Friday, November 02, 2007

University of Oregon Resists the RIAA

The University of Oregon became the first University to challenge RIAA subpoenas seeking the identity of file sharers on the network as Recording Industry vs. The People describes.

The only way to really challenge a simple subpoena is by saying it's burdensome and over broad. Accordingly, the University's motion to quash says, "The University cannot determine whether the content in question was accessed by one occupant as opposed to another, or whether it was accessed instead by a visitor." The motion argues that interviews and forensic investigation would be necessary, thereby burdening the university.

In an interesting twist, Oregon's Attorney General Hardy Myers is representing the University, apparently the first time a State AG has done so. (The last Oregon AG became governor.)

I don't see it being very successful - there are only 17 names, and dozens of other universities have been able to do it - but I think it's a good thing to check the RIAA, and to force them to, well, tighten up their game. In the same way, counterclaims by incorrectly named defendants forces the RIAA to use greater care in pointing fingers.

More to the point, the AG's motion notes that they are not required to create these records, as opposed to produce them. This reminds me of the TorrentSpy case, where a federal district court judge "ordered the company to begin saving their logs since the company's servers 'save' the logs in RAM memory for about 6 hours before the info is tossed or overwritten. Essentially the magistrate judge Jacqueline Chooljian of California's Central District is ordering the company to hold onto information it normally decided to toss as part of its privacy policy promises to its users." (from Wired.)

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