Monday, September 08, 2008

"Case # 162983070" accuses MediaSentry of felonies in Michigan, calls for criminal prosecution

The University of Michigan "John Doe" student, known only as "Case # 162983070" to Michigan's Department of Labor and Economic Growth in Case Number 162983070 v. MediaSentry, has filed further papers, stating that MediaSentry has been violating the law for years in Michigan, and that its violations are felonies, and calling for a criminal prosecution.

September 5, 2008, Letter of "Case # 162983070", and exhibits

Commentary & discussion:
The Inquirer
Computer World
Online Media Daily

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


Anonymous said...

Had Media Sentry bothered to contact your office between May 22, 2006 and May 28, 2008 (before the new statute was passed into law) and inquired as to whether its computer forensics work in the investigation of Michigan residents on behalf of the recording industry was encompassed by your private investigation regulations, it would have received an affirmative response from your agency.

"Everyone" knows that its always easier to beg forgiveness afterwards rather than ask for permission first.

Besides (as the RIAA will certainly argue) these were "innocent" mistakes during the investigation of the most serious crimes of our times, and if we really really really promise not to do it again until the next time we do it, this "evidence" should be allowed in your fine court of law.


Anonymous said...

It seems to me that the purpose of the law was almost certainly to protect the public (from incompetent or malicious investigators). This should help the case here.

2L student

Nefarious Wheel said...

That's going to be very interesting to follow. I was particularly intrigued by the fact that, if accused of this felony, MediaSentry could rightfully refuse to testify on the basis it would be potentially self-incriminating to divulge how they proceed with the computer forensics. Very scary; but are they willing to admit their behaviour is felonious in order to accept the protections of the 5th? Truly US law is a curious and wonderful thing.

Anonymous said...

Re nefarious wheel:

Pleading the 5th amendment is not equivalent to admitting you committed a felony, so it would not, in itself, make MediaSentry's evidence inadmissible. The risk for defendant is that a judge could allow a situation where the Carlos Linares Declaration is accepted in court but MediaSentry's employees aren't available for testimony or cross-examination. In that case, defendant needs MediaSentry's employees to face criminal charges so he can present an unclean hands defense.

If I were deposing Carlos Linares or anyone connected to MediaSentry, I'd be asking for names of MediaSentry employees who gathered the data. I imagine plaintiffs would try not to say who it was, but I speculate that judges would notice such evasive behavior.

And now the RIAA needs to be careful. It has been warned that MediaSentry is likely breaking the law by legal authorities, so any subsequent lawsuits making use of MediaSentry's information may expose the RIAA to very expensive countersuits.


Unknown said...

Taking the 5th Amendment is not actually admiting anything. Any jury/Judge that would take their testimony that really there was infringment, but I can't tell you what or how because I take the 5th, is committing a travesty of justice.

Unknown said...

I'm an Investigator!
No wait! I'm an Expert!
Wait! I'm a 3rd party contractor!

Blast! What court am in and which story I'm using today!

I'm always left wondering how many people the RIAA lawyers have to keep track of what story they've told the which court and how well these people are being paid in order to make sure the same court doesn't get letters with all the different explanations of what Media Sentry really is..

I especially like the part about Media Sentry only doing the same thing any person using the software could. Any John Doe can use a camera, do a paperchase, or talk to the neighbors about someone but he/she'd still need a PI license to do it for a living.

Anonymous said...

If they take the 5th though on cross-examination wouldn't the rest of their testimony be struck (ie: what they found in their "investigation"). They can't testify about what they discovered and then turn around and hide behind the 5th Amendment when they are asked to reveal how they reached their conclusions.

raybeckerman said...

If they take the 5th their testimony will be struck.

raybeckerman said...

It's not even a question of "if they take the 5th", it's just a question of "when". One of these days one of the defendants' lawyers will wake up and take MediaSentry's deposition.

Anonymous said...

Any John Doe can use a camera, do a paperchase, or talk to the neighbors about someone but he/she'd still need a PI license to do it for a living.

In at least some jurisdictions, you cannot do this even if you're not doing it for a living. There have been cases I remember reading about where Jane/Joe Average Citizen filmed something s/he wanted to document, and was told this was illegal.