Saturday, May 17, 2008

In Boston University case, "John Doe" serves supboena on state police about MediaSentry

In Arista v. Does 1-21 (renamed London-Sire v. Doe 1), the case targeting Boston University students in which students have raised the illegality of MediaSentry's unlicensed investigation, the students served a subpoena on the State Police, who on January 2nd issued an order to MediaSentry to cease and desist.

The RIAA has moved to quash the subpoena.

RIAA motion to quash subpoena served on Massachusetts State Police*

* Document published online at Internet Law & Regulation

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Anonymous said...

From the RIAA motion:

"Plaintiffs first learned of the MediaSentry issue at the hearing on Does’ Motion To Quash
the Subpoena Served on Boston University."


Kip Patterson

Anonymous said...

This is absolutely astonishing!

While judges, with RIAA prodding, have said that students don't have the standing to quash subpoenas against Universities where the RIAA is seeking the student's own private, protected, information, the RIAA now seems to find the need to protect the Massachusetts State Police from the students.

This is the same RIAA that goes after non-party family members, often with no reason or evidence other than fishing and harassment, when Defendants have fought back.


How can the RIAA even consider that its THEIR duty to protect the State Police against subpoenas. Wouldn't the State Police themselves object if they feel the subpoena is unreasonable?


Anonymous said...

Ray, the RIAA argues that MediaSentry is exempt from state PI licensing requirements because their work was performed "on behalf of counsel" (i.e. lawyers), meaning that it meets one of the exemptions to the licensing requirements. Yet how can there be counsel if there was no case at the time?

This would be like a lawyer instructing their investigators to locate some criminal class (bank robbers, wife beaters, child molesters, smokers, chose your crime) so that the lawyers could then sue them for damages. At the time that the investigation there was no legal suit in progress, and the lawyers were in the process of trying to create one on the information and belief that this particular crime was being committed. After the unlicensed investigators illegally uncovered information leading to group of people believed to be committing those crimes, THEN the first lawsuit was filed. How can it be "counsel" or valid lawyer work, during this initial investigation when no suspects or court case even existed? If anything, at this initial moment, the RIAA itself was operating as an illegal investigator, who hired/subcontracted MediaSentry to perform additional illegal investigations on their behalf.

Also, if the RIAA contracted with MediaSentry as one corporation to another, how can that be "counsel" that hired them? The RIAA is a corporation, not a lawyer.

Also, when the RIAA insists that the Defendant doesn't have standing to enforce the licensing statute, don't these investigations about illegal PI activity happen when a resident of the state complains? Seems to me that somewhere it was mentioned that it takes a complaint to trigger the investigation.

The RIAA argument that even if a violation of Section 23 occurred, there is no legal basis for excluding the information MediaSentry gathered. is truly horrible. If one is to accept that legal theory then no PI need ever be licensed since they can investigate freely and have everything they illegally produce be used. The ONLY proper remedy in law here is to exclude ALL of the illegally gathered evidence, and ALL of the evidence derived from the illegally gathered evidence – and punish MediaSentry severely as well so that they won't do this again!

Finally, it is not clear that defense counsel even represents one of the defendants in this case. Ha ha ha! Lawyers just love to work for free on cases that they weren't assigned to pro bono by the courts. Yeah, that's surely what's happening here.

(What's actually happening is that the RIAA is trying to force out this Doe's identity via his/her lawyer in the event they can't get it through the University, and that they can't proceed against the other Does until they know which Doe to not proceed against. Also, if they know which Doe has fought them at this state, you can bet that this Doe will receive their harshest attention if they do discover his/her identity. Brilliant move by the Defense to retain this confusion as long as the law allows them to do so since revealing just which Doe has fought them so far WOULD IMMENSELY PREJUDICE THIS DEFENDANT in all future preceedings.)

The RIAA would like to imply that this Doe has no standing to make this request since they are (might) be a non-party. HEY RIAA, IT’S THE DOE's THAT YOU'VE SUED HERE. That makes EVERY DOE A PARTY to this action and should give them complete standing to exercise every legal right and remedy available to them!

I think that the RIAA is truly worried here.


Anonymous said...

I notice a very interesting quote in this motion:

"Plaintiffs have not yet received the information necessary to identify the Doe Defendant. Once that information
is provided, Plaintiffs will name each Defendant by name individually and will proceed with the litigation in the normal course."

Of course, I hope the Defendant that filed this makes the Court aware that if this action as described above happens, it would be the FIRST TIME that this action has ever happened. Those of us that have been watching these cases know that a dismissal is in order as soon as they get the names. I have NEVER seen anything else happen. Of course they might re-file if the person refuses to settle with them, but that is not what they are stating.

Of course, how they can join all these unrelated persons has not been covered either.

Since they are complaining that they need a court order to issue such process, maybe John Doe should apply for one. After all, turn about is fair play, as the recording companies are seeking to do exactly the same thing that they themselves are attempting to do, pre-process discovery.

I wonder if that attorney could put them in a pickle by filing an answer or some sort of Rule 12 motion. Wont such a filing keep them from dismissing this case without a Court Order??