Lawsuit could force American recording industry body to reveal investigation techniques

The hunted becomes the hunter in a US legal case

A US woman whose lawsuit against the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) was thrown out by a federal judge last month plans to file an amended complaint in a move that could finally force the industry group to share details about its controversial techniques for investigating alleged file sharers.

The closely watched case involves Tanya Andersen, a disabled single mother who in June 2005 was accused by the RIAA of illegally downloading and distributing copyrighted music files. The case (Atlantic Recording v Andersen) was voluntary dropped by the RIAA in August 2007 amid a flurry of counter-claims by Andersen, who accused the organization of malicious prosecution, libel, negligence, invasion of privacy, electronic trespass and fraud.

After the lawsuit was dropped by the RIAA, Andersen was allowed by the court to drop her counter-claims and file them instead as a direct legal action against the RIAA. That lawsuit was filed in August 2007 and charged the RIAA and five music labels with a string of misdeeds. Andersen's lawsuit included charges that the recording labels had used unlicensed investigators to illegally gather evidence against her and that the RIAA had violated the US Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act.

Andersen's suit was dismissed on February 19 by US District Court Judge Anna Brown. In her ruling, Brown said that Andersen had failed to adequately state her claims for relief and gave her until March 14 to file an amended complaint clearly identifying the legal basis for each of her claims. The judge also noted that the court would not permit any more motions to dismiss the case by the RIAA.

That means if Andersen's amended complaint passes muster, the RIAA will be forced, for the first time in its pursuit of illegal music sharers, to disclose its investigative technique, according to Lory Lybeck, the US-based attorney for Andersen.

"We are going to have discovery," Lybeck said. "That's important because [the RIAA] has spent three years actively refusing to provide any discovery of any significance in the growing number of cases," that it is pursuing, he said. "It is very important for them to operate in secrecy because once their methodology is revealed it will be obvious they committed a crime," he said.

According to Lybeck, the amended complaint will ask the RIAA to provide details on a variety of issues including how exactly Media Sentry goes about collecting its evidence against alleged copyright infringers, when the RIAA first engaged Media Sentry to carry out such investigations, and how it decides which file sharers to sue.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jaikumar Vijayan

Computerworld
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?