Lawsuit Could Force RIAA to Reveal Investigation Techniques

Background

Andersen's planned motion to file an amended complaint continues a saga that began with the RIAA's suit in 2005. From the beginning Andersen claimed her non-involvement in any of the alleged copyright infringement activity that the RIAA claimed she had indulged in. According to Lybeck, she voluntarily allowed the RIAA to examine the contents of her hard drive to prove her innocence and later had to ask the court to order the RIAA to reveal its findings. When the RIAA found no evidence against Andersen on the hard disk she had provided for inspection, they still refused to drop their suit and instead claimed that she might have used another computer for the alleged file sharing, Lybeck said.

They even deposed Andersen's daughter -- who was eight years old at that time -- in the case, as well as some of Andersen's relatives and friends. Lawyers representing RIAA in the case tried several times to reach Andersen's daughter directly, Lybeck claimed; at one point someone posing as Andersen's mother phoned the school in an apparent attempt to speak with her daughter, he said.

According to Lybeck, Andersen appears to have been a victim of mistaken identity. Lybeck said the RIAA appears to have known at some point that an online pseudonymous name that they had associated with Andersen in the copyright infringement case was, in reality, being used by an Everett, Wash.-based carpet installer. Despite knowing this, they appear to have gone after Andersen in what Lybeck said was an apparent bid to get her to drop her charges against the RIAA in return for them dropping their charges against her.

"We knew they had no information," Lybeck said. So as soon as it was procedurally to file a motion in court for summary judgment Andersen did so, he said. According to Lybeck, the RIAA delayed responding to that move for over a month. [At the point at which] they had to provide information, they provided a motion of dismissal of their case. "They quit after more than two years of harassing Tanya," he said.

Referring to Friday's planned lawsuit, Lybeck said the amended compaint "adds the specificity that the judge asked for" back in February.

It also seeks an injunction immediately stopping RIAA from continuing with its "illegal investigations" of alleged music file sharers. "We are seeking compensation for all that she has been put through by the RIAA," Lybeck said.

"We are seeking class action certification so that other individuals who have been harassed and intimidated by the RIAA can also receive compensation," Lybeck added.

Cara Duckworth, director of communications for the RIAA, offered a brief e-mailed statement in response to a request for action on Friday's pending move by Andersen. "It is unfortunate that this case continues to drag on after the Court previously deemed all of Ms. Andersen's claims inadequate," Duckworth said, adding, "We hope to resolve the case in short order."

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