Oregon Questions RIAA Legal Tactics

While the Recording Industry Association of America carries out its hunt for illegally file-sharing college students without obstructions in most cases, Oregon Attorney General Hardy Myers has taken issue with the RIAA’s approach in his own state. Last week, Myers’ office filed a 15-page brief in a U.S. District Court that questions the legitimacy of the RIAA’s tactics in pursuing alleged file-sharers.

Among the issues raised in the paper are the RIAA’s method of using subpoenas to acquire student names from colleges based on IP addresses, then abandoning the legal system and pressuring students to settle out of court. This method could deceive students into thinking there is more evidence built up against them than actually exists.

According to the brief, the techniques the RIAA uses to find evidence of file sharing may also be insufficient, since they only show that copyright music exists alongside software capable of sharing that music, without indicating that the files were ever obtained through illegal file sharing or further distributed by a student.

Myers’ latest objection to the RIAA is actually his second. In late October, he attempted to prevent an RIAA subpoena for the names of students at the University of Oregon, after the school determined that several of the IP addresses in question could not reliably be traced to one particular student due to shared dorm rooms and other complications.