RIAA Caught Pirating: It Wasn’t Us. Really.

Call Ripley, because he’s not going to believe this one: the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has been caught pirating copyrighted material. Of course it’s not the RIAA’s fault, or so the trade group says, adding that it must be someone else doing this evil deed.

Hoist the Jolly Roger!

TorrentFreak took a look at what some IP addresses belonging to vocal anti-piracy advocates have been up to lately and found several that were involved in illegal downloads. Governments, corporations, and lobbying groups were all found to be downloading questionable content through peer-to-peer protocol BitTorrent. The site discovered that even the RIAA itself had registered IP addresses found to be involved in unauthorized downloads. 

When asked about it, the RIAA used a defense that should be familiar to strongly anti-pirating group, since it has heard that same defense in lawsuits the RIAA has brought against others over the years: “Someone else did it.” The group claimed that these downloads were not being done by RIAA staffers, but by some unnamed third-party that is using the RIAA’s IP addresses.

An RIAA spokesperson told CNET earlier this week, “Those partial IP addresses are similar to block addresses assigned to RIAA. However, those addresses are used by a third party vendor to serve up our public Web site. As I said earlier, they are not used by RIAA staff to access the Internet.”

In other words, the IP addresses in question belong to the RIAA, but who was actually using them is what is in question. The RIAA did not name the “third-party vendor” that it claims was the culprit. Whether it was its own staff, a known vendor, or some hacked or spoofed IP addresses, the RIAA has a situation on it’s hands. The next question will be whether or not the excuse that it has categorically disallowed for defendants will work for itself.