Recent reports by Variety and by the Associated Press underscore the potential importance of the class action brought by Tanya Andersen against the RIAA, the record companies, Media Sentry and others, Andersen v. Atlantic.
RIAA faces serious piracy lawsuitComplete Variety article
Music org's stern policy in jeopardy
By WILLIAM TRIPLETT
A lawsuit recently filed against the Recording Industry Assn. of America could ultimately force the org to drop or dramatically change the way it uses its principal weapon in the fight against online piracy, according to experts and observers.
The case -- filed in Oregon and asserting claims under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act -- details the RIAA's alleged use of "illegal and flawed" methods when investigating people for downloading or swapping copyrighted songs without paying for them.
The plaintiff in the case, disabled single mother Tanya Andersen, claims the RIAA was aware of the faulty methods but has nonetheless filed lawsuits against innocent people in some cases.
Andersen claims she is not the only victim of such tactics and is therefore seeking class-action status for her suit. If the court grants that status, the RIAA could be facing a losing proposition because class-action suits can be extremely risky for defendants, in this case creating the potential for a big payout by the music labels.
"If class action is certified, it's more likely that the record companies would settle," said Ronnie London, an attorney versed in class-action law with the firm of Davis Wright Tremaine, which specializes in communications law.
Settlement could also lead to less aggressive legal tactics in pursuit of online pirates.
The Associated Press (via Forbes.com) reports as follows:
Woman Targets RIAA With LawsuitComplete Associated Press (via Forbes.com) article
By WILLIAM McCALL 08.29.07, 4:05 PM ET
PORTLAND, Ore. -
An Oregon woman has filed a class-action lawsuit against the Recording Industry Association of America, accusing it of illegal spying and intimidation against thousands of people across the nation to crack down on music pirating.
The lawsuit by Tanya J. Andersen claims the association and a company called MediaSentry "conspired to develop a massive threat and litigation enterprise targeting private citizens across the United States."
The lawsuit also accuses the association of violating state and federal racketeering laws.
The complaint filed August 15 in U.S. District Court in Portland claims that MediaSentry has admitted it has misidentified people suspected of illegally downloading music.
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