This is an article explaining the tactics used by the RIAA in obtaining information and evidence on illegal file-sharing, from information given by an RIAA worker himself. The RIAA hires a third party company, MediaSentry, to track down illegal file-sharers. That company then runs different peer-to-peer file-sharing programs and searches for songs specifically owned by the RIAA. They are then able to track down the specific IP address and the ISP from which the songs they find came from. They do not actually download the song however, using a digital handshake instead to let them know that the song is available for download. This complicates the matter because it is hard for me to believe that the RIAA can use a so called "digital handshake" as their main evidence when no actual download occurred. The fact that the file was in a shared folder and was ready to download does not mean the person themselves shared the file. The court case Atlantic v. Howell is a great example of this situation in which the court rule that "If the owner of the shared folder simply provides a member of the public with access to the work and the means to make an unauthorized copy, the owner is not liable as a primary infringer of the distribution right, but rather is potentially liable as a secondary infringer of the reproduction right." Also in that case the judge stated, "Unless a copy of the work changes hands in one of the designated ways, a "distribution" under ... 106(3) has not taken place," thereby negating the RIAA's claim. However, not all cases are even taken to court, and the RIAA is able to slip by with this lack of evidence by presenting it like it is their primary proof of infringement.
The article then goes on to talk about cases of a more serious nature and how the RIAA deals with it. They start off with the digital handshake but then MediaSentry personnel actually do download the songs in question. This to me seems backwards and wrong that the RIAA downloads the same songs, in the same manner, from the same programs, as the pirates they are trying to catch.
tagged copyright dmca file-sharing industry intimidation media music riaa sentrycopyright by willlly ...on 26-NOV-08
This source is the definition of the term “ex parte.” I am going to need to cite the term in my paper because it is one of the more favorite ways of the RIAA to bully people. First they find out the IP addresses of the copyright infringer through private investigations done by MediaSentry. Since IP addresses can only identify that the infringement happened on a certain computer not the specific person that shared the files, the defendant becomes a John Doe and other measures need to be taken by the RIAA. This is where the “ex parte” order comes in to play. This “ex parte” order, if granted, allows for immediate discovery of the identity of the copyright infringer. The RIAA subpoenas the ISP (Internet Service Provider) of the IP address forcing them to give up otherwise confidential information such as names and addresses. Once the RIAA obtains that information they are able to sue the person in his own name.
“Ex parte” is the term used when one party talks to the judge without letting the other party know about it, and in the USA the courts maintain that both parties have to notify the other when talking to the courts. However, the RIAA has gained so much control over the way copyright law works that the courts normally permit such an order. Although it seems very unfair, illegal, and violates the constitutional right of fair notice, the RIAA has the power and people to make such an order almost routinely successful. The “ex parte” order is one of the most important ways the RIAA can control how copyright law works, but hopefully with the rise in cases being brought to trial this power will soon diminish.
tagged file-sharing industry intimidation music riaa sentrycopyright by willlly ...on 26-NOV-08