Woman Accuses Record Industry of Illegal Spying

A woman who claims the recording industry's anti-music piracy campaign threatens and intimidates innocent people has filed a new complaint accusing record companies of racketeering, fraud and illegal spying.

Tanya Andersen originally sued the Recording Industry Association of America after RIAA representatives threatened to interrogate her young daughter if she didn't pay thousands of dollars for music she downloaded from somebody else.

Her amended complaint filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Portland seeks national class-action status for other people allegedly victimized by the industry's anti-piracy campaign and the company it hired, MediaSentry.

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The new lawsuit claims accuses the industry and MediaSentry of spying "by unlicensed, unregistered and uncertified private investigators" who "have illegally entered the hard drives of tens of thousands of private American citizens" in violation of laws "in virtually every state in the country."

The information was used to file "sham" lawsuits intended only as intimidation to further the anti-piracy campaign, the lawsuit said.

Lory Lybeck, the attorney for the Beaverton woman, said the lawsuit is partly aimed at forcing the industry to reveal how extensive the spying had become.

"We're very pleased that we'll finally be able to force the RIAA and MediaSentry to give up secret records they have steadfastly refused to disclose in tens of thousands of cases that they've filed," Lybeck said.

Jonathan Lamy, an industry spokesman, said the new complaint repeats old claims.

"It is unfortunate that this case continues to drag on after the court previously deemed all of Ms. Andersen's claims inadequate," Lamy said. "We hope to resolve the case in short order."

The complaint notes the case began when Andersen, a single mother, was sitting down for dinner with her then 8-year-old daughter at their home in August 2005 and a legal process server knocked on her door with notice of an RIAA lawsuit falsely alleging copyright infringement and demanding penalties.

The lawsuit was dismissed by U.S. Magistrate Judge Donald Ashmanskas and Andersen countersued.

Her complaint is similar to one filed in federal court against the industry by Oregon Attorney General Hardy Myers on behalf of the University of Oregon to protect the privacy of university students the RIAA has accused of music piracy.

Stephanie Soden, spokeswoman for Myers, said Friday that the state is monitoring the Andersen lawsuit.

"We're definitely watching it closely," she said.