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SBC Refuses To Name File-Sharing Users 373

Posted by timothy
from the customer-relations dept.
securitas writes "The New York Times reports that Internet provider SBC Communications has refused to identify computer users accused by the RIAA of file-sharing copyrighted material. SBC is the largest high-speed DSL provider with over 3 million subscribers. It continues to refuse a response to the 300 subpoenas served by the RIAA despite a ruling against Verizon earlier this year. 'We are going to challenge every single one of these that they file until we are told that our position is wrong as a matter of law,' said James D. Ellis, general counsel for SBC. He continues, '...We've got a long heritage in which we have always taken a harsh and hard rule on protecting the privacy of our customers' information.' Mirrors in Tuscaloosa and Lakeland."
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SBC Refuses To Name File-Sharing Users

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  • Google Link (Score:3, Informative)

    by jeffkjo1 (663413) on Wednesday September 17, 2003 @01:41AM (#6983286) Homepage
    As usual, the google link thwarting the NYtimes registration:

    Click Here [nytimes.com]
    • by Ckwop (707653) <Simon.Johnson@gmail.com> on Wednesday September 17, 2003 @03:41AM (#6983701) Homepage

      Thanks for the link

      I would love to see an ISP use Oblivious Transfer [mit.edu] when assigning an IP to each on of its customers..

      That way, this situtation would never have happened since the information the RIAA wanted could not have been obtained from the ISPs since the ISPs wouldn't know who they assigned IPs too.

      Simon

      • by malkavian (9512) on Wednesday September 17, 2003 @08:02AM (#6984447) Homepage
        Nice, except for then the ISPs become script kiddie heaven.
        There needs to be some form of ability to track someone, for those few cases where "really bad things" are done.
        I'm sure nobody here would like spammers given anonymous IP addresses in a net block.
        However, given that we do have identifiable addresses, it's good to see that policy in the ISPs is FOR the end user, and against frivolous acquisition of their data.
        Like most things in life, the solutions aren't black and white, they're shades of grey, and require common sense to come up with something that's a happy, or at least workable compromise.
        Good to see that at least the ISPs seem to be following the common sense path this time against the RIAA Inquisition.
        • by Cranst0n (617823) on Wednesday September 17, 2003 @09:16AM (#6984899) Journal
          "There needs to be some form of ability to track someone, for those few cases where "really bad things" are done.
          I'm sure nobody here would like spammers given anonymous IP addresses in a net block."

          When "really bad things" are done, it usually falls to the real law authorities (police, FBI, NSA etc..) and they have procedures to get proper subponeas and get the information.

          The thing is they are not talking about an anonumus block. SBC is basically saying that the RIAA is not following due process. Not only that but the RIAA is a LOBYING group, not a duly appoint police force. This is turning into a case of someone driving by your house, seeing a light in the window, walking up to that window and seeing you watching a video tape that you don't own, guessing you don't own it and didn't properly rent it, and then saying to a judge that the want all your information so they can sue you because they were in the item you were watching.

          If the RIAA wants to do this, they should lobby to OFFICIALLY become a police force for the record industry and have to follow the proper procedures. Copyright Infringment is a CRIME, and thereby a lobbying group should not be the police in these matters. IMHO, the should give the IP addresses they have got to the proper authorites to deal with. Then again, the authorities have bette things to do than go after a 12 year old kid.

          Just my $.02

          • This is turning into a case of someone driving by your house, seeing a light in the window, walking up to that window and seeing you watching a video tape that you don't own, guessing you don't own it and didn't properly rent it, and then saying to a judge that the want all your information so they can sue you because they were in the item you were watching.

            Not quite, this is more analogous to you offering copies of the video (whether for profit or not is irrelevant), while the RIAA determines that you ar
        • if it meant real anonymity for the rest of us

          your comment is much like the logic of gun control and fails for the same reason; people who use their connections for illegal things and are smart about it wll continue to not get caught while all the legit people suffer...

  • Heh. (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 17, 2003 @01:43AM (#6983296)
    All of you who were *ahem* caught "sharing" MP3s of popular musicians and are subscribed to Time Warner's internet service.. well you all are going to get it up the ass. Time Warner is not only an ISP, but an RIAA member.
    • Re:Heh. (Score:5, Informative)

      by p24t (312611) on Wednesday September 17, 2003 @02:18AM (#6983452)
      You mean people with RoadRunner service? The very same service that uses "fast music downloads" as part of their advertising?

