Wednesday, October 13, 2004

USC: Seek and Hide

The U.S. Supreme Court has denied to hear RIAA v. Verizon case, for now. A lower court initially decided that service provider Verizon had to provide indentifying information on p2p file-sharers under a DMCA subpoena issued by the recording industry. These subpoenas have no judicial review, and can be used without any proof of copyright infringement. No more procedural barrier of showing that infringement has indeed taken place before identifying information is handed over. This practice generalizes and projects the suspicion of copyright infringement on any p2p-user. File-sharers are pirates, guilty until proven innocent. That was until the DC Circuit Court reversed the ruling of the lower court and decided the subpoenas clashed with First Amendment and privacy rights of Internet users. The Supreme Court has now denied hearing RIAA's appeal to this decision.

After the DC Circuit decision a fresh package of new lawsuits aimed at file-sharers was announced:
"The process by which we identify defendants has changed, but the program has not," RIAA President Cary Sherman said in a press conference to announce the lawsuits. "Our message should be as clear as ever: We can and will continue to bring lawsuits against those who distribute music to millions of strangers."
And indeed the RIAA did: 3,500 and counting. Now at least the "John Does" can continue to seek and hide. Hide behind a fragile anonymity, which is plastered for a while, but continues to be chipped away.
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More at
EFF press release
Copyfight feast of linkage


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