Posted December 2, 2008 8:18 am by with 5 comments

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By Taylor Pratt

Boston Federal Judge Nancy Gertner has ruled to protect IP addresses in an RIAA anti-piracy lawsuit. Judge Gertner’s ruling could cause additional problems in future cases involving the RIAA. The RIAA had subpoenaed Boston University to disclose the identities behind specific IP addresses at their university.

Since 2003, the RIAA has prosecuted nearly 30,000 individuals for violating anti-piracy laws (basically, downloading music illegally). In any case in which an IP address was identified to that of a school, the RIAA would subpoena that school for the identities of the users of that particular IP address (as they did with Boston University).

According to Judge Gertner, “The university has adequately demonstrated that it is not able to identify the alleged infringers with a reasonable degree of technical certainty. As a result, the court finds that compliance with the subpoena as to the IP addresses represented by these defendants would expose innocent parties to intrusive discovery.”

MediaPost reports that the school has argued that they are unable to determine the exact identities of those particular IP addresses, as those users may not have been the ones directly responsible for the violations. “As it is the practice of students in the dorm to leave computers plugged in [and] running, as well as to use any available computer in whatever room they happen to be in . . . the probable number of individuals who came in contact with the computer is potentially quite high,” Boston University claims.

Ray Beckerman who has made his claim to fame by taking on the RIAA in the courtroom and on his blog, thinks that this victory will have a major impact on future RIAA cases.

Taylor Pratt is a Search Marketing Specialist at nFusion, a results focused marketing agency.

  • This is a great ruling as they should not try to prosecute particular individuals that could be using an IP address. I think it is bogus that they are still perusing illegal downloading as it seems that many people have gone away from it to actually buying mp3’s online. I guess the music industry will never be happy…

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  • I agree completely with the judge’s ruling in this case.. Privacy must be protected.. That is one right that is fast becoming endangered with all the newest means of keeping tabs on people.. It’s becoming harder and harder to protect the individuals right to privacy and every blow struck against the intrusion of “big brother” into our lives has my full support..

  • You bet it will. What a victory!

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  • Privacy should be protected at all costs….people have to be aware of the consequences of their online actions however, and this shouldn’t be seen as a carte blanche thumbs-up to download material illegally!

  • Man..i HATE the RIAA

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