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The Courts

Appeals Court Stays RIAA Subpoena Vs. Students 266

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "The procedures used by the RIAA the past 5 years in suing 'John Does' without their knowing about it have never been subjected to scrutiny by an appeals court, since most of the 'John Does' never learn about the 'ex parte' proceeding until it's too late to do anything about it. That is about to change. In Arista Records v. Does 1-16, a case targeting students at the Albany Campus of the State University of New York, the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has decided to put things on hold while it takes a careful look at what transpired in the lower court. The way it came to this is that a few 'John Does' filed a broad-based challenge to a number of the RIAA's procedures, citing the defendant's constitutional rights, the insufficiency of the complaint, the lack of personal jurisdiction over the defendants, improper misjoinder of the defendants, and the RIAA's illegal procurement of its 'evidence' through the use of an unlicensed investigator, MediaSentry. The lower court judges gave short shrift to 'John Doe #3,' but he promptly filed an appeal, and asked for a stay of the subpoena and lower court proceedings during the pendency of the appeal. The RIAA opposed the motion, arguing that John Doe's appeal had no chance of success. The Appeals Court disagreed and granted the motion, freezing the subpoena and putting the entire case on hold until the appeal is finally determined. As one commentator said, 'this news has been a long time coming, but is welcomed.'"

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