Friday, October 28, 2005

New Round of Secret RIAA Lawsuits against College Students whose computers may have used "i2hub"

On October 26th the RIAA commenced a new round of copyright infringement lawsuits against 745 individuals, including computer network users at 17 colleges.
RIAA President Cary Sherman said the college students are guilty of "theft".

The lawsuits were commenced by filing, and only named "John Does", so the college students involved do not even know they have been sued.

They will not know until months, or even years, later. Meanwhile, various judicial proceedings will have taken place, with only the RIAA represented.

The people "sued" are people who may have had IP addresses that were associated in some way with peer-to-peer services such as Grokster, Kazaa and LimeWire.

This particular round of lawsuits targeted computers from which someone may have used the file-sharing application i2hub.

This round of litigation marks the fourth time the music industry has attacked IP addresses that are part of university computer networks, for a total of 635 lawsuits at 39 campuses this year.

These secret lawsuits target students at Boston University, Carnegie Mellon University, Columbia University, Drexel University, Georgia Institute of Technology, Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Michigan State University, New York University, Ohio State University, Princeton University, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Rochester Institute of Technology, University of California – Berkeley, University of Massachusetts – Amherst, University of Pennsylvania, and University of Southern California.

In addition to the John Doe "lawsuits" filed today, music companies filed lawsuits earlier this month against 81 named defendants. The names of these individuals, whose Internet Protocol (IP) addresses were previously identified in “John Doe” lawsuits, were secretly subpoenaed from their respective Internet Service Providers (ISP), which was permitted by the Courts in "ex parte" proceedings -- i.e., proceedings in which only one side, the RIAA, was represented.

Those lawsuits against named defendants were filed in federal district courts in Hartford, Connecticut; Newnan and Atlanta, Georgia; Chicago, Urbana, Rock Island and Peoria, Illinois; Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo and Marquette, Michigan; Camden, Trenton and Newark, New Jersey; Brooklyn, White Plains, New York and Long Island, New York; Greenville, Columbia, Aiken and Charleston, South Carolina; and Austin, Corpus Christi, Houston, San Antonio and Midland, Texas.

See also article by Jon Newton at p2pNet:

"745 new RIAA p2p victims"


Anonymous said...

A question:

Do the entities that download the files to prove infringement, either have permission to infringe or own the copyright outright? If so, how can their download be considered an infringement? Unless there is evidence that there has been an infringement (i.e., someone NOT authorized to 'copy' the copyrighted material has done so) how does this action prove anything in a legal sense (notwithstanding the legal position that simply having something available for someone else to take is an infringement). I am reminded of the 'tree in the forest' analogy: If a tree in the forest falls [if I share a file] and noone is there to hear it [and noone unauthorized downloads a file], did the falling tree make a sound [was there a copyright infringement]?


raybeckerman said...

The RIAA is bringing the suits without ANY evidence that the people they are suing have committed an infringement. The country should be up in arms over this.

What is worse they are bringing the suits "ex parte" -- i.e., the defendants do not even know they have been sued, and the only people in court, for months and even years are the RIAA lawyers.

It is a fundamental copyright law principle, by the way, that the copyright owner's own download is not an infringement.