Sony BMG Music Entertainment v. Tenenbaum, No. 08-MC-00104, 2009 BL 124443 (D.R.I. June 10, 2009).
Court denied various record labels' request to inspect and mirror image the home computer the parents of a defendant in a music downloading copyright infringement action pending in another district court.
Related action against son in another district: Capitol Records, Inc. v. Alaujan, No. 03-CV-
11661 [D. Mass. (i) May 6, 2009 order permitting labels to miror one of defendant's two computers; (ii) May 13, 2009 order that “reminded” the record companies that the Massachusetts lawsuit was “‘not an opportunity to explore any potential copyright infringement committed by [the son] at any time or place’ and that ‘relevant discovery [is] limited to
the infringement of specific songs whose copyrights were owned or licensed by the [record companies] and which were identified in Exhibits A or B to their Complaint.")
In the Rhode Island action, the record labels sought to inspect and mirror Tenenbaum’s parents’ home computer. The parents were not parties to the Massachusetts dispute involving their adult son. Additionally, the parents bought their computer after their son left for college. The court found that although it was possible that the computer contained some evidence relevant to their son's file sharing activities, the record companies had not “shown enough of a likelihood
of relevant evidence to warrant the intrusion of privacy arising out of a forensic computer analysis of a home computer utilized for years by non-parties to the underlying case.” Further, the Mass. court had granted the record companies permission to analyze the son's computer, and thus, the record companies’ request to search for similar information on his parents
computer would be “duplicative and invasive of [the parents’] independent privacy interests as non-parties.” Nor would denial of the motion “handcuff” plaintiff record companies’ ability to litigate the underlying copyright infringement claim: the son had also admitted to downloading music, and the record companies obtained records from the file-sharing service that were attributed to the son's user name/IP address.
Record companies’ motion to compel denied.