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Is RIAA's MediaSentry Illegal in Your State? 200

Posted by Zonk
from the only-you-can-prevent-mediasentry dept.
NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "Is Warner Music, EMI, Vivendi Universal and Sony BMG 'investigator' MediaSentry operating illegally in your state?. The Massachusetts State police has already banned the company, and it's been accused of operating without a license in Oregon, Florida, Texas, and New York. Similar charges have now been leveled the organization in Michigan. Michigan's Department of Labor and Economic Growth, in response to a complaint, has confirmed that MediaSentry is not licensed in Michigan, and referred the complainant to the local prosecutor."
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Is RIAA's MediaSentry Illegal in Your State?

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  • by spun (1352) <loverevolutionary@@@yahoo...com> on Tuesday March 11, 2008 @11:44AM (#22717410) Journal
    Cocaine makes you feel more powerful and important than you really are. Hookers always tell you you're doing the right thing.
  • according to the summary - yes it is.
    • by omeomi (675045)
      Though the summary is retarded. Police can't ban anything. Their job is to enforce existing law. They can't make new ones.
  • To clarify (Score:5, Informative)

    by downix (84795) on Tuesday March 11, 2008 @11:48AM (#22717468) Homepage
    Just in case someone does not know who Media Sentry is, here is a bit from their Wikipedia article (found here [wikipedia.org])

    MediaSentry is an American company that provides services to the music recording, motion picture, television, and software industries for locating and identifying IP addresses that are engaged in the use of online networks to share material in a manner said organizations claim is in violation of copyright.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Gordonjcp (186804)
      Do they operate outside the US? I've got *loads* of MP3s on my server, all of which are subject to copyright - they're mine, though. If Media Sentry want to come and poke through my server, I'll have them under the Computer Misuse Act 1990 [opsi.gov.uk].
      • Re:To clarify (Score:5, Interesting)

        by number11 (129686) on Tuesday March 11, 2008 @04:22PM (#22721594)
        Do they [the RIAA] operate outside the US? I've got *loads* of MP3s on my server

        In the UK, they're the BPI. http://www.bpi.co.uk/ [bpi.co.uk] As you can see from their website, they're for "fair" copyright, that is, copyright that lasts a thousand years. Instead of having to sue people, they want your ISP to be their enforcement arm. Cheaper, easier, and if there's any flak, the ISP will be the one who catches it.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Prosecutors would rather send someone to jail for victimless crimes like drug posession than for extortion and racketeering which the RIAA and MPAA regularly engage in.
  • hhmmmm. (Score:4, Informative)

    by apodyopsis (1048476) on Tuesday March 11, 2008 @11:52AM (#22717544)
    whereas I derive a lot of pleasure about hearing the **AA and their cronies getting hosed I'm a little confused here.

    how is jurisdiction defined in 'net terms? physical address of the "investigator"? physical address of the "guilty" party? location of all the 'net infrastructure? where the summons where served? seems like this is far from evident to me.

    can they simply serve a warrant from a location where they are licensed?

    • In this sort of case, it would appear to be the state in which the suit is filed and they wish to be able to provide evidence for.

      IANAL, YMMV.
  • Not banned in MA (Score:4, Informative)

    by diewlasing (1126425) on Tuesday March 11, 2008 @11:53AM (#22717570)
    They aren't banned in MA, the state police sent the ma cease and desist letter, but I know, here in Boston, kids are still getting sued and I believe that they filed a complaint in court indicating the the state police told them to stop. But as far as I know the RIAA told them to fuck off, because I believe MediaSentry is still up to their old tricks here.
  • by PC and Sony Fanboy (1248258) on Tuesday March 11, 2008 @11:57AM (#22717648) Journal
    The RIAA seems to be operating without any regard to the actual laws of the country. Doesn't this bother anyone? It isn't a few isolated cases, the RIAA operates as if it IS the law and the government does nothing to stop it, UNLESS the RIAA is challenged.

    So much for the land of the free - it is the land of 'Get away with whatever you can, as fast as you can'. Imagine if the general population acted like the RIAA does?
    • by Original Replica (908688) on Tuesday March 11, 2008 @12:22PM (#22718050) Journal
      So much for the land of the free - it is the land of 'Get away with whatever you can, as fast as you can'.

