Yep: The RIAA Is Now Taking the Cloud to Court

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If you want to share music, there are dozens of cloud-based lockers to choose from.

Well, the RIAA just picked one to subpoena, the beginning of something litigious. The unlucky target is Palo Alto-based Box.net, a cloud-based storage and sharing site that suddenly finds itself in the RIAA’s legal crosshairs.

The company, which counts Mark Cuban among its investors, was once heralded as “the Facebook of Cloud Computing.” But apparently, all the social (and secure) sharing is a bit too much for major label tastes.  According to paperwork filed with the US District Court for the Northern District of California on May 18th, the RIAA is subpoenaing Box.net to determine the identity of some suspect individuals.  These ‘bad actors’ are apparently using Box to transfer large amounts of music files.

The subpoena is being driven by Mark McDevitt, vice president of Online Anti-Piracy for the trade group.  “The purpose for which this subpoena is sought is to obtain the identities of the individuals involved….” the brief explains.

Box.net is complying, but what happens once the information is handed over?  That’s anyone’s guess at this stage.  Lawsuits against the individuals themselves is one route, though perhaps the RIAA has a plan to put Box.net into a sticky box of liability.  Which could potentially create lots of havoc for other lockers and the cloud in general.