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Old 04-25-2003, 12:26 PM   #1
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RIAA wins law suit against Verizon

Verizon Ordered to Release Names
Fri April 25, 2003 06:35 AM ET
By Brooks Boliek
WASHINGTON (Hollywood Reporter) - A federal judge Thursday ordered the nation's largest phone company to identify the names of Internet customers suspected of using peer-to-peer networks to steal music in what is one of the critical tests of a 1998 copyright law.

In his order, federal district court Judge John Bates rejected arguments by Verizon Communications that it does not have to reveal the identity of two suspected copyright pirates to the Recording Industry Assn. of America. The RIAA won a right to their identity using special subpoena power that Congress granted copyright holders in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).

The law permits music companies to force Internet providers to turn over the names of suspected music pirates upon subpoena from any U.S. district court clerk's office, without a judge's signature required.

According to Bates' opinion, Verizon's contentions that the subpoena provision is unconstitutional because it violates the First Amendment failed to hold water. Verizon contends that the subpoena provision violates its customers' free speech rights because it would "pierce their anonymity." Bates said that while the Supreme Court has upheld speakers' rights to remain unnamed, Verizon's claim was outweighed by the harm an illegal activity was causing legitimate copyright holders.

"The recording industry has suffered substantial losses due to Internet piracy," Bates wrote. "Whatever marginal impact the DMCA subpoena authority may have on the expressive or anonymity rights of Internet users then is vastly outweighed by the extent of copyright infringement over the Internet through peer-to-peer file sharing, which is the legitimate sweep of the (subpoena power)."

The latest ruling means consumers using dozens of popular peer-to-peer programs can more easily be identified and tracked by copyright owners, resulting in warning letters, civil lawsuits or even criminal prosecution.

"If users of pirate peer-to-peer sites don't want to be identified, they should not break the law by illegally distributing music," RIAA president Cary Sherman said.

Verizon's chief attorney on the case contends that the ruling could be a disaster for Internet users.

"What (the judge) has done is shred the privacy, safety and due process rights of hundreds of thousands if not millions of Internet subscribers," said Sarah Deutsch, Verizon vp and assistant general counsel. "Essentially the ruling goes far beyond the legitimate interests of copyright holders."

Deutsch said the company planned to tell the federal appellate court here that it would appeal the case and ask for a stay on Bates' order until the higher court ruled. Bates gave the company 14 days to ask for an appeal.

Verizon and other critics of the law have argued that allowing the subpoena authority to stand would open the door to criminals who want an easy avenue to get people's identity.

"Anyone will be able to file a one-page form and get identifying information" that could be used by cyber stalkers and others bent on doing evil, Deutsch argued.

Bates, however, rejected those contentions.

"There is nothing in the record to indicate that the ... subpoena authority has been used for stalking or other fraudulent purposes," the judge wrote.

Bates dismissed arguments that the legal debate posed any "grave or formidable constitutional problem" and said that the law "hardly amounts to a real or substantial threat to protected expression."

While Verizon was among the companies that cut a deal with the recording industry and other copyright holders in 1998 that set up the subpoena process, Deutsch said it was never envisioned to be used the way the RIAA is using it.

"There was no P-to-P file sharing" at the time, she said. "Now they have a new business problem, and they are expanding this new subpoena process in a novel way to extend these powers."

But Sherman said the decision was the correct one and is a warning to people who are willfully violating copyright laws.

"Today's decision makes clear that these individuals cannot rely on their Internet service providers to shield them from accountability," he said.

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter
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Old 04-25-2003, 12:31 PM   #2
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boo
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Old 04-25-2003, 12:49 PM   #3
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assholes.
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Old 04-25-2003, 05:05 PM   #4
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ugh
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Old 04-25-2003, 05:09 PM   #5
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Old 04-25-2003, 05:26 PM   #6
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A federal judge ruled today that file swapping tools are legal. Expect an RIAA appeal in the next 30 seconds.

