Tuesday, November 13, 2007

New Mexico Judge Requires 40 Days Notice, and Full copies of all papers to "Does", in Capitol v. Does 1-16

In Capitol v. Does 1-16, the case targeting students at the University of New Mexico, Magistrate Judge Garcia issued an order which required the RIAA to:

--provide full sets of papers for each John Doe defendant, and
--give the defendants 40 days in which to review the papers with their counsel, and, if so advised, to oppose discovery.

September 9, 2007, Order, Requiring 40 days Notice and Full Sets of Papers for John Doe defendants*

* Document published online at Internet Law & Regulation

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


Anonymous said...

At last a reasoned court decision. An end to the unseemly haste.

Watch out for that MAC address requirement, however. That is clearly intended to identify the specific computer plugged in at the time of detection. And while MAC addresses can often be changed, and specific hard drives are not identified in this process, which also may be swapped, it's clear that the RIAA seeks to identify specific computers with this request.

Interesting thing is that it says that the University may provide media access control (MAC) addresses. Not that they must.

I do wonder about item #4. Just what falls under the umbrella of "…protecting Plaintiffs' rights under the Copyright Act, and for no other purpose." Does contact by the Settlement Support Center constitute protecting one's copyrights? Do press releases publicizing new defendants fall under this restriction? Does publicizing the non-Plaintiff copyright files (e.g. pornography images) allegedly found fall under this restriction? Can they only use this information in this filed case alone? The only thing I can be sure of is that the RIAA will attempt to stretch this definition as broadly as possible.

I hope someone else can explain item #5. Does this refer to someone who has successfully challenged the suit?

And can this order now still be fought on the ground of illegal joinder, since the Does, previously unknown to each other even, can now make the case that they're not related in any legal way under this joined case?

Scott said...

The MAC address issue is going to be unhelpful to the RIAA under certain circumstances. Here's why:

If one or more Does accessed the network through a wireless router, and if that router is configured to present the identical MAC address to the network for all computers connected to it (using a very common security feature in router firmware known as "MAC spoofing"), then a MAC address will only identify the router, and not any specific computer accessing it. Period.

If the router firmware / MAC spoofing issue is fully explored in the discoveries, the RIAA will be forced (eventually) to drop any case in which a wireless router is involved. Either that, or they'll have to subpoena the router owners to get the actual devices so that their configurations can be examined. If they find that the routers in question are, in fact, set up with the MAC spoofing security feature, then they will have expended a lot of time and money to kill their own cases.

A defense attorney would do well to examine this technical issue to see if it can be exploited to their clients' advantage.