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RIAA Continues Pressuring ISPs For Information

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The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has been relentlessly fierce in its pursuit of individuals it deems as “criminals” by filing numerous lawsuits over the past several years.

It looks like the RIAA is trying to do all it can to encourage ISPs to be more forthcoming with identifying information in order to fuel their tactics which amount to little more than a legal means of extorting money from everyday citizens.

In a letter that has since been leaked, the RIAA has outlined a series of guidelines (and demands) that it expects ISPs to follow to the letter as part of the organization’s ongoing efforts to hunt down music downloaders like rabid dogs so they can pile a mountain of litigation on top of them rather go after the actual music pirates themselves.

Ray Beckerman outlines some of his initial thoughts from the RIAA’s letter:

While we have not had time to analyse the letter in detail, some of its interesting features are:

-creation of a new "Pre-Doe settlement option";
-it will only make the "Pre-Doe settlement option" available to customers of ISP’s who agree to preserve their logs for 180 days;
-the "Pre-Doe" option will supposedly allow settlement at a reduced amount, with a discount of $1000 or more, if they settle before a John Doe lawsuit is brought;
-the RIAA will be launching a web site for "early settlements", www.p2plawsuits.com;
-the letter asks the ISP’s to notify the RIAA if they have previously "misidentified a subscriber account in response to a subpoena" or became aware of "technical information… that causes you to question the information that you provided in response to our clients’ subpoena";
-it requires ISP’s to notify the RIAA "as early as possible" as to whether they will enter the 180 day/"pre-Doe" plan;
-it mentioned that there has been confusion over how ISP’s should respond to the RIAA’s subpoenas;
-it noted that ISP’s have identified "John Does" who were not even subscribers of the ISP at the time of the infringement; and
-it requested that ISP’s furnish their underlying log files as well as just the names and addresses.

Ars Technica’s Eric Bangeman posted a template letter that the RIAA is requesting that ISPs send to those the RIAA have identified as wholly and utterly evil and of no intrinsic personal value… uhm, I mean those the RIAA considers to be pirates. Yeah, that’s what I meant to say.

Here’s the letter in detail. The <<ISP>> tag would, of course, be replaced with the name of an individual ISP:

<<ISP>> has received a notice from the Recording Industry Association of America ("RIAA") requesting that we preserve documents regarding your identity. The RIAA has indicated that it intends to file a lawsuit and seek leave to serve a subpoena upon <<ISP>> requiring disclosure of documents that identify the user located at an IP address that our files indicate was assigned to you at the time identified by the RIAA.

If you have any questions regarding why the RIAA is interested in your account, please contact the record companies’ representatives by phone at (913) 234-8181, by facsimile at (913) 234-81812, or by email at info@SettlementInformationLine.com

Please be advised that if the RIAA follows this notice with a subpoena, we will forward a copy of that subpoena to you but we will be legally obligated to provide the requested information.

Our purpose in sending you this letter is to provide you with advance notice of the RIAA’s request. <<ISP>> is not taking any action against you, and there is no need for you to communicate with us regarding this issue.

Why yes, I’ll be glad to cooperate with the RIAA in every way. I can’t imagine why I wouldn’t take a $1000 discount off of my settlement, other than the fact that even offering such a deal is completely dirty and underhanded in every way.

It’s more of the same from our friends the RIAA, employing extortion tactics and defrauding the courts by bringing lawsuits against ordinary Internet users in order to squeeze every penny they possibly can out of the music produced by the artists they allegedly represent.

I’m sure the RIAA means well. After all, their musicians see a good percentage of the money they extort. Right?

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RIAA Continues Pressuring ISPs For Information
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