January 22, 2003

A FEDERAL COURT HAS ORDERED VERIZON to release the names of subscribers to the RIAA.

What's most troubling is that the RIAA (and MPAA) people are executing legal documents -- swearing under oath that they have investigated these matters -- when their actions are really based on software that's about as accurate as the direct-mail software that sends Army enlistment offers to my cats. I wrote about that problem in this article, which noted that evidence in the case indicated that the "copyright 'bots" were identifying obvious non-infringing works as infringing, and human beings were signing off on subpoenas "under penalty of perjury" to get these taken down.

If I had a "Harry Potter book report" and the RIAA or MPAA came after me with claims that I had an illegal copy of the Harry Potter movie, I think I'd pursue an abuse of process action, and seek prosecution for perjury. And if lawyers were involved, I'd consider filing a disciplinary complaint with the appropriate state bar.