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Thursday, January 24, 2008

P2P: the downloader is an IP address, not a person...

A South Carolina woman sued by the record labels for file-sharing is fighting the RIAA's attempt to amend its original complaint is arguing that the RIAA's proposed amended complaint contradicts the testimony of an expert witness that testified for the labels in the Jammie Thomas trial.

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At issue is the boilerplate complaint used by the RIAA in its nearly 30,000 file-sharing lawsuits until last fall. The RIAA's standard language has come under fire in a handful of cases for its lack of specificity. One of those cases is Atlantic Records v. Catherine Njuguna, a case Ars last covered in September.

"Plaintiffs are informed and believe that Defendant, without the permission or consent of Plaintiffs, has used, and continues to use, an online media distribution system to download the Copyrighted Recordings, to distribute the Copyrighted Recordings to the public, and/or to make the Copyrighted Recordings available for distribution to others," reads the critical part of the complaint.

In Interscope v. Rodriguez, the judge refused to grant the labels a judgment in a case where the defendant failed to appear in court to fight the complaint. Judge Rudi M. Brewster wrote that the complaint used by the labels presents "no facts that would indicate that this allegation is anything more than speculation," and is "simply a boilerplate listing of the elements of copyright infringement without any facts pertaining specifically to the instant Defendant."

Since that ruling, the RIAA has altered its complaints to include more details about alleged infringements, including the date and time that the its investigators detected file-sharing activity and the IP address identified. In Atlantic v. Njuguna, the RIAA wants leave to amend its complaint to provide details of Njuguna's alleged infringement.

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