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With news that Vivendi Universal, EMI, Warner Music and Sony BMG’s RIAA is looking decidedly frayed around the edges, if it’s not actually going down the tubes, there may not be much point in naming it as a defendant in a counter sue ‘em all lawsuit. But that’s happening in a North Carolina case. Demanding a trial, Shahanda Moelle Moursy is suing three of the Big 4 music gang members - Vivendi Universal, Warner Music and Sony BMG - as well as Motown Records and, your favourites and mine, the disgraced RIAA, Safenet and MediaSentry, the latter recently fired by the RIAA for, presumably, long-standing and unresolved incompetence. Only EMI is missing. The case, with the plaintiffs predictably trying to have the the counterclaims dismissed, has been going on for a while, “first as LaFace Records v Does 1-38, then as SONY BMG Music v Doe,” says Recording Industry vs The People’s Ray Beckerman. But, he says, he’ll now begin covering it as SONY BMG Music v Moursy. p2pnet too.Shahanda is represented by Stephen E. Robertson of Robertson, Medlin and Blocker, whose submission says in part »»» For a number of years, a group of large, multinational, multi-billion dollar record companies, including these Record Company Counterclaim Defendants, have been abusing the federal court judicial system for the purpose of waging a public relations and public threat campaign targeting digital file sharing activities. As part of this campaign, these Record Company Counterclaim Defendants hired an unlicensed private investigator, MediaSentry, – in violation of North Carolina and other applicable law – which receives a bounty to invade private computers and private computer networks to obtain information – in the form of Internet Protocol (’IP’) addresses – allowing them to identify the computers and computer networks that they invaded. MediaSentry performs these investigations in North Carolina and other states.Using information obtained from this illegal invasion, the Record Company Counterclaim Defendants file so-called ‘John Doe’ lawsuits – reportedly against more than thirty thousand anonymous ‘John Does.’ The ‘John Doe’ lawsuits are filed for the sole purpose of activating the discovery powers of the court system – notably, the subpoena power – to obtain records from Internet service providers, to connect the IP addresses to the names of individual account holders allegedly using those IP addresses at the time of the invasion. However, service providers have no way of knowing the identities of the person or persons who may be using the computer or computer network at the time the record companies invade it. In fact, there is not even any way to verify that the unlicensed investigators secretly snooping for IP addresses have obtained the correct ones.After harvesting the names of account holders through these subpoenas, the record companies often dismiss the John Doe suits. The Record Company Counterclaim Defendants then, upon information and belief, provide the personal information to an agent which engages in deceptive and illegal practices aimed at extracting money from people allegedly identified from the secret lawsuits. Most of the people subjected to these secret suits do not even know that they have been sued until a demand for payment is made by agents for the record companies.The collection practices engaged in by these record company agents are for the sole purpose of contacting prospective defendants and demanding that they pay thousands of dollars each to avoid the prospect of a federal lawsuit against them. This demand takes no account of the merits of any prospective claim against the putative defendant, but instead relies upon the inherent inequality in resources and litigation power between Record Company Counterclaim Defendants and their individual victims.As part of this campaign of their sham litigation program, the Record Company Counterclaim Defendants enhance the intimidation factor by actually filing suit in a number of instances with no prior warning. These suits are designed to attract media attention, and often do, as stories emerge of Record Company Counterclaim Defendants’ suits against the elderly, disabled, technologically clueless, and other vulnerable victims. Many of these victims haveno idea how to operate a computer, let alone how to install and use peer-to-peer networking software to exchange music they would not likely be listening to anyway. But actual innocence is rarely a consideration to the Record Company Counterclaim Defendants.The instant suit is just one example, yet it is an integral part of the Record Company Counterclaim Defendants’ intimidation campaign. As a result, it is but one affirmative action out of thousands taken by the Record Company Counterclaim Defendants in furtherance of the intimidation campaign.The Record Company Counterclaim Defendants’ litigation campaign, its preceding demands, and illegal investigations, are part of a concerted pattern of sham litigation. The Record Company Counterclaim Defendants’ true purpose is not to obtain the relief claimed in its sham litigation, but to intimidate, harass, and oppress the defendant targets and other users of computer networks.
However, service providers have no way of knowing the identities of the person or persons who may be using the computer or computer network at the time the record companies invade it. In fact, there is not even any way to verify that the unlicensed investigators secretly snooping for IP addresses have obtained the correct ones.