Thursday, September 04, 2003

MUM, THE RIAA IS AT THE DOOR...: One of the ordinary punters being pur-sued by the RIAA is fighting back. 'Nycfashiongirl' is challenging the subpoeana issued by the large Record Label cartel on the grounds that they don't have any right to be poking about watching what she's doing on the internet, what with them not being actually a law enforcement agency.

The BBC reports: In court papers, the lawyers said they may argue the RIAA violated state and federal laws by tracking what was passing through the woman's internet connection as its investigators scoured file-sharing networks looking for songs to download.
RIAA vice-president Matt Oppenheim called the arguments "surprisingly shallow". He added that the claim about violating the woman's internet address "reflects a fundamental misunderstanding of how the internet works". Mr Oppenheim also said the RIAA was immune from rules on unreasonable searches on the internet, because it did not have links with law enforcement agencies.


So... let's get this straight, then: the official RIAA line is that it doesn't need to respect people's privacy as much as law enforcement bodies because, erm, it isn't one? And he calls nycfashiongirl's legal grasp surprisingly shallow. Is it really RIAA policy that anyone can do what the fuck they like on the internet's backbones providing they're not a proper law enforcement agency? This is great news, surely, for the hackers who routinely deface the RIAA website; hey, they can do what they like as they aint cops. And Oppenheim seems to be suggesting that simply because you can seek out details of who is doing what with whom online, then everyone is allowed to. I'm kind of taking this to be a green light for us all to start reading the emails whizzing back and forth between BMG, Warners and EMI about the merger. Because if they complain, we can just say "Hey, don't you understand how the internet works?"

This is on a glorious par with the Daily Mail's belief - expressed when it stole TV Cream material and stuck it in to fill a gap between Anne Leslie and the stock market prices - that the rules are somehow different on the internet. When it comes to big companies, of course.


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