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Shady RIAA Tactics

zenkidori

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From Slashdot:
I'm the registered agent contact for a regional ISP and routinely receive RIAA communications regarding their allegations of offenses within our address space. Here's a few aspects of my ongoing experience with the RIAA and other intellectual property protection parties (mostly publishers in my experience outside of the RIAA):

* ignoring the registered agent requirement: In almost every single case since the change in the law, the RIAA has ignored the registered agent provision. They are required to go through this party and follow certain notification requirements to comply with the law and obtain their ability of recourse by demonstrating this compliance. They repeatedly and intentionally ignore the law. Typically, they will notify helpdesk or receptionist employees at the company via telephone, or notify our upstream ISP with a demand for compliance inconsistent with the law's specifications (e.g. they will file a suit within two business days if the address in question is not shut off).
* They do not provide evidence required by the law. I've been repeatedly demanded to shut off a subscriber, name the subscriber and provide contact information (name, billing address, phone, and other items that would clearly violate Gramm Leach Bliley if there wasn't legal grounds for giving it out) on evidence like this: "We've discovered IP address 192.168.3.3 has copied our intellectual property." Name of file? Evidence that the filename is actually property-holder's IP and not just another file with the same name? Evidence that the alleging party holds the IP rights to this property? Time/date and details of the event? (I've *yet* to be given timestamps from the RIAA - wtf? Somebody give them a dollar so they can buy a freaking clock).
* Threats that exceed legal authority and actually may encourage legal recourse when a response is made notifying them of their obligation to comply under the law. I've even had RIAA attorneys contact our upstream and notify them that we "hadn't complied" (with a noncompliant request with zero documentation, ignoring the law) and the upstream was given hours to shut our connection serving 1/3 of a state off or face lawsuits.



The appropriate response is a legal one, and mind you, a legal one that has a letterhead of partner names that spans the top of the piece of paper (meaning not a small private practice, but a large firm that is enough to scare the RIAA into understanding your counsel has deep resources that can counterclaim and hurt them).

Another strong recommendation is for all smaller ISPs to provide their upstream with a letter on the lawfirm's letterhead just briefing them on your compliance with the registered agent provision, requesting evidence of their compliance, and a subtle reminder that if they ever fail to follow the law, they'll get to know your counsel really well as you recover damages from business interruption, damage to goodwill and all sorts of exciting, expensive claims.

This letter will probably cost you $300 to $500 depending on your firm, but it'll save your ass. It has done so for us at least two times when the RIAA completely ignored the law and sent its night-school, white-shoe attorneys after our upstream carrier.

Oh... and in my investigation of the John Does, I've usually found P2P running in a bit more than half the cases with parents unaware that Bearshare was loaded by their minor child, and in about a third the cases, no evidence in traffic flows of any P2P (nor any historical data from NIDS monitoring). Not that we'd ever keep such data (don't and have a policy of wiping it weekly).
 
I'm just happy the Canadian gov't and legal system basically told the RIAA to sod off. Shady unit, the RIAA. :thumbsdown:
 
Luckily the RIAA gets little/no sympathy from anybody, including the people who matter (judges and some politicians).
 
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