RIAA tries to sue dead grandmother

By Derek Sooman on February 7, 2005, 1:01 PM
The RIAA have alleged that Gertrude Walton has made more than 700 pop, rock and rap songs available for free on the Internet. Are they taking her to court? Well, good luck if they are, because Gertrude Walton is a 83-year old grandmother who is... well, kind of dead, basically.

Mrs Walton's daughter Robin Chianumba... says that when the first lawyer's letter arrived she faxed her mother's death certificate to the RIAA but to no avail. Possibly believing this to be a ruse the RIAA lawsuit duly arrived several days later.

The case shows only too well the problems facing the RIAA when they try to trace people they believe have been making music illegally available for download. They have to work on the basis of identifying IP numbers, but with many IP addresses being dynamically allocated via DHCP by ISPs, and the same IP addresses being recycled around multiple users, this can be a pretty daunting task. The RIAA has dropped the case against Gertrude, you will be pleased to hear.

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