Joi Ito's Web

Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

Electronic Frontier Foundation
No "Fishing License" for the RIAA

This just in: the Supreme Court has denied cert in RIAA v. Verizon, the case in which the recording industry initially won the right to unmask an anonymous KaZaA user with a special non-judicial, PATRIOT Act-like subpoena under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). The DC Circuit reversed (PDF) that ruling, but the RIAA appealed. Now the Supreme Court has declined to hear the case.


Said EFF's Wendy Seltzer, who worked on the case, "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."

I love it when the good guys win. Congratulations EFF!


That is along the lines of progress.

The matter is not settled yet. The High Court of London went the other way. Justice William Blackburne ordered ISPs in the UK to provide the names of 28 individuals whop are accused of (per the British Phonograph Industry, Ltd) of "Uploading music on a massive scale , effectively stealing the livlihoods of thousands of artists and the people who invest in them". More than seven million people downloaded these files, so they may have a point. And the lawsuits do work. BPI says that illegal downloads are down 40 percent since April 2003.
So expect that there will be further action here on this question in the future.