'Innocent' downloader sues RIAA for hacking her computer
As reported on Recording Industry vs The People - a blog "devoted to the RIAA's lawsuits of intimidation brough against ordinary working people" - the litigation tables have been turned in the ongoing battle against piracy.
The Recording Industry Association of America (whose logo I have reproduced merely to guide interested readers to their web pages for more information - so RIAA please don't think about busting me for trade mark or copyright infringement!) has been busy prosecuting thousands of individuals for illegally downloading music and recently targeted 17 college campuses at Universities in the US, issuing 757 individuals with lawsuits for illegally distributing copyrighted material on the internet. (So all you students take note, if you're illegally downloading and file-sharing on campus it could be you getting busted next!)
One of the many thousands being sued was a single mum living in Oregon who was charged with downloading gangster rap at 4:24am in the morning. Not only does she claim she's never downloaded music, she hates gangster rap and certainly wouldn't be up at 4 in the morning trying to get hold of it. Outraged by the RIAA's legal action, she decided to investigate their claim. She discovered that in order to identify her someone must have hacked into her computer and had a look at her files.
So while the RIAA alleges she's been engaged in nocturnal downloading under the identity of firstname.lastname@example.org, she's decided to get even and is suing them for invasion of privacy, electrnonic trespass and general dodgy dealing. She says she's never heard of that online name (so will the real gotenkito please step forward - not that they're likely to!)
She claims that the RIAA hired a company to hack into personal computers and have a snoop around to see if any illegal downloading of file sharing has gone on. If this were true, then that would be a concerning case of big brother behaviour.
The problem is that the very nature of file-sharing software is that it allows open access. So it would be easy to get into the computer when its linked up online and 'sharing'. If, as she claims, she's never downloaded - and her child or pet hamster hasn't been secretly doing so - then it would appear the RIAA has got it wrong (or been given the online grocery ordering list by mistake).
Either way, it should make for an interesting test case.
About the case HERE
For information on the UK see the BPI site