THE OREGON State Attorney General's office went to federal court Wednesday to protect the privacy of state university students against subpoenas issued by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), writes the Associated Press.
It's first time a state attorney general has stepped in to block RIAA subpoenas.
The RIAA sent the University of Oregon subpoenas demanding that the school identify 17 students that it claims violated copyrights by downloading music files.
In documents it filed in US District Court in Eugene, the state moved to quash the subpoenas, calling them "overbroad and burdensome."
The filing complained, "Sadly, the university's efforts thus far have been met by accusations that the university is obstructing the process and even conspiring with law breakers. Those accusations are not warranted."
It continued, "The record in this case suggests that the larger issue may not be whether students are sharing copyrighted music, but whether [the RIAA's] investigative and litigation strategies are appropriate."
The state's memorandum in support of the motion refers to another unresolved case in Oregon, in which a Beaverton woman alleges she was a victim of illegal spying, threats and abusive legal tactics at the hands of the RIAA and its agents.
Deputy State Attorney General Pete Shepherd said the state isn't trying to protect students who break the law, but it has an obligation to protect students' privacy and the subpoenas go too far. "We don't think the university can be compelled to produce investigative work for the recording industry," he said.
A spokesdrone for the RIAA called the university's position "misguided". µ
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