* In File-Sharing Witchhunts, RIAA Is Foiled Again
Washington, DC - The Supreme Court on Tuesday denied a
request by the Recording Industry Association of America
(RIAA) to hear its appeal of a lower court decision that
under some circumstances Internet Service Providers (ISPs)
do not have to hand over the names of people suspected
of copyright infringement.
The case grows out of an incident in which the RIAA used
a controversial subpoena provision under the 1998 Digital
Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) to demand that Verizon
Internet Services reveal the identity of a Verizon subscriber
who allegedly used KaZaA peer-to-peer software to share
copyrighted music online. Verizon refused to divulge the
subscriber's identity, claiming that the provision didn't
cover alleged copyright-infringing material that resides
on an individual's computer, only material that resides
on an ISP's server.
After the District Court rejected Verizon's interpretation
of the DMCA subpoena provision, Verizon appealed. EFF led
a coalition of public interest groups and ISPs that filed
friend-of-the court briefs in support of Verizon, arguing
that the RIAA's subpoenas failed to respect the privacy
and First Amendment rights of Internet users. The DC
Circuit Court agreed, finding that the subpoenas were not
authorized by the DMCA. It granted Verizon's request to
quash a second subpoena it had received in the meantime
and said that the ISP would not have to hand over
information requested in the first.
But the RIAA didn't give up. First, it requested a rehearing
in the DC Circuit court and was denied. Finally, it
appealed to the Supreme Court.
"The Supreme Court's refusal to take the case leaves the
DC Circuit's well-reasoned opinion as law: The DMCA doesn't
give the RIAA a blank fishing license to issue subpoenas
and invade Internet users' privacy," said EFF Staff
Attorney Wendy Seltzer.
For this release: