Court tells RIAA to take subpoenas somewhere else

Legal staff does a Perry Smith

The race is on between file-traders and the RIAA's lawyers to see who can do more damage to the music labels' bottom line.

As of Friday, the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) legal team has captured a comfortable lead in this contest. A Massachusetts court has sided with two universities, ruling that the RIAA cannot run a centralized subpoena sweatshop from Washington D.C. and expect to attack all 50 states. The court has called on the RIAA to file subpoenas against file-traders in their respective jurisdictions.

This ruling must sting the RIAA. The music label mob may well have to go back and re-file thousands of subpoenas - a costly, time-consuming process.

"Today's ruling requires the recording industry to file subpoenas where it alleges that copyright infringement occurs, rather than blanketing the country from one court in D.C.," said Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) Staff Attorney Wendy Seltzer, in a statement. "The court ruling confirms that due process applies to Internet user privacy nationwide."

MIT and Boston College had taken a stand against the RIAA, looking to protect their students' privacy and make sure proper legal process was being followed. This is a refreshing stance compared to other schools such as Loyola University Chicago that were all too eager to hand over their students' names.

With more and more challenges popping up against them, the RIAA's lawyers are starting to look about as competent as the organization's hosting company. ®

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