Sunday, January 18, 2009

RIAA drops "John Doe" case against University of Michigan students, LaFace Records v. Does 1-7

It appears that 7 students at the University of Michigan can breathe a little easier now. We have just learned that the RIAA's "John Doe" case targeting University of Michigan students, LaFace Records v. Does 1-7, has been dropped, without any subpoenas or ex parte discovery order having been granted.

This makes the third such case of which we are aware, the other two being Arista v. Does 1-22, targeting Rhode Island College students, and BMG Music v. Does 1-14, targeting students at North Carolina State and UNC-Charlotte.

We have no information as to whether this news is or is not related to the 3 investigative proceedings before Michigan's Department of Labor and Economic Growth regarding MediaSentry's practice of investigation without an investigator's license.

Notice of Dismissal

Commentary & discussion:

Ars Technica
IP Watchdog

Keywords: lawyer 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...

Just for a minute assume that this is due to Michigan's DLEG investigation and MediaSentry is found guilty. What recourse would students who have been sued/settled before in Michigan have?

Anonymous said...

Right now, the Michigan Department of Labor is still evaluating what it wants to do with the complaints and the report from its investigator indicating that the behavior was against the law. They have several options including: referring the case to either the State Attorney General Mike Cox, or the local prosecutor’s offices in each of the counties in the state that illegal investigations took place. I suspect that the recourse for someone who has settled would be to:

1). Go after the university. If the case involved a university, and the university did not offer any kind of challenge prior to the release of the student’s name as a result of a John Doe subpoena, they did not practice due diligence on behalf of the student. Even though the courts may not recognize the undue burden placed on the student, the fact remains that they were still subjected to felonious behavior on behalf to the RIAA and MediaSentry. The students’ personal information should only be released as the result of a legal subpoena. By not thoroughly looking into the legality of the Subpoena or bringing it to the courts attention prior to releasing the students names, the university's counsel failed. Also find out how the university identified the student.

2) If(by the grace of God), MediaSentry ends up in court, filing a suit against MediaSentry, similar to the civil actions that can take place for damages as a result of the felony could be in order.

3) Investigate legal action against the Settlement Center, they were the ones who applied the pressure, and took your money under false pretences, threats of litigation, and cohesion.

4) Investigate being included in one of the Class Actions suits.

5) Pressure and petition your legislators.

6) File a complaint with the Department of Labor against MediaSentry, the RIAA, and the Settlement Center. Complaint forms are available on line at the DLEG web site.

I may be totally off base here, but this may be what has to happen to ensure that universities don't just roll over, and damages can be collected.

Anonymous said...


One problem is that the RIAA might claim, and it might be true, that they thought MediaSentry was acting legally.

If the RIAA should have expected that MediaSentry was breaking the law, then extortion is extortion is encouraging for people who settled in the past.

If you can't show the RIAA should have known better, then I have no idea.


Anonymous said...

The RIAA and MediaSentry should have been aware of the legality of its investigations. As far back as May 2006, the Department of Labor was requiring private investigators to be licensed to perform Computer Forensics. If they had checked they would have know, but they did not. When Linares declares that he has personal knowledge of all the facts, and then after the fact the RIAA finds out that the investigations were faulty, and still pursue suits and settlements, there only reason it to punish those who resisted their advances. This is pure extortion.

For those who settled after May 2006, I think they may have an issue. said...

"If you can't show the RIAA should have known better, then I have no idea."

Oh! I would love it if this was thrown in the RIAA's face:
"Ignorance of the law is no excuse for breaking the law" :))