      They are just following the lead of our Executive Branch. [americanchronicle.com]

      Before someone whines "why does everything have to turn into Bush bashing?" Let me say that this is completely relevant. When the most powerful executive of US law regularly shows contempt for the rule of law and gets away with it every time for years, it is only logical that other rich and powerful men would follow suit and begin to treat the law as if it only marginally applies to them.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        In theory, the balances and checks in the american system are designed to prevent this sort of abuse at the top. So, in theory, the american system should prevent all problems like this... and in reality, well - you decide if it is working.
        • by barzok (26681)
          I really wish I could live in the magical land of Theory.
        • The checks and balances don't exist anymore. The theory behind the US government is that the federal government was going to have a STRICTLY limited set of functions. A VERY SMALL set of functions. Read the Constitution. Everything else was to be done by the states, with the citizens controlling the state governments by voting, and if necessary, the ultimate freedom of exit. A state government that misbehaves would find itself with no citizens.

          That system doesn't function anymore, ever since we allowed
      • by ptbarnett (159784)

        Before someone whines "why does everything have to turn into Bush bashing?" Let me say that this is completely relevant. When the most powerful executive of US law regularly shows contempt for the rule of law and gets away with it every time for years, it is only logical that other rich and powerful men would follow suit and begin to treat the law as if it only marginally applies to them.

        Anyone that thinks this behavior is started with the Bush administration is deluding themselves at best, and more likely engaging in political demagoguery.

        Personally, I can't wait for January, 2009. But those of you that just started paying attention to the antics of the executive branch within the past 7 years need to stop playing computer games and open a history book.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      The RIAA seems to be operating without any regard to the actual laws of the country. Doesn't this bother anyone?...So much for the land of the free

      Nope, not a single person cares. Oh, yeah, except for a few lawyers in new york and most of the forums on the internet, including this one. But other than the thousands and/or millions those represent, nope, it doesn't bother anyone.

      As for being the land of the free, this is a complicated legal process. The RIAA literally can't get the identity of the person that they're investigating without filing against them and then forcing the ISP to turn over the records. As despicable as it is, they're not the o

    • by sm62704 (957197)
      We live in a plutocracy, where a rich and powerful man only goes to jail if a richer, more powerful man wants him there. Ever hear of O.J. Simpson?

      Money will buy anything in America, including DAs, judges, and politicians. Here, they call bribery "campaign contribution". My ex-wife once had a lawyer who owned a T-shirt (there was a picture in his office of him wearing it) that said "a good lawyer knows the law. A great lawyer knows the judge."

      A friend's brother went to federal prison for loaning money to a
  • by muxecoid (1061162) on Tuesday March 11, 2008 @12:02PM (#22717740)
    Big corporations think that people are too afraid to seek justice even if law is not on the firm's side. Awareness and cheaper legal services for citizen would help. Corporations surely do not want the customers to be aware of their rights.
    • by CSMatt (1175471)
      I think the need for cheaper legal services is more critical. The sheer amount of "Injured in an accident?" and other similar ads seem to have awareness covered, at least in a general sense.
  • by HannethCom (585323) on Tuesday March 11, 2008 @12:02PM (#22717752)
    RIAA employing companies working illegally. Suing the wrong person. Screwing the artists they are supposed to protect. Screwing the consumers. So what else it new?

    In Canada we have the CRIA (Same basic entity) that admitted to collecting more media tax than they were supposed to from customers, and what did they do with this extra money they shouldn't have had? Pocketed it themselves of course. As I understand it, to get money from the CRIA you have to apply to get a portion of it and again, if people don't apply for it, they pocket the money meant for the artists themselves.

    Each blank CD, or tape we buy there's a media tax. The money from this goes to the CRIA to distribute to the artists in compensation for people using the blank media for piracy. How the law works here in Canada is when you "buy a CD" you are actually buying a license to that listen to that performance of the song privately. Canadian corporate law is based off of when you pay money, you have to get something in return. This is what makes downloading songs, or transferring them to another media for your own use legal in Canada.

    It is legal to download songs in Canada, but it is not legal to download a song and listen to it that you don't have a license to.
    • So, in canada, you pay a small amount on every blank cd you buy.
      This sounds bad. Until you realize that this 'tax' basically legalizes downloading (but not using) of this media.
      And that is good, because the law only goes after people who play music without the proper license, and not the regular guys on the street.
      And this is good, because downloaded music doesn't equal lost sales - and the people who should be paying for music (Broadcast companies, etc) actually DO (in theory).
      Also... the law punishes pe
    • The other critical factor is that in Canada, the loser automatically pays all court costs.

      If the CRIA sues me and they lose, they have to pay not only their own legal fees, but all of my fees. This includes, but is not limited to, my:

      1. lawyer's fees.
      2. filing costs.
      3. lost wages for showing up in court when I could have been at work making money.
      4. extra expenses incurred while defending myself.

      If they drop the charges against someone who has a defence (like the RIAA does in the states) they still have to
  • or criminal charges.

    They are unlawfully scanning our computers looking for files. We give open access to people that want to download them, but if you are going to use that information for any other purpose it considered an invasion of our network. hacking if you will.