      Mind you, they don't specify anything about the music downloads. They don't say that some music downloads are illegal. 12 year old girls are supposed to know all this stuff.
      • by glamslam (535995) on Wednesday September 17, 2003 @03:10AM (#6983621)
        from the article:

        A record industry official pointed to a past print advertisement from SBC's Pacific Bell unit that read, in part: "Download all the music you like. And all the music you sort of, kind of, maybe even a little bit like. Go MP3 crazy. Try new music. Build a song library. Whatever."

        "Sure beats going to the record store," the advertisement concluded.

        Ouch. That might come back to haunt them.
        • by Ath (643782) on Wednesday September 17, 2003 @06:13AM (#6984122)
          Last I checked, the vast majority of music is free and legal to download. We have just become accustomed to this idea that we have to pay for it or we've violated someone's copyright.

          Many many many artists make their copyrighted materials available for free. For the RIAA to point to this newspaper advertisement just shows that they know they have a effective monopoly on the distribution of copyrighted music that you are supposed to pay for.

          SBC isn't doing this for altruistic reasons, but the results could be good.
        • Perhaps RIAA execs and their lawyers use SBC. I wonder how the RIAA and their lawyers would feel if SBC would publish in great detail their network activities for the public to see. Perhaps SBC could offer immediate and full disclosure on that information if the RIAA wishes to agitate for disclosure of internet activities of individuals.
        • by the_Bionic_lemming (446569) on Wednesday September 17, 2003 @07:41AM (#6984358)
          At first I was lauding SBC for not bowing to RIAA's demands - I thought "Finally, Someone standing up for the Legal system, and the correct use of it.

          That was until I read the part of their advertisement on Downloading songs. SBC realizes that if a case can be brought against many of their subscribers for downloading mp3's - then by extension they were facilitating theft knowingly by advertising how to do it - this is going to be one of the most interesting legal fights in a decade.
          • At first I was lauding SBC.... until I read the part of their advertisement on Downloading songs. SBC realizes that if a case can be brought against many of their subscribers for downloading mp3's - then by extension they were facilitating theft knowingly by advertising how to do it

            Who says that SBC was suggesting that people do anything illegal? Since when is downloading MP3's illegal?

            I can go to mp3.com and legally download more mp3's than my hard drive can hold. If I had Windows, I could get o
  • by Neppy (673459) on Wednesday September 17, 2003 @01:46AM (#6983305)
    Its a good thing user privacy isn't worthless to everyone; just the government and microsoft.
    • There's that word again - privawhat?

      Ahh crap my implanted RFID tags are itching again. Fortunately if you scratch your forhead with the palm of your right hand you can scratch them both at once.
    • Re:privacy value (Score:5, Insightful)

      by God! Awful 2 (631283) on Wednesday September 17, 2003 @03:48AM (#6983718) Journal
      Bah. Privacy and Piracy even sound the same (when I'm tired). This is about having it both ways. The /. mob opinion is like a lawyer's argument:

      "File sharing is not wrong, but even if it is wrong, it's still helping bands more than it's hurting, and even when it does hurt them, the labels have no right to sue the services, just the specific offenders, but even if they do catch a file-sharer, they have no right to sue them unless the offender just happens to volunteer his name and address."

      Whenever politicians ignore the suggestions that are popularized here, people always accuse them of being crooked and in the hands of industry. No one ever admits it's because the /. opinions are just completely nonsensical.

      -a
      • Re:privacy value (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Blue Stone (582566) on Wednesday September 17, 2003 @10:46AM (#6985608) Homepage Journal
        "This is about having it both ways. The /. mob opinion is like a lawyer's argument..."
        "...the /. opinions are just completely nonsensical."

        I know what you mean. It's like Americans' views on the Iraq invasion. They're saying it's fine, they're saying it's not fine.

        Or it's like politicians' views on the death penalty. They say its a good thing and then they say its a bad thing.

        Oh... no... wait a minute "Americans" and "politicians" are not a single organism, but collectives housing many differing views.

        Just like "/.'s" views on filesharing.

      • Re:privacy value (Score:4, Informative)

        by IthnkImParanoid (410494) on Wednesday September 17, 2003 @02:00PM (#6987327)
        I'm not sure if this is a troll, but I'll bite.

