Skip to comments.COURT: RIAA CAN'T HAVE NAMES OF DOWNLOADERS
Posted on 12/19/2003 7:38:57 AM PST by rit
Federal appeals court on Friday rejected efforts by recording industry to compel nation's Internet providers to identify subscribers accused of illegally distributing music online.
(Excerpt) Read more at drudgereport.com ...
If you want on the new list, FReepmail me. This IS a high-volume PING list...
Record Industry May Not Subpoena Providers
Dec 19, 10:44 AM (ET)
By TED BRIDIS
WASHINGTON (AP) - A federal appeals court on Friday rejected efforts by the recording industry to compel the nation's Internet providers to identify subscribers accused of illegally distributing music online.
In a substantial setback for the industry's controversial anti-piracy campaign, the three-judge panel from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia overturned a ruling by the trial judge to enforce a copyright subpoena.
U.S. District Judge John D. Bates had approved use of the subpoenas, forcing Verizon Communications Inc. to turn over names and addresses for at least four Internet subscribers. Since then, Verizon has identified dozens of its other subscribers to music industry lawyers.
The appeals court said one of the arguments by the Recording Industry Association of America "borders upon the silly," rejecting the trade group's claims that Verizon was responsible for downloaded music because such data files traverse its network.
Verizon had challenged the constitutionality of the subpoenas under the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
The law, passed years before downloading music over peer-to-peer Internet services became popular, compels Internet providers to turn over the names of suspected pirates upon subpoena from any U.S. District Court clerk's office. A judge's signature is not required. Critics contend judges ought to be more directly involved.
Verizon had argued at its trial that Internet providers should only be compelled to respond to such subpoenas when pirated music is stored on computers that providers directly control, such as a Web site, rather than on a subscriber's personal computer.
In his ruling, the trial judge wrote that Verizon's interpretation "makes little sense from a policy standpoint," and warned that it "would create a huge loophole in Congress' effort to prevent copyright infringement on the Internet."
I dloaded all of the BBC's "coupling" episodes off file sharing, and they are good qaulity, but they dont approach the quality of the DVD's I purchased!
You see dloading the episodes was legal (fair use) and I liked the show so much I wasnt satisfied with the dloaded versions and sought to purchase the DVDs. That seems to be a win win approach.
Dutch Court Throws Out Attempt to Control Kazaa
By Marcel Michelson and Bernhard Warner
AMSTERDAM/LONDON (Reuters) - The Dutch supreme court on Friday threw out an attempt by a music copyright agency to put controls on popular Internet file-swapping software system Kazaa, a ruling the music industry attacked as flawed.
The decision is a fresh blow to the media industry, which has fought to shut down file-sharing networks they say have created a massive black-market trade in free music, films and video games on the Internet.
"The victory by Kazaa creates an important precedent for the legality of peer-to-peer software, both in the European Union (news - web sites) as elsewhere," Kazaa's lawyers Bird & Bird said in a statement.
The decision by the Dutch court, the highest European body yet to rule on file-sharing software, means that the developers of the software cannot be held liable for how individuals use it. It does not address issues over individuals' use of such networks.
The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), the music trade group representing independent and major music labels including Warner Music, Sony Music, BMG, EMI and Universal Music, criticized the ruling as "one-sided" and vowed to continue its legal crusade elsewhere.
"Today's ruling on Kazaa by the Dutch Supreme Court is a flawed judgment, but still leaves no doubt that the vast majority of people who are using file-swapping services like Kazaa are acting illegally -- whatever country they are in," the group said in a statement.
TARGETING INDIVIDUAL KAZAA USERS
The music industry in the United States, feeling the pinch of successive years of declining CD sales, has begun suing individual downloaders, many of whom are Kazaa users. The IFPI has said a similar legal campaign could be launched in Europe.
The Supreme Court rejected demands by Buma Stemra, the Dutch royalties collection society, that distribution of Kazaa cease and that future versions be modified so that copyrighted materials cannot be exchanged over the network, lawyers representing Kazaa said.
Kazaa and other new breed peer-to-peer networks have argued they have no centralised servers and therefore cannot control what is exchanged by their users, a defense the IFPI and other media organizations challenge.
The IFPI maintained Kazaa could be modified to filter out copyrighted works. They also demanded the company warn Kazaa users that unauthorized distribution of such materials was illegal.
The supreme court upheld a March 2002 ruling in which an appeals court ruled in favor of Fasttrack, the Amsterdam-based firm that developed Kazaa. Fasttrack later sold the technology to Sharman Networks Ltd of Australia.
The media industry has launched a similar suit in the United States against Sharman, which many see as the crucial legal showdown for determining the legal future of file-sharing.
Kazaa has become the undisputed king of file-sharing networks. In October, Kazaa registered over 17.5 million European and American users, according to Internet measurement firm Nielsen//NetRatings.
In the Netherlands alone there are 3.6 million users.
"This is a historic victory for the Internet and consumers," Niklas Zennstroem and Janus Friis, the founders of Kazaa, were quoted in the lawyer's statement as saying.
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