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Electronic Frontier Foundation Defends Alleged Filesharer

PRESS RELEASE
October 14, 2003
Another Error in Record Companies' Legal Crusade

Los Angeles, California - EFF today announced that it will
defend Ross Plank of Playa Del Rey, California, against a
wrongly filed complaint, among the 261 copyright
infringement lawsuits the recording industry has filed
against individuals.

The federal lawsuit filed against Plank in Los Angeles
accuses him of making hundreds of Latin songs available
using KaZaA filesharing software earlier this summer. Plank
does not speak Spanish and does not listen to Latin music.
More importantly, his computer did not even have KaZaA
installed during the period when the investigation occurred.

EFF has offered to accept service of the complaint on
Plank's behalf, the first step to defending the lawsuit.

Plank is a website consultant who operates his business,
Sitenurturing.com, from his home. "I need my computer and
Internet connection to run my business," said Plank. "I
shouldn't have to feel my business and future are at risk
because the RIAA has somehow linked my name to a set of
Latin songs."

Comcast, Plank's ISP, notified him that they received a
subpoena from the recording industry seeking his identity,
but Plank disregarded the notice because he didn't didn't
use KaZaA and didn't even recognize the song titles. Plank's
records from the time at which the RIAA issued its subpoena
indicate that he was not even using the network address for
which the recording industry had sought the user's identity.

"Whether the error was made by Comcast or the RIAA, the
issuance of a federal complaint on such slim evidence
demonstrates the serious flaws in the Recording Industry's
litigation campaign," said Wendy Seltzer, an EFF staff
attorney representing Plank. "It's not fair to hold people
like Mr. Plank as collateral damage in the RIAA dragnet. If
the labels don't dismiss the complaint, we'll look forward
to discovery into how they made this misidentification in
the first place."

"The recording industry's 'sue first and ask questions
later,' policy caused this problem," added EFF Legal
Director Cindy Cohn. "The RIAA recently told Congress that
its members will contact individuals in the future before
suing them -- but better yet would be to ensure that they
cannot violate the privacy of people like Ross Plank in the
first place until they have demonstrated to a judge that
they have their facts straight."

EFF has urged the recording industry to accept filesharing
by embracing new ways of ensuring that copyright holders and
artists are compensated. "Radio stations pay a blanket fee
and get to 'share' any music that they like," noted EFF
Executive Director Shari Steele. "The record companies could
ensure that artists are paid for music shared using the
filesharing networks if they offered individuals a similar
deal and paid a portion of the funds directly to artists."

Links:

Contact:

Wendy Seltzer
  Staff Attorney
  Electronic Frontier Foundation
  wendy@eff.org

Cindy Cohn
  Legal Director
  Electronic Frontier Foundation
  cindy@eff.org

Ross R. Plank
  Defendant in RIAA Case

  SiteNurturing.com
  ross@sitenurturing.com

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