelo will be the first to explain to a civil jury that she’s committed no ‘crime’ and is completely innocent of allegations laid before her by the Big Four.
Charlotte Observer – CRIAA federal lawsuits include 10 from N.C., April 22, 2006
use children – RIAA Chan case dismissal, April 21, 2006
sued the RIAA – RIAA p2p file share defeat, March 19, 2006
first to explain – Patti Santangelo update, April 15, 2006