An anonymous California computer user went to court on Thursday to challenge the recording industry’s file-trading subpoenas, charging that they are unconstitutional and violate her right to privacy. Her lawyers argue that the recording industry would make George Orwell blush with their draconian efforts.

An anonymous Californian is challenging the recording industry’s right to obtain her personal details

The legal motion, filed in Washington, D.C., federal court by a “Jane Doe” Internet service subscriber, is the first from an individual whose personal information has been subpoenaed by the Recording Industry Association of America in recent months.

The RIAA has used court orders to try to identify more than 1,000 computer users it alleges have been offering copyrighted songs on file-trading networks. It plans to use the information gained to file copyright lawsuits against the individuals.

“This is more invasive than someone having secret access to the library books you check out or the videos you rent,” Glenn Peterson, one of the attorneys representing the plaintiff, said.

The Jane Doe motion comes as the first individual legal response to the RIAA’s effort to sue large numbers of file swappers. It follows similar legal challenges from several Internet service providers (ISPs) and colleges, including Pacific Bell Internet Services, an SBC Communications subsidiary.

According to documents filed with the court, Jane Doe used the Kazaa file-swapping software as a music player largely to listen to songs she had ripped from her own CDs and to music that came pre-loaded on her family computer. She also “participated” in the Kazaa file-swapping community but tried to prevent other people from accessing files on her computer, the documents state.

The action filed on Thursday is still a preliminary step before settling down to fight on constitutional or other grounds. Because the RIAA document was seeking information from Verizon, not directly from her, she must first petition the court for the right to challenge the subpoena herself.

In their briefs, her attorneys argued that the RIAA’s unconventional subpoena process has violated her rights to due process, privacy and anonymous association, along with her contract with Verizon.

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