        If I owned a business, I would not turn over customer data without a court order. The DMCA gives certain groups the ability to get such data without a court order. That is what the reasonable people on /. (we are here, amid the trolls) disagree with. The RIAA should be no different than anyone else in that they should have to go through the legal system to bring about lawsuits.

  • by micronix1 (590179) on Wednesday September 17, 2003 @01:46AM (#6983306)
    it's nice to know that some major corporations are opposing the actions of the recording industry where the average person is usually powerless. what other internet service providers are chosing to fight the RIAA instead of just giving in?
    • by CodePyro (627236) on Wednesday September 17, 2003 @02:20AM (#6983462)
      I know verizon is still fighting RIAA. And i know that comcast and some other cable companies said that they would cooperate with RIAA.

      Comcast has had the most subpeonas sent to it by RIAA and they are #1 on thier hitlist. Real people are bieng affected here. For example there was a case with the mother of 4 who doesn't even have enough money for an attorney.(you think she will be sending her kids to college if riaa bankrupts her)What does RIAA gain out of it?? Some extra revenue so the ridicuosly wealthy singers can support thier drug habit and thier trips to space.

      http://www.techtv.com/news/culture/story/0,24195 ,3 484600,00.html

      Verizon is dead set against it.
      http://dc.internet.com/news/article.php/30754 51
      http://yro.slashdot.org/yro/03/04/25/1614244.s html ?tid=158

      RIAA can't keep fighting all these companies and the negative publicity its recieving...P2P network will get more sophisticated and secure...as many as said in the past RIAA needs to change thier business models..thats the only way to combat piracy...piracy has been around for as long as there was any type of trade...even coporations/organizations larger than RIAA have to deal with piracy but they do it by changing thier business model...gaming companies(ie blizzard) started offering online subscriptions which make the user more inclined to buy the game instead of pirating it...M$ started offering...well thats sort of a bad example...but even they dont use thier windowsupdate site to check if your cdkey is valid...RIAA often argues that "you can't compete with free" but that is wrong...people buy botteled water...they buy gorumet coffee from startbucks instead of the free cup they can get at work...hell people even buy M$ windows over linux...anways what i'm trying to say is you can compete with free if the incentive is there...riaa needs to change thier business model and offer these incentives....
      • Ya know, it's really getting old hearing of these cases of people that are soooo poor they can't afford to buy this or that, but somehow manage to find it in their budget to pay for a broadband connection. I have little sympathy for the financial situation of a mom with 4 kids that's having a hard time making ends meet or a mom with a 12 year old living in public housing who somehow find the money to spend on something as frivalous as a broadband connection. While I don't necessarily like the stance the R
        • by fucksl4shd0t (630000) on Wednesday September 17, 2003 @07:39AM (#6984348) Homepage Journal

          Ya know, it's really getting old hearing of these cases of people that are soooo poor they can't afford to buy this or that, but somehow manage to find it in their budget to pay for a broadband connection. I have little sympathy for the financial situation of a mom with 4 kids that's having a hard time making ends meet or a mom with a 12 year old living in public housing who somehow find the money to spend on something as frivalous as a broadband connection.

          That is probably the most short-sighted post I've ever read. I would eat less to provide my kids with a broadband connection if I had to. Reason? Simple.

          KNOWLEDGE IS POWER.

          I have been poverty-struck myself, and am just now crawling out of it (arguably, in fact). I want my kids to be able to live without poverty, and in this day and age, access to the internet is an excellent way to provide my kids with resources they wouldn't have if I took your shortsighted point of view. With these resources they can find help with their homework, pursue whatever intellectual flights of fancy they have, network to other individuals, and leverage computing power into marketable skills that may well put them in a higher income bracket than I'm in. A broadband connection for a poor family is an investment into the kids' future, and a worthy one at that.

          Combine said broadband connection with the educational power and readily-available Free Software, and you might have a winning combination. We'll see about it, though.

          My oldest kid still isn't school age, but she's already learned enough reading and enough about KDE to find movies she wants to watch. In the next month or so, I intent to sit down with her and show her how to use KDE to do things, play games, and so forth, and make sure the edutainment package with KDE is installed. Not bad for a 4-year-old, eh? With your shortsighted point of view, this wouldn't even be available as an option for her.

