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Mediasentry Violates Cease & Desist Order 216

Posted by kdawson
from the what-part-of-stop-don't-you-understand dept.
NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "On January 2, 2008, the Massachusetts State Police ordered MediaSentry, the RIAA's investigator, to cease and desist from conducting investigations in Massachusetts without a license. Based on what appears to be irrefutable proof that MediaSentry has been violating that order, the Boston University students who tentatively won, in London-Sire v. Doe 1, an order tentatively quashing the subpoena for their identities, have brought a new motion to vacate the RIAA's court papers altogether, on the ground that the RIAA's 'evidence' was procured by criminal behavior."
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Mediasentry Violates Cease & Desist Order

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 10, 2008 @01:24PM (#23026794)
    IP addresses are not a reliable method of proving crimes on the internet.
    • by arth1 (260657) on Thursday April 10, 2008 @01:38PM (#23026994) Homepage Journal
      The Parent is, in fact, insightful. If you refute RIAA and their minions' claim that they should be allowed to (and is able to) pick out illegal file sharers based on IP address, you can't turn around and use IP address evidence to prove that MediaSentry defied the court order.

      Yeah, it sucks, but what's good for the goose is good for the gander. It must be -- once we allow double standards, we're no better than them.

      • I think you have that backwards:
        Either
        a) IP addresses are not admissable, so the RIAA's "evidence" has no standing and the case should be dropped without prejudice,

        or

        b) IP addresses are admissable, so the RIAA's "evidence" has no standing and the case should be dropped WITH prejudice.
        • by arth1 (260657) on Thursday April 10, 2008 @02:01PM (#23027388) Homepage Journal
          The problem is that with your (b), you set another precedent for IP addresses being admissible evidence, which allows that type of evidence to be used by RIAA and MediaSentry in the future. We do not want that.
          • by MobyDisk (75490) on Thursday April 10, 2008 @03:46PM (#23028696) Homepage
            IANAL.
            There are 2 problems with this entire line of thinking:

            1) This is not a double-standard.

            In the first scenario, MediaSentry is submitting a dynamic IP address that cannot be linked to an individual. In this scenario, they are presenting what is probably a static IP address tied to MediaSentry's offices. That is much stronger evidence. Also, it sounds like the second scenario is being used as pre-trial evidence that MediaSentry violated the restraining order -- not as evidence to be admitted in a trial.

            2) IP addresses should always be admissible evidence.

            The value of an IP addresses varies. Sometimes it is a dynamic IP. Other times it is static, but not assigned to an individual port or desk. Other times it is tied to a specific computer that only a few people have access to. IP addresses should always be admissible - but the judge and jury must understand the difference. Making a blanket rule like "IP addresses are never admissible in court" is too limiting.

            It would be like saying that scratch marks are never admissible as evidence because you cannot specifically tie that to an individual. The scratch marks still indicate that a struggle happened, and where it happened, and who might have been in that location when they were made. etc.
            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by arth1 (260657)

              In the first scenario, MediaSentry is submitting a dynamic IP address that cannot be linked to an individual. In this scenario, they are presenting what is probably a static IP address tied to MediaSentry's offices. That is much stronger evidence.

              Is it? Or are you just introducing a sliding scale here?

              For what it's worth, a static IP doesn't mean that the registered IP user is the one that uses it. It can be re-routed to others, both without and with the knowledge of the IP holder. That doesn't put any o

              • by DrLang21 (900992) on Thursday April 10, 2008 @09:39PM (#23031854)

                That doesn't put any onus on the IP holder to verify that the actual user doesn't use it for nefarious purposes, any more than you are responsible for what tenants do if you rent a house to them, or the driver of a car does if you lend or rent your car to them.
                Just because you are not responsible for it does not mean that it can't be admitted as evidence if you are the one suspected of and prosecuted for a crime that was committed with it. It's only a piece of evidence, not proof. In the case of a dynamic IP address being used as evidence, it is up to the defense to provide an expert witness to explain why it is practically meaningless as evidence.
            • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 10, 2008 @05:37PM (#23029976)
              IAAL.

              You are correctamundo. I expect that Mediasentry's opponents will bring a much bigger pile of evidence into court than the RIAA has been bringing.

              One brick does not make a wall, but a lot of bricks, properly presented, can make a really good wall.

