Accused file trader fights back

A New York woman, identified only as "nycfashiongirl," has become the first alleged illegal file trader to fight a copyright subpoena served by the music industry on her Internet provider.

Nycfashiongirl's lawyers have asked a US federal magistrate to delay the subpoena till at least Sept. 10, while they complete a lawsuit against her accusers, the Recording Industry Association of America. The music industry wants her ISP Verizon Internet Services, to turn over her name, address, phone number and e-mail address.

The lawyers, Richard S. Ugelow, Glenn W. Peterson and Daniel N. Ballardare, are suggesting that the recording industry broke the law during its investigation of Nycfashiongirl and violated constitutional protections when it searched music files on her computers.

"This is more invasive than someone having secret access to the library books you check out or the videos you rent," Peterson said in a statement. "The recent efforts of the music industry to root out piracy have addressed a uniquely contemporary problem with Draconian methods - good old-fashioned intimidation combined with access to personal information that would make George Orwell blush."

Court papers reportedly indicate that the lawyers will allege that the RIAA violated state and federal laws and Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable searches, when it intercepted the woman's Internet address during its review of file sharing networks. The legal motion, filed in Washington D.C., also alleges that the subpoena process has violated her rights to due process, privacy and anonymous association - and her contract with Verizon.

Nycfashiongirl is the first person to fight the estimated 1,300 similar subpoenas issued by the RIAA. She is accused of offering more than 900 copyrighted songs for download along with 200 other computer files and at least one movie file. The court orders used to identify downloaders are intended to gather information to file copyright lawsuits against them.

The RIAA has rejected the lawyers' claim that it has improperly affiliated itself with law enforcement during the subpoena process and insists that Fourth Amendment provisions do not apply. It contends that a federal court has already upheld the subpoena process and ruled that file traders are not anonymous when distributing music online.

Nycfashiongirl must first petition the court for the right to challenge the subpoena herself.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), in San Francisco,which is assisting others who have received subpoenas, has pointed out that in libel and defamation cases, the law allows individuals to intervene in ISP subpoenas when their privacy is at stake. EFF has pointed out correctly that individuals must be given the ability to challenge the subpoenas before their identities are revealed.

If it is found, for instance, that the music files on their computers were ripped from their own collection of purchased music, the RIAA has no right to their personal information. Court documents reportedly indicate that Nycfashiongirl used the Kazaa P2P software as a music player to listen to music she ripped from her own CDs and other music that was preloaded on her computer. She says she also participated in Kazaa file trading but tried to block other downloaders from accessing her files.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Ann Harrison

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?