AfterDawn: Tech news

Consumer groups snap RIAA

Written by Jari Ketola @ 01 Sep 2002 15:54

Consumer and privacy groups, such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Consumer Alert, the Electronic Privacy Information Center, and National Consumers League filed a brief in Washington federal court late this Friday arguing that the request made by RIAA to release customer information from Verizon Communications should be denied. RIAA has requested Verizon to hand out information of an individual sharing copyright infringing files using Verizon's Internet access service. This is the first time RIAA has gone after an individual instead of a larger organization. Verizon, however, has denied the request.
RIAA is basing its request on a portion of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) that violates Americans' right to be anonymous online. "Purported copyright owners should not have the right to violate protected, anonymous speech with what amounts to a single snap of the fingers," the brief said.

DMCA permits the copyright owner to send a subpoena ordering the service provider to turn over information about the subscriber. Both Verizon and the groups signing the brief agree that RIAA has the right to find out the identity of the copyright infringer. In this case, however, the infringing individual has shared the infringing files from his own computer using a peer-to-peer application. Verizon has merely acted as a bridge between the user and the Internet. The DMCA subpoena is intended for situations where the infringing material is stored on the ISP's servers.

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