Washington, D.C., USA – – With hundreds of lawsuits in the works against online file sharers and up to a $150,000 fine for each song illegally downloaded, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) is fighting it out in the courts against an unlikely opponent known only as ‘nycfashiongirl.’ The RIAA is pursuing a copyright subpoena in order to force Verizon Internet Services Inc. to identify ‘nycfashiongirl’ for allegedly sharing more than 900 songs over the Internet.
Brooklyn’s ‘nycfashiongirl,’ through attorney Daniel N. Ballard of California, has argued that identifying her is an infringement of her constitutionally guaranteed right to privacy and the freedom of anonymous association. ‘Nycfashiongirl’ claims the songs on her computer were from legally purchased CDs.The RIAA isn’t buying it and suggested it has proof. Industry investigators revealed the practice of using digital fingerprints or “hashes” that can single out MP3 files downloaded from the Internet. These fingerprints are believed to be able to differentiate between purchased CDs and illegally downloaded song files.
The RIAA also revealed another means of detecting pirated music known as “metadata” tags that embed bits information on MP3 files.
The legal wrangling is expected to continue with 1,300 subpoenas issued to Internet providers to identify suspected file sharers. A pledge for hearings on the copyright subpoenas by Minnesota Senator Norm Coleman, the chairman of the Senate Governmental Affairs’ Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, used to hunt down music file sharers is sure to complicate the legal fight.
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