RIAA does not have godlike legal powers
Judge waggles his wig
By Nick Farrell: Tuesday 21 March 2006, 07:53
A ROBED but not wigged one has told legal eagles working for the Recording Industry Association that the outfit does not have the supreme legal powers that it thinks it has.
RIAA lawyers had demanded full access to Tanya Andersenâ€™s computer so that it could prove that she had downloaded files. Anderson claims that she has not downloaded files in her life and has counter-sued the RIAA with a racketeering charge.
She opposed giving the RIAA unlimited access to her computer because she felt that was a violation of her privacy, because it would allow the outfit to look at files that have nothing to do with the case.
Much to the RIAAâ€™s surprise judge Donald Ashmanskas agreed with her. He told her to get an independent forensics expert and get the RIAA to foot the bill.
It seems the courts are getting fed up with the recording industryâ€™s guilty until innocent approach.
When the RIAA first made its accusation against Anderson, she claims they refused to accept that there was anyway that they could be wrong about her downloading music. All they told her was they wanted a few thousand dollars to go away.
The Big Four Organized Music record label cartel's RIAA is licking its wounds after losing a bid for unfettered access to the hard drive of an Oregon mother it's victimizing in a p2p file sharing case.
The woman, Tanya Andersen, lives alone with her nine-year-old daughter, Kylee, surviving on Social Security disability payments.
On behalf of the Big Four's RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) RIAA, "settlement" worker Mark Eilers accused her of "illegally" downloading music files, demanding an extortion payment to get the labels off her back.
But Andersen, 43, says she's never downloaded or distributed music in her life and since February last year, when the labels' civil copyright infringement lawsuit was filed, has been trying to end her nightmare by having the RIAA examine her computer so they could see for themselves.
The RIAA had always ignored her but then, out of the blue, suddenly wanted a court order to allow it to ferret freely through her hard drive.
Andersen and her lawyers, Lybeck Murphy from Mercer Island, Washington, refused to give carte blanche access, and judge Donald Ashmanskas has told Andersen to go ahead and hire her own independent private forensic expert to look for specific files, also ordering the RIAA to foot the bill for the examination.
"Finally!!!" - declares Andersen. "I've been asking them to look at the computer ever since I first heard from them.
"I'm glad the judge has finally given me the opportunity to show I didn't do what I'm being accused of, and that the RIAA won't be able to just search through my entire computer and invade my privacy by looking at stuff they don't need to look at, like tax info, family photos, financial stuff, etc," Andersen says.
"One other thing I wanted to tell you about," she adds. "These cases are starting to finally get some news attention, here. A couple months ago, I was on channel 6 in Portland. (It was a real short news segment.) Then, on Thursday, I went to Seattle and the news team there talked to me for quite some time. I'm glad awareness of what these people are trying to pull is beginning to spread."
The interview is slated to air on CBS affiliate Kiro 7 tomorrow (Monday).
Not at all incidentally, the RIAA is also being sued by Andersen - in a RICO (Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organization) case which is on hold pending the results of the investigation of Andersen's hard drive.
RICO suits are more normally used in Organized Crime prosecutions.
Someone is actually standing up to them. Good for her, I hope she wins.