University of Oregon takes a stand against RIAA

In a rare rebuke of the RIAA, a school where several of its students are being sued by the recording industry body has come to their aid, saying the tactics used may have been illegal.

17 students at the University of Oregon are being sued for piracy. However, in a court filing the school accused RIAA of using an investigation firm -- MediaSentry -- that does not have proper licensing in the state.

Oregon's attorney general, Hardy Myers, has also stepped in, calling for an immediate investigation into how the group obtained data on the students. Myers said that while it is not being argued that piracy isn't illegal, at issue is how RIAA has conducted itself.

Among other things, Myers said the investigation does not say how the files were obtained, nor if any infringing activity ever took place. Also, he accused the group of abusing the judicial process for its own personal gain.

"While the University is not a party to the case, Plaintiffs' subpoena affects the university's rights and obligations," Myers said in the court filing. "Plaintiffs may be spying on students who use the University's computer system and may be accessing much more than IP addresses."

The University of Oregon suits are part of a larger effort by RIAA to go after students on college campuses, which began in earnest this past February. Anti-piracy groups argue that a majority of music copyright infringement among young adults is occurring here, and have called on schools to reign in their students.

Oregon's challenge to the RIAA's methods is the first of its kind since the effort began. It is likely to embolden other schools who may take issue with the group's strong-arm tactics to also challenge it in court.

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