Friday, August 22, 2008

MediaSentry ignored DLEG investigation in Michigan, continued investigating without license

We have learned, from court papers filed in a Michigan "John Doe" case, LaFace v. Does 1-7, that MediaSentry continued conducting Michigan investigations without a license even after it was being investigated for that practice by Michigan's Department of Labor and Economic Growth an investigation in which it has made false and inconsistent statements.

Complaint in LaFace v. Does 1-7

Commentary & discussion:
Ars Technica
Digital Copyright Canada

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 portable music player


CodeWarrior said...

This is truly an important development in my mind. For quite some time, in my internal musings, I have thought that MediaSentry, and other MPAA and RIAA toadies, were the weakest link, the Achilles heel, that were not properly being exploited, investigated, and brought up in the various and sundry lawsuits. I personally (my comments do not necessarily reflect Ray's or this blogs, they belong only to me, (Copyright (c) 2008 by Code Warriorz Thoughts, No Rights Reserved, Without Prejudice...)
believe at this time that Media Sentry should be investigated by the FBI and perhaps criminal charges should be brought, and certainly, I believe several defendants in cases already brought should try, if possible, to initiate a class action lawsuit, by first seeking class action status of all those similarly situated and sustaining damages pursuant to wrongful actions and/or inactions by MediaSentry, its agents, representatives, employees, and those acting in association with MediaSentry.

But Hey, whadda I know...I ain't a lawyer, I'm the CodeWarriorZ.
Happy Weekend Ray and All.

CodeWarrior said...
"RIAA has been called into question. Defendants in more than one case have claimed MediaSentry's activities make them private investigators, even though they're not licensed in any state. "

Unknown said...

What is interesting is that in section 11 of Carlos Linares declaration is that they are not only ignoring it the but that he states that they are a third party investigator. Then once again tries to qualify it by saying they are doing what anyone else could.
I've always been amused by the "doing what anyone else could" statement since having an Investigators license doesn't grant an Investigator any extra powers over an ordinary citizen other then the ability to do so for payment.

quitty said...

The lying is bad, but this layman doesn't understand why MediaSentry should stop doing what it's doing just because it is being investigated. Has the investigation concluded that MediaSentry is acting unlawfully? Has MediaSentry been ordered to stop its work while it is being investigated?

raybeckerman said...

They weren't ordered to stop, but they were gently reminded.

Most ordinary folks, and most normal businesses, if they were under investigation, and told by the investigating agency that they need a license to do what they are doing..... would wait until the investigation were concluded before going ahead with potentially illegal conduct.

Especially where the penalty is fine + imprisonment.

When they're standing in the courtroom awaiting their sentencing, the Prosecutor is going to point out to the Judge that even though they were placed on notice that their conduct appeared to be illegal to the government agency charged with regulating such activities... they continued anyway, committing new violations every day.

And if I'm the Judge -- I'm going to throw the book at them.

Unknown said...

Actually Noam in Massachusetts they were given a Cease and Desist order which they've chosen to ignore. About the only action they took due the order from the State Police was to remove the section of their main page which stated they were Investigators.

Anonymous said...

The real scary thing about all of the investigations that are being done by MediaSentry, is that only those people who meet the threshold number of identified files are reported to the RIAA. That means that Millions of people who are on line at any given time along with the investigator when they begin their witch hunt have potentially had their computers scanned. The other scary thing about the whole business, is that there has never been any assurance from the RIAA or MediaSentry that only music files have been copied from YOUR computer. Financial records, Personal E-Mails, PIN numbers, anything kept on a computer could be scanned, and remember too, SafeNet is a preferred vender for the U.S. Government. (China is not the only country who uses its services.) It is not a long shot to think that with the ties the RIAA has made through its lobbying and the contracts that SafeNet has with the Federal Government. This will all go away.

Anonymous said...

This case may save all P2P users

Anonymous said...

according to a recent federal court decision in a software piracy case against Symantec, Lei’s actions were perfectly legal. In that case, Symantec bought one copy of certain software, but distributed millions of copies around the world. The copied software even displayed a message: “one user license, not distributable”. But U.S. federal judge Martin J. Jenkins threw out the copyright suit. The judge reasoned: the copyright owner could not prove that Symantec saw the “one user” message; even if it could prove that Symantec saw the message, it could not prove that Symantec agreed to the “one user” restriction. Lei’s situation was just like Symantec’s. He based his “Tomato Garden” Windows on licensed copies of Microsoft Windows. Therefore, he had valid licenses to start with. To prove infringement, Microsoft must prove that he exceeded the scope of license. Lei’s method of creating the Tomato Garden Windows was automated, and did not require him to read any of Microsoft’s licensing terms. Even if he did, Microsoft could not show he understood or agreed to those terms. On the contrary, the fact he made Tomato Garden proved that he did not agree to Microsoft’s terms. This forecloses any copyright claim against him. NETBULA, LLC v. SYMANTEC CORPORATION, 516 F. Supp.2d 1137, 1152 (N.D.Cal. 2007) (citing Specht v. Netscape Communications Corp., 150 F.Supp.2d 585, 596 (S.D.N.Y. 2001), aff'd, 306 F.3d 17 (2d Cir. 2002) ("The case law on software licensing has not eroded the importance of assent")).