              To amplify on another very good point you made. The RIAA has been seeking to prove that a living, breathing, natural human being "person" has committed a copyright violation. In a civil case, that means that the evidence presented must 'probably' exclude everybody except their target. An IP address (along with some expert testimony) will at best establish the location where the internet transmission occurred. If a bunch of people live at the location, it may be impossible to say that any one person 'probably' did the bad thing.

              On the other hand, the Mediasentry opponents need to prove that a corporate 'person' did a bad thing. A corporate person is composed of all of its agents acting on behalf of the corporation. If any one of those agents did the bad thing while working for the corporation (you don't necessarily have to prove which one), then the corporate person did the bad thing.

              If the only people using the computer were Mediasentry employees doing Mediasentry stuff, then Mediasentry may have a problem . . .
          • by sjames (1099) on Thursday April 10, 2008 @04:31PM (#23029318) Homepage

            Actually, it sets up a far more interesting logical problem for RIAA and MediaSentry.

            IP addresses are never personally identifying, but do indicate that someone on that network (authorized or not) was responsable.

            For the typical home user, that means a freeloader on their WiFi, someone making unauthorized use of their PC, or someone on the same subnet at the less than secure ISP.

            Home networks often have less than stellar security. That's neither crime nor tort. Since the typical use of a home network is unimpeded by such security issues, it's not even a real problem for the most part.

            However, a would-be investigative agency (legal or not) has a real problem if THEIR network is insecure. If their computers and network are insecure, their 'evidence' is questionable at best.

            Furthermore, the IP address being one of Mediasentry's means that either the information came from MediaSentry (and so is the result of an illegal act by Mediasentry) OR it came from some other agency that was making unauthorized use of Mediasentry's network (and so is also as the result of an illegal act). In the second (unlikely) case, the 'evidence' is in any event untrustworthy.

            So, if Mediasentry would like to deny violating the C&D alleging someone hopped onto their network without permission, they may do so. Without further evidence to the contrary, we'll just have to accept their explaination and let it go. However, THEY will have to live with the implications of their claims. Their alternative is to maintain that their network remains uncompromised and own up to violating the C&D.

            As you can see, there is no double standard. Consistantly applied reasoning with a single standard is all that is necessary to show that the Mediasentry IP showing up in the 'evidence' is damning to Mediasentry's position either way but is not adequate to find against a defendant in any of the RIAA's many lawsuits.

      • by GungaDan (195739) on Thursday April 10, 2008 @01:45PM (#23027114) Homepage
        Not quite. You can't use an IP address to definitively identify an individual. But you can damn sure use one to identify a location. Which is what matters here - do the IP addresses show that MediaSentry acted illegally by doing their thing in a state where they were enjoined from doing their thing?

        • by arth1 (260657) on Thursday April 10, 2008 @01:53PM (#23027236) Homepage Journal

          Not quite. You can't use an IP address to definitively identify an individual. But you can damn sure use one to identify a location.

          No, you can not. It is fully possible, however unlikely, that MediaSentry upon being blocked from doing investigations in Mass., rented out a VPN line to a company that was, in fact, allowed to do so. In which case MediaSentry is just a provider and carrier, much like the University that provides a student with an IP address is just a provider and carrier, and has no responsibility in what the student uses the line for. You simply can't tell from the IP address.
          We must be very careful that we don't apply rules to the enemy that we don't want them to turn around and use against us.
          • It is fully possible, however unlikely, that MediaSentry upon being blocked from doing investigations in Mass., rented out a VPN line to a company that was, in fact, allowed to do so.

            In which case MediaSentry could produce documentation to that effect, thus making the evidence inadmissible. Otherwise, MediaSentry is still on the hook. (Whether the use was sanctioned or unsanctioned.)
            • by arth1 (260657) on Thursday April 10, 2008 @02:05PM (#23027458) Homepage Journal

              In which case MediaSentry could produce documentation to that effect, thus making the evidence inadmissible.

              The onus must never be on the defendant to prove his innocence. That's just like RIAA wants people to prove that it wasn't them that downloaded something.

              No, no and NO; we must not allow this to happen. Ever.

              Our whole justice system is based on the accuser having to provide evidence against the accused, and that the absence of evidence counts for the defendant, never the accuser.

