This article is appearing in the November 2007 issue of the ABA Journal, the main publication of the American Bar Association:
Plaintiff to RIAA: Download This!
Accused of online music theft, Oregon woman strikes back
November 2007 Issue
By Stephanie Francis Ward
When Tanya Andersen got a letter accusing her of illegally downloading music, she thought it was a scam. The Beaverton, Ore., woman says she is ignorant of how file sharing works. And even if she wasn’t, the gangsta rap songs she was accused of stealing were definitely not her taste.
However, after a process server came to her house in 2005 with a copyright infringement action, Andersen knew it wasn’t a joke. But in July, the Recording Industry Association of America voluntarily dismissed its action against Andersen after it became clear the group had no evidence that she engaged in downloading music, says her lawyer, Lory R. Lybeck.
A few days later, Andersen filed a suit in U.S. District Court in Portland for malicious prosecution. The lawsuit alleges that the Washington, D.C.-based trade association engaged in fraud, negligent misrepresentation and the intentional infliction of emotional distress, among other claims. Andersen v. Atlantic Recording Corp., No. 3:2007cv00934. Lybeck says he is seeking class action status.
According to Lybeck, who practices in Mercer Island, Wash., near Seattle, Andersen is one of many the RIAA has wrongly accused of illegally downloading music. He says the RIAA locates possible downloaders by a method that uses information from Internet protocol addresses, which consist of a series of digits.
But, says Lybeck, no technology can determine whether files that turn up with the IP addresses are copyrighted recordings, inoperative files or decoys.
Keywords: digital copyright online law legal download upload peer to peer p2p file sharing filesharing music movies indie independent label freeculture creative commons pop/rock artists riaa independent mp3 cd favorite songs