Intellectual "Property" in the Digital Age
Frank Field
Links Home : IP Controversies : Digital Music : Raids On Users : Verizon Subpoena

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-REC Big-media Axis of Evil on the march
[14 hits, 1 votes, Average Rating 0.00] [Added: 22nd Aug 2002]

The Register; Thomas Greene; August 22, 2002.

The Recording Industry Ass. of America (RIAA) may have temporarily abandoned plans to censor Web sites available to American surfers, but they've still got their shock troops on heightened alert. Recently they've attempted to force to identify a customer they claim is making music files available for download. Verizon has refused, out of concern that it might expose itself to liability on privacy grounds. The RIAA has filed a second demand with the courts in Washington, DC, claiming that the customer's privacy rights are nullified by its superior copyright concerns. Apparently the presumption of innocence will be another casualty of that glorious crusade.

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-REC Finally, a Fair Fight with Big Music
[16 hits, 0 votes, Average Rating 0] [Added: 15th Sep 2002]

BusinessWeekEurope; Jane Black; September 12, 2002.

On July 24, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) made an unprecedented request of Verizon Communications (VZ ). The music industry's trade association served the telecom with a subpoena, seeking the identity of a Verizon subscriber who had allegedly illegally traded digital songs by artists including Britney Spears, Jennifer Lopez, and "boy band" N'Sync. The RIAA didn't specify why it wanted to know who the user was or what it would do with the information.

Perhaps Verizon's "John Doe" should be charged with bad taste in music -- but not with anything else. Verizon refused to comply with the subpoena, asking instead that the RIAA let a judge decide if there was enough proof of illicit activity to warrant handing over the subscriber's personal information.

The RIAA, in turn, claimed that under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), the very fact that it had suspicion of illegal activity should be enough to have the subscriber's identity unmasked. In August, it filed a motion to compel Verizon to comply with its subpoena. This week, legal wrangling moved into high gear as both sides filed court briefs. The oral arguments could be heard later this month.

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-REC New Salvo in Piracy, Privacy War
[13 hits, 0 votes, Average Rating 0] [Added: 21st Aug 2002]; Brad King; August 21, 2002.

The Recording Industry Association of America wants Verizon Internet Services to turn over information on one of its subscribers, who the RIAA suspects of offering a large collection of MP3s for download.

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-REC RIAA asks court to expose pirate
[16 hits, 0 votes, Average Rating 0] [Added: 21st Aug 2002]

ZDNet News; Declan McCullagh; August 21, 2002. More on going after particular users

On Tuesday, the RIAA asked a federal judge in Washington, D.C., for an order compelling Verizon Communications to reveal the name of a customer accused of illegally trading hundreds of songs. Citing privacy concerns and potential legal liability, Verizon has refused to comply with a subpoena the RIAA sent last month.

"It's not that they don't want to turn over the name," said Mitch Glazier, an RIAA senior vice president. "It's that they don't want to be liable for turning over a subscriber's name."

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-A Story of Piracy and Privacy
[13 hits, 0 votes, Average Rating 0] [Added: 5th Sep 2002]

Washintgont Post; Jonathan Krim; September 5, 2002.

The music industry sent a subpoena to Verizon for the name of one user but was rebuffed. It then went to the U.S. District Court in Washington, asking the court to enforce the subpoena.

Verizon and a coalition of Internet advocacy groups argue that if the recording industry prevails, the constitutional right to privacy of millions of Internet users would be compromised.

"RIAA proposes a dazzlingly broad subpoena power that would allow any person, without filing a complaint, to invoke the coercive power of a federal court to force disclosure of the identity of any user of the Internet, based on a mere assertion . . . that the user is engaged in infringing activity," Verizon's legal filing said.

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-Brief Report from the Verizon v. RIAA Hearing Today
[10 hits, 0 votes, Average Rating 0] [Added: 7th Oct 2002]

GrepLaw; Adam Kessel; October 4, 2002. Slashdot discussion

Both parties and the Judge seemed to agree that the critical issue was one of statutory interpretation. They also agreed that the statute was poorly worded and there was a paucity of legislative history to answer the question unambiguously. Specifically at issue is whether the subpoena provisions apply equally to 512(a) service providers (where the provider is a "conduit" for user communications) as to 512(b), (c), and (d) providers. Verizon argued that the subpoena provision was specifically targeted at 512(c) providers, where the allegedly infringing material actually resides on the provider's servers (e.g., pirate website hosted by provider) and does not apply to 512(a) providers; which is the function they are serving when peer-to-peer applications use their network. The RIAA argued that this distinction didn't make any sense, and in fact they were unable to tell the Judge how many 512(h) subpoenas they had issued on 512(a) providers vs. 512(c) providers. No one could really clarify the status of 512(b) or (d) providers.

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-File-trading pressure mounts on ISPs
[7 hits, 0 votes, Average Rating 0] [Added: 31st Jul 2001]

CNet; John Borland; July 25, 2001. "Record companies have joined the movie industry in trying to root out post-Napster file trading, putting new pressure on ISPs to clamp down on subscriber's actions." Adelphia has gone along; Verizon has not. Who else??
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-Judge brands song swap laws 'unclear'
[7 hits, 0 votes, Average Rating 0] [Added: 7th Oct 2002]; October 4, 2002. Part of the commentary on the Verizon subpoena. Slashdot discussion
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-Verizon, RIAA in copyright showdown
[12 hits, 0 votes, Average Rating 0] [Added: 4th Oct 2002]

CNet News; Declan McCullagh; October 4, 2002.

Attorneys for Verizon Communications and the music industry sparred in court on Friday over whether to disclose the identity of an alleged peer-to-peer pirate.

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has asked a federal judge in Washington, D.C., to order Verizon to turn over the name of a Kazaa subscriber who allegedly was sharing copies of more than 600 music recordings.

U.S. District Judge John Bates did not rule on the music industry's request on Friday, but because federal law emphasizes a speedy response to such requests, Bates is expected to make a decision soon. Each side argued for 45 minutes.

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-Watchdogs rap RIAA's file-trade assault
[9 hits, 0 votes, Average Rating 0] [Added: 2nd Sep 2002]; Declan McCullagh; August 30, 2002. ZDNet version w/ TalkBacks

A federal law that the recording industry is using to unmask a suspected Kazaa music-trader is unconstitutional, a coalition of nonprofit groups said late Friday.

A dozen consumer and privacy groups filed an amicus brief in federal court here arguing that the Recording Industry Association of America's (RIAA) request for information about a Verizon Communications subscriber should be denied. Verizon has opposed the request on procedural grounds.

The 30-page brief says the RIAA is relying on a portion of the controversial Digital Millennium Copyright Act 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.

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