From Business Week

If this ruling holds, the RIAA will be forced to target individuals in their campaign.
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Old 04-25-2003, 06:37 PM   #7
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Well, file swapping tools are legal, but using them to download pirated files aren't. It goes under the precedent set with VCRs, stating that, while there are potentials for illegal abuse, it doesn't mean it is illegal.

It's still a scapegoat. I think that people don't buy as many CDs, because 1) they don't have as much disposable income anymore, and 2) the products out there are crap. How many Britney Spears and Backstreet Boys clones did they need? In catering to the "target demographic" of pre-teens, I think they effectively drove away their mature audiences--the ones who actually have the money.

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Old 04-25-2003, 06:45 PM   #8
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Old 04-25-2003, 07:00 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by melon
Well, file swapping tools are legal, but using them to download pirated files aren't. It goes under the precedent set with VCRs, stating that, while there are potentials for illegal abuse, it doesn't mean it is illegal.

It's still a scapegoat. I think that people don't buy as many CDs, because 1) they don't have as much disposable income anymore, and 2) the products out there are crap. How many Britney Spears and Backstreet Boys clones did they need? In catering to the "target demographic" of pre-teens, I think they effectively drove away their mature audiences--the ones who actually have the money.


As pathetic as it sounds, I couldn't imagine my life without file sharing. There are so many of my favourite bands who I never would have heard, so many CDs I never would have bought, and so many shows I never would have attended. There are also albums that I can't buy anywhere because they're not shipped internationally.
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Old 04-25-2003, 07:25 PM   #10
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oh right, theyre gonna get everyone?

stupid dipshits. mp3's have resulted in my buying 200 per cent more cds, if not more.
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Old 04-25-2003, 07:38 PM   #11
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there are a hell of a lot of cds i've bought as a result of downloading the music first. it's like a more convienent version of a used music store where you can listen to an album before you buy it. it's become a pattern--people here recommend band,s i go download a few songs, and if i like it, i buy the album. if i don't like it, i delete the songs, and forget about them.
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Old 04-25-2003, 10:32 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by melon
Well, file swapping tools are legal, but using them to download pirated files aren't. It goes under the precedent set with VCRs, stating that, while there are potentials for illegal abuse, it doesn't mean it is illegal.
yes. it reminds me of a quote bono said once about it. he said that everyone freaked when blank tapes were sold, thinking it would kill the industry. it didn't. (yeah, i know tapes are a lot lower quality than a cd, but it wasn't until several years ago that your average person really solely started buying cds. it wasn't until a couple years ago i finally got my parents to stop buying tapes.)

also, this is all a scapegoat (i know you said that but i didn't wanna quote your entire message), yes. sure, in 1998 cd buying was hugely popular, as was mp3 downloading. but umm, wasn't our economy in a lot better shape? i don't know about you, but i had more spare money to spend on cds back then. i've not even added on any bills or anything since then, i've always been paying for my car insurance and cell phone. funny how i could pay my bills and afford to pick up a couple cds every month, but now i can't. could it be that in 98 i could pick up cds for about $14, and ones in a bargain bin for $8? now i'm lucky to find ones under $18, even at best buy.

now if they wanna start getting gas prices back down to something like they were back then, we can talk about me using the money i save to buy cds. but until then, since the price of gas here has doubled since then, i no longer have spare money.
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Old 04-25-2003, 11:42 PM   #13
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I bought a lot of CDs then. If it weren't for Napster, I can guarantee I wouldn't have 90% of the CDs I own. I buy fewer albums now, because, quite frankly, there are fewer new CDs of any quality. BTW, for comparison, I download far fewer as well. Music is in terrible state, and to blame it on file sharing...well, we can see why the music industry is on the brink of implosion, since they won't improve their product at all.

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Old 04-26-2003, 12:02 AM   #14
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thats lame that Verizon has to give up there names
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Old 04-26-2003, 07:38 AM   #15
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If it wasn't for Napster/Kazaa/Soulseek, I wouldn't own any music at all. I discovered music after file-sharing. Well, maybe I'd own Backstreet Boys and Linkin Park CDs, but the ones I have now (other than the Chinese-language ones which I don't listen to too much) I first heard on the Internet.
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