updated 03:20 pm EDT, Fri August 17, 2007
Anti-RIAA class action?
The RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) may soon bear the brunt of a class action counter-suit, according to reports. The elevation request was filed in Oregon this week on behalf of Tanya Andersen, a woman previously sued by the RIAA for illegal file sharing, but who had the accusations against her successfully dismissed with prejudice -- preventing the RIAA from seeking further action. Should the new status be granted, it will cover anyone who has been sued or threatened by the RIAA, so long as they "have not actually engaged in actual copyright infringement," the petition reads.
Andersen and her lawyer charge that the RIAA "has engaged in a coordinated enterprise to pursue a scheme of threatening and intimidating litigation in an attempt to maintain its music distribution monopoly." This most likely refers to the organization's aggressive settlement tactics, which have involved bullying defendants into a payout, or setting up an easy means of payment that discourages proceeding to court.
Also cited in the class action motion is SafeNet, formerly known as MediaSentry. The investigation agency is already facing outstanding allegations for its own tactics, said to have been done in full collusion with the RIAA. Andersen's suit suggests that SafeNet "conducts illegal, flawed and negligent investigations for the RIAA and its controlled member companies." The language used in the motion is so severe that it accuses the RIAA of breaking the RICO act, originally conceived to charge mobsters with racketeering. Even if this view were not proved to the judge, the RIAA would still have to defend itself against charges of malicious prosecution. [via Ars Technica]