              • by EverlastingPhelps (568113) on Thursday April 10, 2008 @02:28PM (#23027774) Homepage

                The onus must never be on the defendant to prove his innocence.
                That is the case in criminal cases. This is a civil case, and the rules are different. In a civil case, it is not unusual for a plaintiff to just be required to show a prima facae case -- a case that is at least sound on its face. At that point, a defendant can be obligated to actively clear his name or let that stand. Also, the burden of proof is much lower than beyond a reasonable doubt. The standard is usually the preponderance of the evidence, which means "more likely than not" and nothing more. 50.00001% is good enough.
              • by PopeRatzo (965947) *

                The onus must never be on the defendant to prove his innocence...Our whole justice system is based on the accuser having to provide evidence against the accused, and that the absence of evidence counts for the defendant, never the accuser.
                Tell that to Alberto Gonzalez and John Yoo.

                It shouldn't surprise us that corporations act this way when our own Justice Department is pointing the way.
              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by AKAImBatman (238306)
                I don't think you understand how evidence works. Evidence is a collection of facts that can be used to demonstrate one's guilt in a court of law. It is up to the defense to provide reasonable explanations for that evidence, such that the conclusions no longer point to the crime being tried. If the defense fails to defend against the evidence, then the Judge/Jury may find against the defendant.

                Geez, don't they teach you kids anything in school these days?
              • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                by Repossessed (1117929)
                Except in this case you're requiring the plaintiff to show that the evidence is valid. You're argument breaks down because this isn't a criminal case of course, but even if it was, it's not unusual at all for a evidence to get thrown out because the prosecutor can't document chain of custody.

                As far as prosecuting Media Sentry for illegal investigation, then yes, the state has to provide evidence instead of the other way around. But it is possible to verify the validity of an IP address through various mea
              • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                by KutuluWare (791333)

                Our whole justice system is based on the accuser having to provide evidence against the accused, and that the absence of evidence counts for the defendant, never the accuser.

                This is an accurate way of expressing the doctrine of presumption of innocence, which is completely irrelevant here, for several reasons.

                We can start with the fact that it only applies to criminal trials where the state is prosecuting a citizen for an alleged crime. This is not one of those. It is a civil trial, as part of a motion

          • by Svartalf (2997)
            Actually, it's not a problem for them to do so in this case.

            Even leasing out the lines would be stepping on the C&D- you can't even allow someone else to be doing what you're told to stop doing using your resources. Even an alternate player leasing the lines out would be in violation.

            The ONLY out they have would be to prove that they were hacked into (which would be difficult to pin on someone else- they HAVE to pin it on someone else without any involvement on their part at all...) with the purpose of
            • by arth1 (260657) on Thursday April 10, 2008 @02:34PM (#23027860) Homepage Journal

              Even leasing out the lines would be stepping on the C&D- you can't even allow someone else to be doing what you're told to stop doing using your resources. Even an alternate player leasing the lines out would be in violation.

              AFAICT, this flies in the face of all established US law interpretation. It's quite common for companies to, if prevented by law from doing something, allow their resources to be used by someone who do have a permit to do so. This is perhaps most commonly with liquor and restaurant licenses -- if a restaurant loses its licenses, for whatever reason, the premises are leased to someone who do have the necessary permits.
              Do you have any references that corroborate your claim?
          • > No, you can not. It is fully possible, however unlikely, that MediaSentry upon being blocked from doing investigations in Mass., rented out a VPN line to a company that was, in fact, allowed to do so.

            According to all the Court documents I've seen, MediaSentry itself conducts the investigations using their own custom programs. Because at no time have they alleged to use licensed investigators, I must presume that they have never done so. Their lawyers aren't stupid (tricky, yes, but not stupid) and if
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Volante3192 (953645)
          For an example, while you can't say UserA on 209.66.116.123 did something wrong, ARIN search shows 209.66.116.123 is part of MediaSentry's allotment ( http://ws.arin.net/whois/?queryinput=209.66.116.123 [arin.net] )

          In very basic terms. I'm sure I'm omitting some technical and legal details.
        • by Ambiguous Coward (205751) on Thursday April 10, 2008 @01:57PM (#23027306) Homepage
          I disagree that you can use one to identify a location. I can be anywhere in the world and, according to my IP, it will appear to you I'm in Fairbanks AK, due to this handy little VPN I use. Granted, I have to have been granted access to the VPN, but the fact remains that IP addresses do not NECESSARILY denote location, either. It's the same problem with claiming an IP denotes an individual. An IP address CAN tell you those things, but it does not NECESSARILY tell you those things. A rectangle CAN be a square, but it is not NECESSARILY a square.