          • Prioritizing food, water, shelter, and clothing over the internet is hardly shortsighted.

            I appreciate your point that the internet is a powerful tool for learning, and one that at some point kids should be exposed to no doubt. But giving priority to an internet connection over things they NEED is unreasonable. If you truly value internet access over feeding your kids, then I think you've found a lot more uses for it than I have.

            At any rate, that's slightly off topic. Obviously, these families have the
          • If you're in public housing because you can't afford a place of your own, the best thing you can do for your kids is demonstrate how hard work and achievement can get you off the public dime. I understand people come on hard times and need public housing, but settling down with a broadband connection seems very out of place.

            Using a P2P or playing games on KDE gives your kid nothing educationally. GUIs will change, programs will change, and by college your kid will end up having to learn something else a

  • by KU_Fletch (678324) <bthomas1NO@SPAMku.edu> on Wednesday September 17, 2003 @01:47AM (#6983317)
    Definition of irony: a company formed from the dissolution of a monopoly talking about protecting it's customer's rights.
    • I agree completely, especially when you look at the record of SBC's customer happiness factor in general, and some of their less-than-ethical business practices here in Ohio (so bad that even the state got mad).

      This is a wonderfully pleasant surprise from SBC.
      .
    • dissolution? (Score:5, Informative)

      by danielsfca2 (696792) on Wednesday September 17, 2003 @02:13AM (#6983430) Journal
      formed from the dissolution of a monopoly

      Companies of SBC:

      Pacific Bell + Nevada Bell = Pacific Telesis

      Illinois Bell + Indiana Bell + Michigan Bell + Ohio Bell + Wisconsin Bell = Ameritech

      Southern New England Telephone Company (SNET)

      Southwestern Bell

      Pacific Telesis + Ameritech + SNET + Southwestern Bell = SBC.

      Sounds to me like SBC is more like a partial re-assembly of the original monopoly.

      Not that I don't respect SBC [slashdot.org] big-time for this decision.

      (Source of data: US FCC, http://www.fcc.gov/wcb/armis/carrier_filing_histor y/COSA_History/sbtr.htm [fcc.gov])

      • told the FBI for years they could not do some things with phone calls (reverse trace I think - ie this number was called at time x - where did it come from) for technical reasons when they could just that it was too much work for them. This was in 60's I think. I read this about 15 years ago so please be gentle with if I got the details wrong. And no I don't remember the book.
      • You've forgot:

        ASI - Advanced Solutions Inc. - SBC ATM and Frame backbone provider
        SBCIS [sbcis.com] - Formerly Pacific Bell Internet
        SBC DataComm [sbcdata.com] - Formerly Pacific Bell Network Integration

        And there is also SBC Knowledge Ventures, the pseudo-company to deal with the Yahoo relationship.

        -Pat

  • Bravo (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mcpkaaos (449561) on Wednesday September 17, 2003 @01:47AM (#6983319)
    In a world where the right to privacy is quickly giving way to nosier and nosier laws and regulations, it is quite refreshing to see a company with so much to lose fighting to maintain the privacy of their customers. Say what you will, but SBC is taking quite a risk.

    Heh, I don't normally gush like this, but I have to say that I am honestly very impressed by this move. Unless this is just a ploy to gain more customers concerned with their KaZaA, er, habits. In that case, well, I'm still impressed. Brilliant marketing ploy!

    Wait, SBC isn't actually OCP [movieprop.com] or anything is it? No? Okay cool. Power to the peop- er, to the customers!
    • Re:Bravo (Score:2, Interesting)

      by ksg (174241)
      SBC DSL may be annoying as hell to have with all the Yahoo! branding they attempt to stick on everything but thankfully they are willing to stand up the RIAA. I had my choice between SBC or Buckeye Cable [slashdot.org] for my broadband, looks like I choose well. *cackles*

    • Re:Bravo (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Viceice (462967)
      What have they got to loose? They already have lawyers on payroll, having them do more work isn't going to cost much.

      plus, they get great publicity and with it new users and incresed income.

      If the court says so, then will still sell you out so all this is 'We won't sell you out... for now" It's PR.

    • Re:Bravo (Score:3, Insightful)

      by fucksl4shd0t (630000)

      Say what you will, but SBC is taking quite a risk.

