RIAA Member Objects to Suppressing Evidence in Tenenbaum Case

Legal questions have been raised over whether or not MediaSentry has violated the law while gathering evidence. While the questions are being raised in the Thomas case, Sony, a member of the RIAA, is objecting to a similar motion to suppress the evidence based on legal uncertainty in the similar Tenenbaum case. Surprisingly, they point to the Thomas case as evidence that MediaSentry did not break the law.

Note: This is an article I wrote that was published elsewhere first. It has been republished here for archival purposes

We’ve been following the Jammie Thomas case for some time now and, interestingly enough, our latest coverage discussed how the legalities of MediaSentry was being questioned. During the Jammie Thomas case, there was a motion filed that suggested that the judge only looked at the state laws of the defendants location. The motion to suppress the evidence was originally denied, seemingly on the basis of geography (MediaSentry was operating outside of the state)

You’d think there would be some uncertainty about the legality of MediaSentry’s investigation techniques. Of course, the RIAA seems to think that the techniques are perfectly sound if you read this latest objection in the Tenenbaum case (PDF, source with built-in PDF viewer, hat tip: Ray Beckerman). Here’s the reference:

Finally, the District of Minnesota recently rejected an identical motion asserted by the same counsel in Capitol Records, Inc. v. Thomas-Rasset, Case No. 06-cv-1497-MJD-RLE (D. Minn.). In the Thomas-Rasset case, the court found that counsel’s arguments had no merit and denied it. See Capitol Records, Inc. v. Thomas-Rasset, Case No. 06-cv-1497-MJD-RLE, slip op. at 2-12 (D. Minn. June 11, 2009) (denying defendant’s motion to suppress evidence by MediaSentry because defendant failed to show MediaSentry violated any law in gathering evidence to be used in the case) (hereinafter Thomas-Rasset, attached hereto as Exhibit B). Specifically, the Thomas-Rasset court held that:

MediaSentry did not illegally obtain the evidence in question. MediaSentry acted for the legitimate purpose of discovery infringers and protecting its clients’ copyrights. Therefore, there was no ethical violation committed by Plaintiffs’ attorney’ involvement with MediaSentry’s investigation. . . . Because Defendant has failed to show that MediaSentry violated any law in gathering the evidence to be used in this case, Defendant’s motion to suppress is denied.

Id. For all of these reasons and those explained below and in the Thomas-Rasset decision, Defendant’s Motion to Suppress should be denied.

Perhaps that ellipses is a little convenient given that the reason, according to the more recent motion filed by Thomas’ legal counsel, said that the only real reason that the motion was rejected was because of geographical law problems (the judge merely looked at laws in one state, not the state MediaSentry operated in), not necessarily because the practises were completely legal anywhere. Naturally, this is the legal counsel for the RIAA and it would probably be unwise on the part of the lawyers to expose this vulnerability in their own motion.

Still, who knows how many inconsistencies US law experts can find throughout this case? It’ll be interesting to see how the judge responds to this regardless.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Google+.

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