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Attorney featured in story on illegal downloads

Island attorney Lory Lybeck takes a superhero stance on a piling in Lake Washington near his Island home in this photo that ran in BusinessWeek magazine. - Brian Smale/Special to the Reporter
Island attorney Lory Lybeck takes a superhero stance on a piling in Lake Washington near his Island home in this photo that ran in BusinessWeek magazine.
— image credit: Brian Smale/Special to the Reporter

A story in a recent issue of BusinessWeek magazine, features Island attorney Lory Lybeck, who has been representing a Portland, Ore., woman accused of illegally downloading music.

The woman is suing her accusers, the Recording Industry of America (RIAA). The 45-year-old single mother, Tanya Andersen, as the story wryly points out, is the least likely person to be downloading the type of music she was accused of doing in 2004. She was harassed for months by the RIAA, who sent collectors to her door as well as threatening letters and e-mails. Andersen, who is on disability and has an 8-year-old daughter, found Lybeck on the Internet when she searched for someone to help her. Lybeck took on the case in 2005 on contingency.

The RIAA has long controlled access and distribution of music. Yet with the Internet and the advent of Napster, the first software that gave individuals the means to download music without paying for it (or now, paying very little), the RIAA has been losing its grip on music sales. To reassert its control over music properties, the RIAA has gone after individuals downloading songs illegally in order to defend their copyrights.

Industry spokesmen have said that the recording business wants to send a message. Yet many agree that tactics of the powerful industry are questionable in both the ways they collect money and those whom they target.

Even after months and months of work on the case, Lybeck remains indignant and angry over the tactics of the RIAA.

It is an amazing business, he said of the RIAA’s efforts to collect money from often innocent people.

“It is a well-guarded, secret campaign complete with sloppy investigative work,” he said. “The RIAA even accuses people who are dead or even those who don’t own computers of illegally downloading music.”

This is an attempt to maintain a stranglehold [on the music business] by four international companies that does nothing for the artists that they [supposedly] are trying to protect,” he continued. “The companies are trying to hang on to a way of doing business [selling CDs] that is rapidly becoming obsolete.”

To read the entire story, go to www.businessweek.com. To learn more about the law firm to www.lybeckmurphy.com.

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