    Why hasnt any thing been done about that? it is unauthorised computer access.

    • Sorry, but unless you password-protect your public services, you can't have it that way.

      The trick is (and std. disclaimers apply, 'cause I ain't a lawyer), that you opened your computer shares for public consumption, so anyone can "scan" those public shares for whatever they like (in reality, they're making a copy and scanning the copy - the only 'scanning' they do is to look through a list of what you have, like everyone else accessing those shares do).

      Now if you password-protected the shared directory

      • by Svartalf (2997)
        The problem with this line of thinking is that the representative Labels for RIAA can do the investigations themselves and ONLY for
        themselves- but they can't comment on or share info about any infringements of anything other than the stuff they have rights for.

        And there's some limitations on what is and isn't legit for them to do.

        MediaSentry's not allowed to do this on behalf of RIAA and RIAA isn't allowed to do it on behalf of the member labels because they're
        not licensed to do so in pretty much all the St
    • by sm62704 (957197)
      Why hasnt any thing been done about that? it is unauthorised computer access.

      INO (I'm no lawyer, but I'm not I-ANAL) but I would guess it's for the same reason that Sony's executives weren't incarcerated for their XCP rootkit trojan [wikipedia.org] they placed on music CDs. We are, after all, talking about the same corporation here. The RIAA represents Sony-BMG, who is one of the "Big Four".

      They are above the law. The law only applies to the working class and the poor in America.
  • California (Score:3, Informative)

    by Kozar_The_Malignant (738483) on Tuesday March 11, 2008 @12:18PM (#22718018)

    >Is Warner Music, EMI, Vivendi Universal and Sony BMG 'investigator' MediaSentry operating illegally in your state?.

    They do not appear to be licensed in California. A check with the Department of Consumer Affairs [ca.gov] license search does not show a license for MediaSentry. Searching on "Media" shows a delinquent license for Media Center Investigations in Kern County. It is, of course, possible that they are licensed under some other corporate identity.

  • Easier question (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Shagg (99693) on Tuesday March 11, 2008 @12:23PM (#22718062)
    Are there any states where they are licensed to investigate?
    • Re:Easier question (Score:4, Informative)

      by Xenographic (557057) on Tuesday March 11, 2008 @01:23PM (#22719026) Homepage Journal
      > Are there any states where they are licensed to investigate?

      They are not licensed in any state, according to what I remember from a past article. Your question then becomes: in how many states are licenses required? As well as, in how many states has MediaSentry conducted investigations?

      Frankly, I'm going to be disappointed if there aren't any sanctions against them when this is all over. I know that they expunged a few things from their website, but I somehow doubt that they've actually stopped investigating.
  • by RandoX (828285) on Tuesday March 11, 2008 @12:26PM (#22718128)
    I move for civil damages of $700,000 per IP. And damages against Comcast for "making available" those IP addresses.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by laffer1 (701823)
      No, Comcast can file a lawsuit as well. Remember, since they send packets out to p2p apps, it is possible MediaSentry is actually communicating with Comcast instead of you. This is the beauty of Comcast impersonating people online, they get to sue too.
  • Sadly with the gutless/bought off coward we have as the Attorney General in North Carolina I will never know. This clown takes no chances and rarely goes against corporations of any size.
  • If MediaSentry is illegal in your state, maybe they won't show up to be deposed, or testify at trial. Could be a bit of an RIAA problem if you can't cross-examine the "witnesses" against you.
  • Pennsylvania? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by scubamage (727538) on Tuesday March 11, 2008 @12:49PM (#22718486)
    anyone know if they're licensed in PA? If not I've got a few hundred friends who will be contacting the state attorney general's office.
  • leveled or levelled, leveling or levelling, levels
    1. To make horizontal, flat, or even: leveled the driveway with a roller; leveled off the hedges with the clippers.
    2. To tear down; raze.
    3. To knock down with or as if with a blow: The challenger leveled the champion with a mighty uppercut.
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    5. To aim along a horizontal plane: leveled the gun at the target.
    6. To direct emphatically or forcefully toward someone: leveled charges of dishonesty.
    7. To measure the different el
  • Got an interesting email today

    Dear ...

    Rogers Cable (Rogers) has received a notice stating that activities associated with your IP address are infringing copyright in material(s) owned or exclusively licensed by others.

    The full notice is appended to this e-mail below.

    Under section 4(d) of the Rogers Yahoo! Hi-Speed Internet End User Agreement (EUA) and Acceptable Use Policy (AUP), you are prohibited from using the Rogers Yahoo! Hi-Speed Internet service to engage in illegal activities, including activities that infringe copyright. Copies of our EUA and AUP are available at:

    http://na.edit.client.yahoo.com/rogers/show_static?.form=terms&.intl=ca [yahoo.com]

    Where there has been a violation of our EUA and/or AUP, including the unauthorized distribution of copyright-protected material, Rogers has the right to take appropriate action against you.

