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RIAA's Watchdog Affidavits For Your Reading Pleasure 22

Posted by kdawson
from the fact-based-witness dept.
NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "MediaSentry, in an attempt to stonewall discovery in UMG v. Lindor, has turned over nothing other than a collection, apparently a complete collection, of its publicly filed affidavits. However, these do make interesting reading indeed, and as comments started trickling in on my blog, I realized that for the technically minded among you there are probably a number of good laughs in these materials. So in keeping with the Slashdot community's analysis of the RIAA's not very expert, 'expert' witness, I thought you might like to take a shot at its not very factual, 'fact' witness."
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RIAA's Watchdog Affidavits For Your Reading Pleasure

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  • "I love the smell of molten server in the morning- Y'know, once www.ilrweb.com had a server...."
    • by sm62704 (957197)
      Mr. Beckerman's blog isn't slashdotted, and for a non-lawyer like me it's far more interesting than some legal stuff that I don't have the training to understand.
      • That's why I skipped the pdfs. The comments linked in the summary were pretty interesting, particularly those by Igor and the last big one (Mike I think?) Should at least give those a read.
        • Yes and some more good comments just went online as well there. The 'regulars' who comment on my blog are really quite a good group of thinkers.
  • by Bob(TM) (104510) on Friday February 01, 2008 @01:51PM (#22263784)
    Investigator: "They did it. I found out about it."
    Defense Attorney: "How did you find out?"
    Investigator: "Sorry; can't tell you that. It's a secret."
    Defense Attorney: "Then, how do we know it's valid or legal?"
    Investigator: "I'm a professional - you can take my word on it."
    Defense Attorney: "Do you have a professional license or certification that backs up your word?"
    Investigator: "Sorry - I don't see how that's relevant."

    Sure this isn't something from a Monty Python sketch?

    • You know, this whole thing might make more sense if the RIAA and Media Sentry were performing a silly walk while they talked about how they catch P2P'ers.
    • by davido42 (956948)
      I'd like to purchase a license for my pet download, Eric. Actually, Eric's only half a download, due to a downloading accident, and well...
  • by Anonymous Coward

    I know there's such a tactic as to bombard your opponent with unreasonable requests to wear them down and keep them distracted, but shouldn't forensic analysis of peer-to-peer traffic have to pass the same sort of examination as any sort of new or experimental technique? There's no kind of official certification of the process, so what's to differentiate a company specializing in this (such as MediaSentry) from a group of Computer Science freshmen churning out a polished but entirely inaccurate report deta

    • by Curien (267780) on Friday February 01, 2008 @02:26PM (#22264356)
      The current mess is partly as a result of the difficulties with DNA and other scientific evidence. In the 1920s, SCOTUS created the Frye standard, which required that any scientific method presented in court needed to be accepted by a majority of experts in the field. This was a very conservative standard, and it meant that investigators couldn't develop new methods ad hoc because those methods couldn't have been widely accepted at the time of use. In the 1990s, SCOTUS instituted a new Daubert standard which allows any scientific evidence -- regardless of its general acceptance -- to be presented at the judge's discretion, and it leads to the "competing experts" situation that we have today.

      IMO, Daubert is a horrible precedent, as it forces non-experts to decide how to treat expert testimony. With the older Frye standard, some prosecutors might have a hard time prosecuting some individuals in difficult cases, but it does a much better job of maintaining the integrity of the system.
    • by HTH NE1 (675604)

      There's no kind of official certification of the process, so what's to differentiate a company specializing in this (such as MediaSentry) from a group of Computer Science freshmen churning out a polished but entirely inaccurate report detailing an individual's illicit filesharing?

      Presumably that MediaSentry has a Private Investigator's license and the CS freshmen do not, seeing as how states are seeking to make it illegal for non-PIs to do computer forensics [slashdot.org]. A followup story [channelregister.co.uk].

      MediaSentry does have a PI license, right?

  • Although I'm not familiar with Kazaa, I seriously doubt that:
    • UserLog.txt
    • DownloadData.txt
    • Tracerroute.txt

    existed on the hard drive of the computer that was connected to the Internet through IP address 141.155.57.198 on August 7, 2004 at approximately 6:15
    (or was it 12)

    A.M. EDT.

    Unless 141.155.57.198 was their own PC ;)
  • just another business where a few principles in that business saw a lucrative cash cow when they were summoned into the foray. Now you see not much more than the ubiquitous; "baffle them with bullshit" directive, and you guarantee yourself future moneys from these awards. When you can dictate technology to a neophyte judge and jury to support your earnings from the action, whats to stop you! Who in their right mind turns down a chance at easy money!! Obviously not these folks.
  • Song file titles (Score:4, Interesting)

    by l2718 (514756) on Friday February 01, 2008 @08:17PM (#22268810)
    MediaSentry claims to have verified that the names of the files they downloaded contained descriptions of music copyrighted by the plaintiffs. That they didn't bother to play the music and check the contents is very suspicious. It's true that the RIAA has been seeding fake torrents with damaged files and that filenames don't necessarily describe the content, so it's conceivable that the files didn't really contain what the names suggest, but I doubt that and I don't think you could sell this to a jury working at the "preponderance of the evidence" standard (I'm not even sure about "beyond reasonable doubt"). That said, it shows extreme incompetence on the part of MediaSentry. In my opinion this should be used to impeach their credibility: "if you didn't take this elementary step, what other important steps did you gloss over?" -- suggesting it's possible the files weren't song files is to "conspiracy theory"-like to work (the Thompson case reeked of such attempts).
    • Beware of that. They have a special way of spotting their own spoofs that we know about thanks to the Media Defender leaks [mediadefen...enders.com]. Specifically, Media-Defender spoofs had hashes that were divisible by 137, while MediaSentry had file sizes that were divisible by some large prime (for multi-file archives, though, only the last file was made divisible). I'm sure that they've changed some parts of their scheme after the leak (it's been very well known for a long time now and I've seen all this info brought up befor

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