Federal Court Nixes Net Music Subpoenas

U.S. court nix­es Net music subpoenas

In a sur­prise set­back for the record­ing indus­try, a U.S. appeals court said Fri­day its meth­ods for track­ing down those who copy its music over the Inter­net are not autho­rized by law.

The Record­ing Indus­try Asso­ci­a­tion of Amer­i­ca, a trade group, has sought to force Ver­i­zon Com­mu­ni­ca­tions and oth­er Inter­net ser­vice providers to reveal the names of cus­tomers it sus­pects may be copy­ing music with­out permission.

The record­ing indus­try says the wide­spread copy­ing of music over the Inter­net is par­tial­ly to blame for falling CD sales.

Ver­i­zon has argued that exist­ing copy­right law does not give the record­ing indus­try such author­i­ty and its cus­tomers’ pri­va­cy was being violated.

A low­er court ear­li­er this year upheld the record­ing indus­try’s tac­tics, which have served as the basis for hun­dreds of law­suits filed against indi­vid­ual Inter­net users.

But in a strong­ly word­ed rul­ing, the appeals court sided with Ver­i­zon, say­ing a 1998 copy­right law does not give copy­right hold­ers the abil­i­ty to sub­poe­na cus­tomer names from Inter­net providers with­out fil­ing a for­mal lawsuit.

“In sum, we agree with Ver­i­zon that (the law) does not by its terms autho­rize the sub­poe­nas issued here,” Chief Judge Dou­glas Gins­burg wrote.

Nei­ther Ver­i­zon nor the RIAA was imme­di­ate­ly avail­able for comment.

Cyn is Rick's wife, Katie's Mom, and Esther & Oliver's Mémé. She's also a professional geek, avid reader, fledgling coder, enthusiastic gamer (TTRPGs), occasional singer, and devoted stitcher.
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