          -G
          • by blueg3 (192743)
            This is more correct. An IP address can be used to identify a location. With corroborating evidence, an IP address (coupled with, say, timestamps for the activity, logs from the ISP, and evidence from the suspect's computer) can even be used as a component of identifying a particular user responsible for an action. However, there's no absolute guarantee -- particularly if you are denied access (perhaps due to it never being recorded) to necessary pieces of information.

            While it's true that sometimes "you can
            • Hence the difference between CAN and NECESSARILY DOES. Or were you agreeing with me? It's too early, and reading the Slashdot forums and the Something Awful forums at the same time is immensely confusing. :P

              -G
          • Location... (Score:3, Interesting)

            by msauve (701917)
            An IP address may not conclusively identify the ultimate location from which communications are originating, but it does identify a logical location though which the communication has passed. To identify a physical locaton might require subpoena over the ISP and/or telco providing the link.

            In any case, showing two way communicatons to a particular IP is sufficient to show an association of some sort. In the case at hand, Mediasentry, owner of the IP block, can't deny they have something to do with the pack
      • There's a key difference here. MediaSentry doubtless has a static group of addresses. Your average consumer DSL or cable connection is a dynamic address picked out of a pool by DHCP. There's no guarantee that an IP address is ever going to point to a specific person. The only reliable thing, for most networks, that you can derive is geographic area.

        To put this another way, every time you phone your DSL or cable provider bitching because your Internet connection is down, and they ask you "Please reset yo
        • by arth1 (260657)
          Careful here. Are you saying that those who do have static IPs from their provider should not have the same protection as those with dynamic addresses, and be responsible for the content that comes through their line (whether access is leeched through WiFi, a machine has been taken over, or a router has been compromised and acts as a VPN to a remote location)?

          I sure don't want to see that happening, and that means that I must defend MediaDefender here, no matter how much I hate them. If I don't consider a
          • Well, to be honest, my experience with static IPs on DSL and cable connections is pretty iffy as well. We have two DSL connections which have never had an IP changed, but our cable connection has done so twice in the last year, and we're paying for static IPs. There are some types of connections, like T1s, where I'd say you're guaranteed to have the same IP block for a looong time.
          • by blueg3 (192743)
            For criminal activity, having evidence that it's your computer/network responsible (IP address + log from ISP) should be sufficient to seize and investigate your computer and networking hardware, which may be able to corroborate that it was you, and not someone else using your network, that performed the action (and potentially will also demonstrate intent).
            • Re: (Score:2, Redundant)

              by arth1 (260657)
              Criminal investigations are done by the police, not companies. That's a MAJOR difference.
              • by blueg3 (192743)
                It is, and it's a major difference that has no bearing on whether or not you can positively associate IPs with people or locations.

                A private company may have less access to the necessary information. At the very least it requires an investigative license and probably tons of other paperwork.
        • What, do you think your ISP doesn't log what account get an addresses assigned to it at a particular time? They can certainly tie IP + point in time to a customer.
          • Customer: yes. Copyright-infringing individual: no. Say I run an open WAP and a NAT, and I *don't* log who uses it. All access to network resources through my WAP is under the disclaimer that you are responsible for your own actions, not me. It probably wouldn't help me in court, on account of I can't afford $10000/hr lawyers, but at least I feel good about myself. :P

            -G
        • Give me 30 minutes and an SSH connection and I'll get you the latest Ricky Martin album downloaded to an IP apparently in Brazil.

          True, the vast majority of infringers are not going to go to that kind of extreme or hassle, but downloading to another IP isn't that hard, especially if you have physical access to the machine.

          -Rick
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by whisper_jeff (680366)
        But it's brilliant - force Mediasentry to argue, in court, that IP addresses can't be used to identify and they'll effectively be arguing against themselves. Sure, it's a different case, but if they're successful, it sets a precedent that can be used in the RIAA cases. If they fail, then they've been found guilty (presumably) of ignoring a court-ordered C&D and thus all their evidence that's being used in RIAA cases is thrown out. Either way, it's a win-win. They weren't smart. They painted themselves i
        • Not so brilliant (Score:5, Insightful)

          by arth1 (260657) on Thursday April 10, 2008 @02:09PM (#23027516) Homepage Journal
          Or RIAA pays MediaSentry to take a fall, admitting that yes, IP addresses irrefutably shows that they did a wrong thing. And by the way, y'rhonors, now that IP addresses have been shown to be good evidence, there's these 5000 cases that RIAA wants you to look at...

