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RIAA facing racketeering, fraud, spying claims over anti-piracy tactics

[JURIST] The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) [trade website] is facing allegations of racketeering, fraud, and illegal spying after an Oregon woman on Friday added claims [amended complaint] to an existing lawsuit against the RIAA, several recording companies, and data investigation company MediaSentry [corporate website] for tactics the entities used as part of an RIAA anti-piracy campaign. The woman, Tonya Anderson, originally filed a countersuit [claim materials, PDF] to an RIAA lawsuit against her for alleged illegal downloading of copyrighted material, but is now seeking to have her case up-graded to a nationwide class action suit to include others whom the RIAA had threatened with litigation. The RIAA's own suit against Anderson has been already dismissed by a federal judge, and her attorney says she is maintaining and expanding her suit to force the companies to reveal how widespread the investigations have been.

In the suit, Anderson alleges that the defendants violated private investigation laws by electronically searching her private information, used illegal methods of seeking payment for data she had allegedly downloaded, pursued litigation even though they should have known that the investigations were illegal, and intentionally caused her emotional distress through slander and the malicious prosecution. Anderson's lawsuit has been hailed [advocacy blog] by groups critical of RIAA's campaign to charge file-sharing Internet users for copyrighted material they have illegally downloaded. AP has more.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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