Wednesday, March 12, 2008

North Carolina State University "John Doe #2" doesn't exist, MediaSentry report apparently false, reports Technician Online

Readers may recall that in the RIAA's "John Doe" case against 38 North Carolina State University students in Raleigh, North Carolina, LaFace v. Does 1-38, the judge dismissed the case as to all John Does except Doe Number 2, due to the fact that there was no basis for joining the different John Does in a single lawsuit.

As it turns out, according to a report from Technician Online, "John Doe #2" doesn't actually exist:

Students win first battle with RIAA
Judge rules in favor of the students' motion to quash a set of lawsuits dished out by the Recording Industry
Josh Harrell
Issue date: 3/12/08 Section: News

In the first public fight against the Recording Industry Association of America since the group first started passing out lawsuits two years ago, eight students won a motion to quash on Feb. 27, as a judge ruled to drop the lawsuits.

And on Monday, Greensboro attorney Stephen Robertson filed a second motion to quash with four new students against the RIAA in hopes that the judge will drop their lawsuits.

The judge ruling with the students is a positive sign for future cases, according to Pam Gerace, director of Student Legal Services.

The reason the judge ruled against the RIAA, Gerace said, was because the RIAA had filed the lawsuits in bunches, not individually. The judge dropped all of the 34 lawsuits given out in August except for one, noting that lawsuit as one individual lawsuit.

But that lawsuit, labeled Doe No. 2, cannot be found by the ResNet. Typically, the University is able to locate each anonymous downloader by his or her IP addresses. In the case of Doe No. 2 though, the IP address could not be linked to a certain individual.
Complete article.

[Ed. Note. Could this be an indication that the RIAA's unlicensed investigator, MediaSentry, doesn't know what it's doing? Perish the thought. -R.B.]

Commentary & discussion:

Keywords: digital copyright law online internet 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 intellectual property


Anonymous said...

While this appears to be poetic justice, or true irony, why was Doe #2 kept? Normally aren't all Does after Doe #1 severed when improper joinder is determined?


Rick Boatright said...

It could, but the article states that they can't tie the IP to an individual. The IP could be a router with several PC's behind a nat (dorm room or on-campus apartment for example, my daughter had three roommates with an in-room router)

It does take us back to the old -- nay ancient -- argument than an IP address is NOT AN INDIVIDUAL.

Or, as Patrick McGoohan used to say: "I am not a number, I am a human being!"

-_ Rick

Anonymous said...

hopefully this will help to expose the rouse and gambit that the riaa's been playing at the courts' expense.

Anonymous said...

Reminds me of old archived emails and Usenet posts from annoyed sysadmins dealing with MediaSentry complaints over unassigned or nonexistent IP addresses. My Google-fu is weak at the moment, but I know the messages are still out there.

David Lasky said...

Actually, the statement "certain individual" probably means that there is a NAT device in the way. Maybe an open wireless network in the library or cafeteria?
Or maybe the school contacted the student, and the student proved it was using a nat device.
I agree that mediasentry probably doesn't know what it is doing, but I think the explicit text indicates that there was a NAT device.

Alter_Fritz said...

XK-E asked why it was #2 and not #1 who was kept.

you are right XK-E normaly it's "the number one" that is kept.

See my answer why not this time on Rays earlier post already linked above where that question came up for the first time and Ray did not object to my explaination so I guess I read the decision correctly back then :-)

Unknown said...

At NCSU, almost all machines are assigned top level IP addresses. (152.###.###.###) This includes dorm residences. IP addresses are matched to MAC addresses and anytime that association changes it is logged. In this case, the RIAA identified an IP address as belonging to an infringer when in fact the IP address had never been assigned.

This wasn't an issued of a NATing device causing ambiguity. This was a case of the RIAA trying to accuse a person who never existed. They somehow came up with an IP address that was never in use. To me, it sounds like they are just making up lists of numbers.

Hell, I can make up a list of dates, times and IP address right now. Some of them might even match to an actualy piece of computer hardware. Maybe I can sue one of the laser printers in Sullivan Hall, my old dorm back in the day. Goodness knows I'm entitled to damages for all the frustration those things have caused me.

I can has discovery?