          That would be a big win for RIAA, only made possible because the opponents of RIAA tried to apply double standards, and, by doing so, killed their own defense.

          • IP address identifying a company who owns that block of IPs is a far different thing than using them to identify a user who doesn't even own a single address, but gets them from DHCP and slings them from behind a NAT firewall where they share the computer with everyone else in the house and, possibly, their neighbors if they don't know how to set up security.
          • by Svartalf (2997)
            It doesn't win them anything.

            In the case of the IP's they've been using, it doesn't connect anything other than an act to a machine- they must pin it to a person doing the deed to count.

            In the case of this situation, unless Mediasentry can prove they got hacked into (heh... Do security ever again with THAT black mark...) with the express purpose of being framed, they are as guilty as a cat caught in a goldfish bowl. ANY use of those IP's, allocated to them, unless conclusively proven that nobody IN your o
        • It's not a win-win. If they argue the second way, that they effectively broke the C&D, then this case (and perhaps a few others) are thrown out...IN MASS. Not elsewhere. There are 49 other states they can POTENTIALLY do business in, and that sucks for the rest of us.

          -G
      • by drmerope (771119)
        No, the RIAA court filings declare that Media Sentry engaged in the activity. So its irrelevant what the Media Sentry IPs are. This isn't part of the counter-suit. the RIAA's own filing is.
    • by Joce640k (829181) on Thursday April 10, 2008 @02:09PM (#23027510) Homepage
      IP addresses of smalltime users who connect dynamically via big ISPs or are behind NAT routers aren't too reliable.

      IP addresses of corporations who buy blocks of addresses or entities who have machines inside server farms can be a very reliable form of identification.

      I don't know the exact details of the case so I'm not judging. I'm just saying that reliability depends on circumstance.
    • IP addresses do not identify an individual. Dynamically assigned IP addresses via DHCP, multiple users, guests all prevent identifying the individual in cases such as Media Sentry trying to ID an individual by IP address.

      BUT, in this case we aren't trying to ID an individual. We are identifying a COMPANY, Media Sentry. The IP addresses are assigned to them, almost certainly static. The people using those addresses work for Media Sentry. The activity detected as originating from those IP addresses are the
  • Laws (Score:5, Informative)

    by whisper_jeff (680366) on Thursday April 10, 2008 @01:28PM (#23026858)
    The law applies to you. The law does not apply to us.

    Yours truly,
    MegaCorp America (tm)
  • by NotBornYesterday (1093817) on Thursday April 10, 2008 @01:30PM (#23026886) Journal
    Laws only apply to little people like you, not big people like us. Now give us some money and go away. Sincerely, RIAA
  • Important note (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Enlarged to Show Tex (911413) on Thursday April 10, 2008 @01:30PM (#23026892)
    Most likely, the only papers that they will be able to vacate are those based on investigations taking place after being served with the C&D order. Whether that costs them enough evidence to prevent them from winning a judgment remains to be seen, however...
    • Re:Important note (Score:5, Interesting)

      by R2.0 (532027) on Thursday April 10, 2008 @01:35PM (#23026966)
      "Most likely, the only papers that they will be able to vacate are those based on investigations taking place after being served with the C&D order. Whether that costs them enough evidence to prevent them from winning a judgment remains to be seen, however..."

      As I understand it, MediaSentry is not licensed in the state of Massachusetts period. That means that their previous behavior was illegal as well. The C&D is a legal tool to make it absolutely clear to someone doing an activity that their actions are illegal - it does not relieve them of responsibility for those actions before the C&D.
      • Re:Important note (Score:5, Insightful)

        by NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) * <ray@@@beckermanlegal...com> on Thursday April 10, 2008 @01:41PM (#23027054) Homepage Journal

        As I understand it, MediaSentry is not licensed in the state of Massachusetts period. That means that their previous behavior was illegal as well. The C&D is a legal tool to make it absolutely clear to someone doing an activity that their actions are illegal - it does not relieve them of responsibility for those actions before the C&D.
        I would say you "understand it" pretty well.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by sumdumass (711423)
        There is a slight difference between doing something that is illegal and doing something illegal.

        Take an action against someone for murder of something. If the police or whoever suing got their evidence because someone stole a laptop from the suspect and gave it to them after finding pictures of the killing on it, then it can often be used as evidence in a civil or criminal trial. Now suppose we find out that the person who stole the laptop was directed to do so by the prosecutor or plaintiff in the case. N
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 10, 2008 @01:32PM (#23026916)
    IP infringers try to justify their unauthorized downloading of copyrighted material.

