Oregon's Attorney General and University of Oregon fight back against the RIAA

*Dave Allen/Pampelmoose sent this over. You can read more music news at his site, Pampelmoose.com* 

Jan 1st 2008, a new year begins for the RIAA to undermine privacy rights…Oregon fights back

RIAA Oregon Attorney General Pampelmoose
In an effort to combat music piracy all Amazon DRM-free downloads will now be mailed to you in a box.

The Recording Industry Association of America [RIAA] is an organization that represents the major recording labels in the USA. These labels pay many millions of dollars for this representation and as the RIAA is based in Washington, DC, the RIAA acts as a lobbyist, quite literally. They often urge Congress to take their side in the “battle” against “music piracy.” The RIAA currently has a Holiday Anti-Piracy Campaign message streaming across its web site offering tips on “avoiding pirate product.” No word yet on whether that means we should not buy Pirates Of The Caribbean 3 but I jest, things are getting serious. The Oregon State Attorney General and the University of Oregon [a public entity] have taken umbrage at the RIAA's tactics after the RIAA subpoenaed the University asking it to turn over the names of students that it suspected of making copyrighted material available to filesharers. Now the keyword here is suspected.

As Oregon's Attorney General says "Certainly it is appropriate for victims of copyright infringement to lawfully pursue statutory remedies," Mr. Myers wrote last month. "However, that pursuit must be tempered by basic notions of privacy and due process."

You see the RIAA has a habit of sending out pre-litigation letters to students who it believes are the guilty filesharers. There is even a credit card payment link – p2plawsuits.com where those people who receive the pre-litigation letters can drop a cool, quick $3000 to stop the RIAA from suing them. Now let's take a deep breath and think about that…….

Ok, here's a crude analogy – you walk into a CD store and you are captured on its video surveillance camera bending down behind the CD racks. You are merely fastening your shoelace but the store owner doesn't know that. He looks at the tape and decides it's you and you were pocketing a CD. The police are called, you are identified and a summons is issued to appear in court. The store owner has to prove that a) a CD was missing from the rack after you left the store, b) that you stole it, and c) it was in fact you that was the perp. You have to prove your innocence. It's called due process. What if instead of that process taking place the store owner sends you a letter saying cough up $100 and I'll drop the charge? Well that's you being strong-armed into basically pleading guilty. As Fred Von Lohmann, a lawyer with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a civil liberties group says "People get pushed into settlements [by the RIAA], the Oregon attorney general is showing what a real fight among equals would look like."

As this New York Times article says – “The recording industry may not be selling as much music these days, but it has built a pretty impressive and innovative litigation subsidiary. In the past four years, record companies have sued tens of thousands of people for violating the copyright laws by sharing music on the Internet. The people it sues tend to settle, paying the industry a few thousand dollars rather than risking a potentially ruinous judgment by fighting in court.”

Meanwhile the RIAA announced on December 6th that “Pre- Lawsuit Letters Go To 22 Campuses In New Wave OF [sic] Deterrence Program”

Happy New Year students.

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2 Responses to Oregon's Attorney General and University of Oregon fight back against the RIAA

  1. Notorious Kelly January 2, 2008 at 19:45 #

    I hope the students and others involved don’t cave in to this corporate fascism.

    Last year I was in a shared house in Las Vegas with 4 other guys. Comcast turned off our internet because someone had allegedly downloaded copyrighted material.

    #1 – This is guilty until proven innocent.

    #2 – It is an obscene invasion of privacy to track our internet usage.

    I view the internet as any other utility; if your phone records, electricity or sewage system usage are not released to anyone desiring that information, why can your internet usage be released and even disconnected without a hearing?

  2. Notorious Kelly January 2, 2008 at 20:13 #

    Correction: It was the Cox Cable fascists. My bad.

    Here is a link to the letter:
    http://i234.photobucket.com/albums/ee287/notoriouskelly/CoxLetter.jpg

    I’ll try to embed below but I’m not sure which code might work:

    [IMG]http://i234.photobucket.com/albums/ee287/notoriouskelly/CoxLetter.jpg[/IMG]

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