New court case against US music industry
In February 2005, the Recording Industry Association of America RIAA took single mother Tanya Andersen and others to court over illegal music downloads from the internet. The action was unsuccessful. Andersen subsequently sued the music association for fraud, invasion of privacy, defamation, libel and more. In February, a federal judge dismissed this complaint (PDF file) but gave Anderson a month to file another complaint. The deadline was Friday, 14 March, and Andersen's solicitor Lory Lybeck did file another complaint against the trade association.
The complaint focuses on former RIAA company MediaSentry. According to Lybeck, MediaSentry collects files from the hard disks of private individuals without asking their permission. In addition, Lybeck criticises the music association's trawling practices which also catch "dolphins": innocent people like Andersen. Lybeck hopes that, if the complaint is successful, this could put a stop to the wave of complaints being filed by the music industry.
In 2005, Andersen gave the RIAA permission to check her private hard disk. At the time, investigators could not verify any illegal downloads. Instead of dropping the complaint, the association then allegedly claimed that Andersen used a different computer. In addition, the RIAA allegedly went to the extent of phoning Andersen's then eight-year-old daughter at school to summon her as a witness.
In a huge wave of complaints, the RIAA's legal experts tried to use high claim values to prevent trials and achieve out of court settlements of a few thousand dollars in compensation and agreements to desist. According to experts, the evidence – which is mostly no more than an IP address and a file name - is of questionable value. The Anderson case could now become a humiliating experience for the RIAA.