Open letter to universities whose students have been targeted by the RIAA

RIAA-fighting attorney Ray Beckerman has a stirring open letter to universities whose students have been targeted by the RIAA:

What you should, at a minimum, do for your students.

What you can do is insist that the RIAA stipulate with you that (a) any motion for an order granting discovery of the students' identities will be on notice, both to you and the students, rather than ex parte, (b) that the RIAA must furnish to you, for each "John Doe", a copy of the summons and complaint and exhibits, a full set of the motion papers, and a full set of all other court documents which are required to be served on the defendant when an action is initiated… for you to distribute to the affected students.

If the RIAA refuses to so stipulate, you should go to Court yourself and get an order requiring them to comply with these fundamentals which are required by due process.

What you should also do.

The courts have held that in order for a claimant to get an order for discovery of confidential names and addresses of a John Doe in a copyright infringement case, it must make a prima facie evidentiary showing that it has a case for copyright infringement against each "John Doe".

Since the RIAA has been proceeding ex parte, however, and since they weren't challenged by the ISP's, judges have signed off on the orders even though supported by mere conclusory hearsay of suspect reliability. (Compare the courts of the Netherlands and Canada, where the ISP's challenged the application for "John Doe" information, and the Courts refused to grant the discovery orders, due to the unreliability of the RIAA's investigative "method").