    These legal issues with Mediasentry are petty technicalities. The important thing is that greedy pirates are trying to entertain themselves with content without paying. This isn't fair to the labels, artists, or countless artisans involved in this hard work.

    Every Madonna song you download illegally impoverishes the people of Malawi. Please pay the market price for this regulated scarcity.

    Madonna is the best!
    • by conteXXt (249905)
      "Every Madonna song you download illegally impoverishes the people of Malawi"

      Slashdot Gold Baby.

      Pick up your prize at the door on the way out.
    • Since when are Cease and Desist orders, especially ones issues by the state police, "petty technicalities"? If I was to violate such an order, I can guarantee you that the judge wouldn't just shrug his shoulders and call it a technicality. Media Sentry violating the law is not acceptable even if doing so results in them getting evidence of other illegal activity. First of all, such evidence would be thrown out in any trial. Secondly, companies can't just violate the law when it's convenient for them wit
      • by nomadic (141991)
        Since when are Cease and Desist orders, especially ones issues by the state police, "petty technicalities"? If I was to violate such an order, I can guarantee you that the judge wouldn't just shrug his shoulders and call it a technicality. Media Sentry violating the law is not acceptable even if doing so results in them getting evidence of other illegal activity. First of all, such evidence would be thrown out in any trial. Secondly, companies can't just violate the law when it's convenient for them without
  • Irrefutable proof? (Score:5, Informative)

    by milamber3 (173273) on Thursday April 10, 2008 @01:34PM (#23026950)
    I'm not doubting in any way that there is proof they have violated the cease and desist. I think that sounds like something Media Sentry would gladly do for the RIAA, but when I click on the irrefutable proof link in the summary I don't see any proof. When I went go the "Exhibits (Cease & desist order, printouts)*" link, I can see the cease and desist order and some printouts labeled from early 2007 but nothing from 2008? Could someone point me in the right direction for the evidence? Thanks.
    • by LordEd (840443) on Thursday April 10, 2008 @01:59PM (#23027348)
      I'm a bit confused on the Irrefutable proof as well. Somebody correct me if this guess is wrong, but:

      a. The exhibit document lists a number of reports generated by Mediasentry

      b. The documents identify IP addresses of supposed infringers

      c. These IP addresses on a quick traceroute identify these investigations to be located in Massachusetts (at leastone IP is at Boston University)

      d. These documents have been submitted to courts as evidence (each document has a case #)

      e. Because the IP address is in Massachusetts, the investigation has crossed into these borders. Because they have been submitted to courts, it is proof of investigation.

      Otherwise, I think the proof needs some notes along with it.
      • by LordEd (840443)

        printouts labeled from early 2007 but nothing from 2008?
        Probably should have read that before posting.
  • by sm62704 (957197) on Thursday April 10, 2008 @01:36PM (#23026974) Journal
    Will they have to pay a fine? Maybe, but ten bucks says* it won't be the hundred thousand dollars the RIAA can collect for a single copyright violation. Will anybody go to jail? Maybe, but again ten bucks says* no way in hell.

    Did someone say "rule of law"?

    -mcgrew

    *offer void where prohibited. I live in Illinois, and gambling is illegal here. Except in the casinos. And the state lottery. And horseracing tracks. And in the bars that have bribed the cops to look the other way.

    Me? Cynical? Whatever gave you that idea?
    • by dkleinsc (563838)
      It's called contempt of court, and it can get you into all sorts of trouble. When you're in contempt, you're directly challenging the judge's authority, and the judge is not likely to be lenient when you've just pissed him/her off.

      Of course, there's always the possibility of appealing to a more $upportive venue, but it's still a great way to end up in jail or losing a law license.
    • by scubamage (727538) on Thursday April 10, 2008 @01:42PM (#23027074)
      Actually, its much, much bigger than that. First, conducting criminal investigations without a license is a felony charge akin to impersonating an officer of the law, complete with jail time (up to 5 years I believe), and fines in the tens (if not hundreds) of thousands of dollars. On top of that, if they have in fact violated a court order they have basically just multiplied whatever damages are in place by a HUGE factor. Like, guaranteed jailtime, and adding another 2 or 3 zeros to their fines (or more).
  • Not to worry (Score:4, Interesting)

    by elrous0 (869638) * on Thursday April 10, 2008 @01:39PM (#23027016)
    If things get too hot, the RIAA will just pull some Congressmen out of their pocket and have them change whatever law they violated (with enough bribery maybe they can even get a retroactive change).
  • Irrefutable proof? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    I'm almost certainly missing something, and probably something obvious, but where eactlyis the "irrefutable proof" of MediaSentry violating the C&D?