    If you have any questions about the attached copyright notice, please contact the sender of the notice using the contact information provided in the notice. Please do not reply to this e-mail.

    We trust you will comply with our policies and all applicable laws in using the Rogers Yahoo! Hi-Speed Internet service.

    Rogers EUA Management Team Sincerely,

    EUA Management Team Rogers Yahoo Hi-Speed Internet

    http://na.edit.client.yahoo.com/rogers/show_static?.form=terms [yahoo.com]

    Tuesday, March 11, 2008 Rogers Cable Inc. 1 Mount Pleasant Road Toronto, M4Y-2Y5 CA

    RE: Unauthorized Distribution of the Copyrighted Motion Picture Entitled Vantage Point

    Dear Rogers High-Speed Internet:

    We are writing this letter on behalf of Columbia Pictures Industries Inc., ("Columbia Pictures").

    As you may know, Columbia Pictures is the owner of copyright and exclusive distribution rights in and to the motion picture entitled Vantage Point.

    No one is authorized to perform, exhibit, reproduce, transmit, or otherwise distribute the above-mentioned work without the express written permission of Columbia Pictures, which permission Columbia Pictures has not granted to (the IP address)

    We have received information that an individual has utilized the above-referenced IP address at the noted date and time to offer downloads of the above-mentioned work through a "peer-to-peer" service.

    The attached documentation specifies the location on your network where the infringement occurred, the number of repeat violations recorded at this specific location, as well as any available identifying information.

    The distribution of unauthorized copies of copyrighted motion pictures constitutes copyright infringement under the Copyright Act, Title 17 United States Code Section 106(3). This conduct may also violate the laws of other countries, international law, and/or treaty obligations.

    Since you own this IP address, we request that you immediately do the following:

    1) Disable access to the individual who has engaged in the conduct described above; and
    2) Terminate any and all accounts that this individual has through you.

    On behalf of Columbia Pictures, owner of the exclusive rights to the copyrighted material at issue in this notice, we hereby state, pursuant to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, Title 17 United States Code Section 512, that we have a good faith belief that use of the material in the manner complained of is not authorized by Columbia Pictures, its respective agents, or the law.

    Also pursuant to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, we hereby state that we believe the information in this notification is accurate, and, under penalty of perjury, that MediaSentry is authorized to act on behalf of the owner of the exclusive rights being infringed as set forth in this notification.

    Please contact us at the above listed address or by replying to this email should you have any questions.

    We appreciate your assistance and thank you for your cooperation in this matter. In your future correspondence with us, please refer to Case ID XXX.

    Your prompt response is requested.

    Respectfully,

    A Kempe
    Enforcement Coordinator
    SafeNet, Inc.

    -
    INFRINGEMENT DETAIL
    -

    Infringing Work: Vantage Point
    First Found: (time)
    Last Found: (time)
    IP Address: (the IP address)
    Protocol: BitTorrent
    Torrent InfoHash: (hash)
    Containing file(s):
    Vantage Point CAM BLaZE (Kingdom-KvCD by BLaZeKVCD).bin (number of bytes)

    Rogers Cable Inc. 1 Mount Pleasant Road Toronto, M4Y-2Y5 CA

    RE: Unauthorized Distribution of the Copyrighted Motion Picture Entitled Vantage Point

    Dear Rogers High-Speed Internet:

    We are writing this letter on behalf of Columbia Pictures Industries Inc., ("Columbia Pictures").

    As you may know, Columbia Pictures is the owner of copyright and exclusive distribution rights in and to the motion picture entitled Vantage Point.

    I don't know, sounds terrible. So I replied:

    Dear Sir/Madam, regardless of any activity that may or may not have taken place it is my right to not be subjected to intimidation based on other government's policies. This particular section: "Digital Millennium Copyright Act, Title 17 United States Code Section 512" does not apply to any Canadian citizen especially while the citizen is within Canadian borders when the alleged activity may or may not have taken place. I am not a US citizen.

    Sincerely.

    • As they are publicly alleging you have engaged in illegal activity you could always ask them to provide incontrovertible proof that

      (a) the item described is indeed a copyrighted item. This includes submitting a checksum of the original under oath (i.e. they don't just checksum yours, which could be difficult if you're on DHCP and hop IP addresses).
      (b) the alleged activities uniquely identify your system, and you as user. This includes disclosure of method for purposes of scientific evaluation, no get out
  • that MediaSentry is stonewalling on Marie Lindor's document subpoena [slashdot.org]. I guess it has some skeletons in its closet.

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