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Tuesday, October 14, 2003
Electronic Frontier Foundation defends alleged filesharer


EFF announced that it will defend Ross Plank of Playa Del Rey, California, against a wrongly filed complaint, among the 261 copyright infringement lawsuits the recording industry has filed against individuals.

The federal lawsuit filed against Plank in Los Angeles accuses him of making hundreds of Latin songs available using KaZaA filesharing software earlier this summer. Plank does not speak Spanish and does not listen to Latin music. More importantly, his computer did not even have KaZaA installed during the period when the investigation occurred.

EFF has offered to accept service of the complaint on Plank's behalf, the first step to defending the lawsuit.

Plank is a website consultant who operates his business, Sitenurturing.com, from his home. "I need my computer and Internet connection to run my business," said Plank. "I shouldn't have to feel my business and future are at risk because the RIAA has somehow linked my name to a set of Latin songs."

Comcast, Plank's ISP, notified him that they received a subpoena from the recording industry seeking his identity, but Plank disregarded the notice because he didn't didn't use KaZaA and didn't even recognize the song titles. Plank's records from the time at which the RIAA issued its subpoena indicate that he was not even using the network address for which the recording industry had sought the user's identity.

EFF has urged the recording industry to accept filesharing by embracing new ways of ensuring that copyright holders and artists are compensated. "Radio stations pay a blanket fee and get to 'share' any music that they like," noted EFF Executive Director Shari Steele. "The record companies could ensure that artists are paid for music shared using the filesharing networks if they offered individuals a similar deal and paid a portion of the funds directly to artists."


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