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RIAA settles suit where defendant had no PC

updated 03:00 pm EDT, Wed June 24, 2009

RIAA Forced Settle

RIAA member Universal Music Group this past weekend was forced to settle a music file sharing lawsuit it had filed against New Hampshire resident Mavis Roy. The label dropped its case after evidence provided by anti-piracy snooping firm MediaSentry was successfully challenged by the defense's expert witness Dr. Sergey Bratus. Among other key problems with the data, the defense pointed out that Roy didn't own a computer at all at the time of the supposed infringement and that it wasn't until a letter appeared that she was aware of any possible action.

Universal is likely to have settled the case to avoid creating a legal precedent that could be used to shoot down other MediaSentry-derived evidence and defeat the RIAA in similar cases.

Opponents to the RIAA's lawsuit tactics have argued that MediaSentry is not only an unauthorized investigator but that it has regularly misidentified file traders by making assumptions about the accuracy of IP addresses that have targeted the deceased, young children and those like Roy who didn't have computers. Such tracking systems can only see file sharing accounts used by certain IP addresses and doesn't account for those using others' connections, mistaken physical addresses or the person actually using the computer.

The RIAA has claimed it will stop suing individuals in favor of trying to force Internet providers to monitor and flag pirated material, but questions have been raised why new lawsuits have appeared and why other, sometimes questionable lawsuits have persisted since the formal change in policy.

by MacNN Staff



  1. cartoonasaur

    Joined: Dec 1969



    In related news, the labels will no longer take testimony from invisible Martians from Mars...

  1. WiseWeasel

    Joined: Dec 1969


    ISP Monitoring?

    They want ISPs to monitor everyone's traffic, looking for supposedly infringing content? MY ISP has no business spying on the content of my web use, just as my phone company has no business spying on the content of my phone calls. They can go take their business to China, where the government has no qualms destroying any sense of privacy held by their citizens. No big loss; we'll be fine without them.

  1. climacs

    Joined: Dec 1969


    keep on pirating

    the actions of the RIAA only create more justifications for piracy.

    This suit was 'settled'... why was it not dismissed? What was the settlement? It better have been, pay the defendant's legal costs and possibly punitive damages.

  1. Jonathan-Tanya

    Joined: Dec 1969



    "MY ISP has no business spying on the content of my web use"

    What you call spying other people call logging.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: ISP monitoring

    The ISPs don't monitor. They have to (because of laws like the Patriot act - we need to be protected from all those stupid terrorists plotting to blow up the US, and using their personal computers for research - and, I think, some of that garbage anti-piracy legislation the gov't keeps foisting because they get nice contributions from the RIAA and MPAA) log who uses what IP addresses when, for a couple of years I believe.

    But they don't log everything you're looking at. That's what the NSA and FBI are doing (oh, with the help of the ISPs).

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: keep on

    This suit was 'settled'... why was it not dismissed? What was the settlement? It better have been, pay the defendant's legal costs and possibly punitive damages.

    It says why it was settled. If they continued on with it, they'd have lost and it would s**** up other lawsuits. So, they settle for a nice amount, and get the plaintiff to sign off on a NDA at the same time. It's win-win for the labels.

    Any time a company settles, they want to make sure no one else knows about it. And they also don't admit to any wrongdoing, which also helps keep that from being used against them in other lawsuits (like, if Pfizer settled a lawsuit on Viagra and admitted wrongdoing, every other lawyer would have that to use to sue them with. Without it, the lawyers would have to work for a living, and we know they prefer to just charge $500 an hour to put stuff in an envelope and drive to the post office).

    BTW, Apple has been known to replace computers due to defects, but only under NDA that they actually did such a thing.

  1. ethical_paul

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Apple replacing computers

    What does that have to do with this case?

    News flash: Apple replaces computers due to defects all the time...under something called "Warrantee"

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: Apple replacing

    It's not the replacing, it's the NDA with the replacement to keep people from saying it was replaced. Is that part of something called the 'Warrantee'?

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