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MediaSentry Removes Investigative Language
February 19, 2008
Thomas Mennecke
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Last week, Slyck covered the increasingly bizarre situation surrounding SafeNet, aka MediaSentry. As many file-sharers already know, MediaSentry is the organization the RIAA outsources their investigative work to. The term "investigation" has come under direct fire recently, as several defendants have claimed that MediaSentry lacks a private investigator's license. Defendants have claimed that without such a license, the evidence gathered against them is inadmissible.

Today, there's a new twist to the MediaSentry/investigation saga. As reported by Recording Industry vs The People, an astute netizen noticed that MediaSentry (SafeNet) just recently removed all reference to the word "investigation" from their website. Perhaps more importantly, the individual also managed to take a screen shot of the site on February 3rd, prior to the change. MediaSentry's earlier incarnation contained language that's been directly challenged by two prominent RIAA litigants.

"Our Investigation Services permit clients to monitor the status of their copyright searches and create extensive management reports to track trends and the effectiveness of enforcement activity." (emphasis added.)

Adding fuel to the defendant's fire, MediaSentry's language further indicates that it operates as a private detective. According to New York State Business law, anyone who collects information for a civil or criminal trial must have a private investigators license. Does SafeNet conduct this type of business?

"SafeNet has extensive experience gathering evidence for civil/criminal litigation and prosecution against those who engage in unauthorized online content distribution."

Ouch. That sure sounds like something a private investigator might do. The old MediaSentry website mentions the word "investigation" no less than 3 times. With the heat radiating more intensely on MediaSentry, a change appears to have been in order. As of yesterday, all mention of the word "investigation" is now eliminated, as well as any reference to "evidence gathering". No longer does MediaSentry provide "investigative" services, rather, they are now in the "Intelligence Gathering" field.

"In an increasingly fragmented digital landscape, knowledge and insight are critical to understanding both the threats and the opportunities available within this growing channel. SafeNet's intelligence services provide valuable metrics and insight around how content propagates across file-sharing communities so clients can make informed decisions around their protection and distribution strategies."

With SafeNet providing "no comment" on their legal status as an investigator, Slyck did manage to discuss with Matthew Pugh, Senior Public Relations Specialist, why the webpage change was made.

"The changes to the site reflect an overdue need to update our site to better reflect our company strategy. This part of the site has not been updated for more than two years - since SafeNet acquired MediaSentry," Matt told Slyck.com. "We anticipate adding even more content in the upcoming months."

So there you have it. With SafeNet mum on whether they consider themselves "investigators", no ruling from either defense challenge and the RIAA not particularly impressed either way, only time will tell what fate awaits MediaSentry.


This story is filed in these Slyck News categories
Technology News :: Software

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