    The writeup at RIvTP cites a "cease and desist order previously issued by the Massachusetts State Police on January 2, 2008," but the pages following the first page in the PDF are all MediaSentry logs from 2007. Where is the proof that MS continued to investigate after receiving the C&D from the police?

    /CF

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Lloyd_Bryant (73136)
      As far as I can tell, that "proof" doesn't exist. Ray's summary appears to be exaggerating quite a bit.

      But not to fear - this *is* still quite useful. The challenge clearly shows that
      a. MediaSentry *did* conduct investigations in Massachusetts.
      b. The police, upon becoming aware of this, sent them a C&D letter.

      So, as of Jan 2008, as far as the police could tell MediaSentry was not licensed to investigate in the state of Massachusetts. Which means that it is very probable that any evidence gathered i
  • by NewYorkCountryLawyer (912032) * <ray@@@beckermanlegal...com> on Thursday April 10, 2008 @01:44PM (#23027110) Homepage Journal
    is that it appears that MediaSentry has been telling the State [p2pnet.net] that it IS in compliance. Hmmmm.... could that be yet another crime?
  • Cool and would this not be a thing where one could sing;

    Slam-a-lan-a-ding-dong

    on their lawyers for stooping to this level.

    These people really believe that the law is for everyone else except them.
  • by JustNiz (692889) on Thursday April 10, 2008 @02:13PM (#23027598)
    If an individual went around pretending to represent the law, then he would get into serious trouble right away.
    Why aren't the police taking direct action against the RIAA's illegal operations instead of just sending them a cease-and-desist letter?
  • Wake up RIAA. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by pclminion (145572) on Thursday April 10, 2008 @02:34PM (#23027854)
    Wake up, RIAA. You might be a big bad fish, but unless you have a freakin' military to back yourself up, you are still subject to the laws of the even bigger, badder fish, which is the state government. Go fuck yourself.
  • by kseise (1012927) on Thursday April 10, 2008 @02:51PM (#23028048)
    RIAA: Somebody set up us the bomb
    The People: All your papers are belong to us. Make your time.
  • "hey Vinny, just off 'em. dis "court" ting ain't for us."
  • Surprised? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BanjoBob (686644) on Thursday April 10, 2008 @03:18PM (#23028352) Homepage Journal
    And this surprises who? The RIAA and MediaSentry have repeatedly shown that they don't care about the law. Their gaming of the legal system is proof of that.

    The problem is that our stupid courts don't put a stop to this illegal behavior right away and then, they continue to abuse the system. After a while, it becomes allowable behavior.

    If our legal system would put a stop to this, it would stop. Since they continue to allow it, this behavior will also continue.
  • This is wonderful (Score:3, Insightful)

    by PingXao (153057) on Thursday April 10, 2008 @03:19PM (#23028366)
    I applaud the people and universities who are pushing back against the MAFIAA, er.... uh, I mean the RIAA. They are winning tactical victories only, however, on the state level. What's not being won are strategic victories. Those would come in the form of big chunks of the population starting to realize that copyright abuse by the big money players is harmful. They would come in the form of Congress actually passing reasonable copyright reform, not the outright bribery they engage in today. Let's face it, when the RIAA starts losing enough in the courts they will shift tactics, and those will almost certainly involve paying off congress to pass draconian new criminal penalties and to lower the burden of proof.

    I'm happy when I read stories like this but it's important to remember cases where people push back are wins in little battles. In the long run, most of the public doesn't care about their rights, and the war will be lost. There's already a conspiracy underway to de-legitimize the whole concept of Fair Use. Not a theory, either. A fact.
  • by EdIII (1114411) *

    on the ground that the RIAA's 'evidence' was procured by criminal behavior.


    BEST .... IRONY .... EVER ....
  • OK now I do have documentation of violations of the cease and desist order [blogspot.com] in January and February, 2008, subsequent to the issuance of the January 2, 2008, cease and desist order, in LaFace v. Does 1-17.

The two most common things in the Universe are hydrogen and stupidity. -- Harlan Ellison

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