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RIAA Announces "John Doe" Suits Against Filesharers

PRESS RELEASE
January 21, 2004

"While it's an improvement that the record indsutry now has to play by the same rules as everyone else who goes into court, they are still heading in the wrong direction" noted Cindy Cohn, EFF's Legal Director. "There is a better way. The recording industry should be giving America's millions of filesharers the same deal that radio stations have had for decades: pay a fair fee, play whatever you want on whatever software works best for you."

Continuing its crusade against its own customers, the record industry today announced that it would begin filing "John Doe" lawsuits against more than 500 individuals accused of illegal filesharing. This should mean an increase in the privacy protections for individuals, since we expect that the judges overseeing these Doe suits will apply procedural protections similar to those developed in other Doe suits. The targets should get notice of the demand for their identities and an opportunity to be heard in challenging the demand. At the same time record labels will have to prove that they did a "reasonable investigation" before filing suit. The labels can no longer use a subpoena rubber-stamped by a court clerk, which is what the D.C. Circuit outlawed in late December.

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