      Um, what risk is that, exactly? SBC is HUGE. They might win. Think of that? Whether they do or not, the PR benefits of fighting the RIAA are ENORMOUS. Whoever in their staff recommended fighting the RIAA has got their finger firmly on the pulse of America, and knows which way the wind is blowing. (Let's see if I can produce another cheesy metaphor) You can't buy press like this! You can't buy advertising that's this good. I'm thinking about seeig

  • Sigh. (Score:4, Funny)

    by PakProtector (115173) <cevkiv&gmail,com> on Wednesday September 17, 2003 @01:48AM (#6983321) Journal
    I wish these guys served DSL where I live. It would mean I could get rid of the 'emergency Plan B' device I keep in my bedroom, one of those magnets they use to move cars.

    I mean, it's great, and it's sure to work, but the switch is so close to my light switch.
  • by metallicagoaltender (187235) on Wednesday September 17, 2003 @01:48AM (#6983322) Homepage
    Not that it's going to stop the RIAA per se, but it's at least nice to see some ISPs making the RIAA work a little harder and waste a few more resources to sue people.

    I'm not against chronic lawbreakers to face the consequences of their actions, but I would think (hope?) that better challengers from ISPs would make the RIAA think twice about being more heavy-handed than they need to be, and encourage them to pick their targets for lawsuits more wisely.
  • about time! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by c4ffeine (705293) <c4ffeine&gmail,com> on Wednesday September 17, 2003 @01:49AM (#6983329)
    Finally, someone has the balls to try to stop the RIAA. So much for their legal tactic of "let's sue and let them settle for only 10k and their first born son". It only everyone else would challenge their abuse of the legal system, they would have been foiled by now. What we need is an organization for the purpose of hiring lawyers to screw oer the RIAA. Imagine the settlements and awards you would get...
  • Keeping Logs (Score:5, Interesting)

    by th3axe (690230) <gorrillas@gmail.com> on Wednesday September 17, 2003 @01:49AM (#6983330)
    So, what if an ISP has a policy of trashing any logs with personal information? Maybe this is a selling point for smaller ISPs. They could track traffic for performance purposes, but once the info's in the DB, trash the data.

    I can see the ad now: "Use PrivCorp ISP. We don't care what you do, and the RIAA won't find out either. You just need to pay by the meg."
  • by StandardCell (589682) on Wednesday September 17, 2003 @01:50AM (#6983332)
    I suspect this has more to do with retaining customers already "file sharing" and avoiding bad PR than it does to be protecting customer privacy [com.com].
  • Chain of suing? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by SoVi3t (633947) on Wednesday September 17, 2003 @01:54AM (#6983345)
    so now the RIAA will sue them, just to sue the ppl downloading songs from kazaa....ugh, how much longer can the RIAA afford to keep suing people. I think they're single handedly keeping half the lawyers in business!
    • Re:Chain of suing? (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      no, RIAA is only filing paperwork. That's done by law clerks. The targets (12 yo girls included) fold like a cheap umbrella, mail their check to RIAA, whereupon it is cashed by a receptionist. The number of billable lawyer hours is splendidly low. They learned the game from DirecTV. People who try to challenge them on it will pay through the nose, easily covering the attorney fees.
  • by fox2mike (706370) on Wednesday September 17, 2003 @01:54AM (#6983349) Homepage Journal
    The USA was the first country in the world to address Cyberstalking as a serious issue & get laws effectively punishing the same. It is really sad to see the same lawmakers give such sweeping powers to the DMCA, wherein any tom dick & harry can walk in & say "Mr.X stole my copyrighted work, I need to serve him a subpeona" & this can be handed out by a clerk in the court, without any form of checking as to who the person requsting the subpeona actually is & what his/her intentions are... how dumb can you get ?

    I sincerely am hoping that this ISP wins the case/the courts wake up & see what the actual picture is.
  • Ulterior motives (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DeathPenguin (449875) * on Wednesday September 17, 2003 @01:56AM (#6983355)
    Somehow, I'm more willing to believe that the whole protection of privacy thing is a PR hoax and that they are really worried about the extra operational overhead necessary to hand the RIAA the information it needs. I mean, figuring out who had which IP and when in an ISP as big as SBC probably isn't a trivial task.

    However, I think SBC is doing the right thing for the wrong reason. Painting the RIAA as the evil organization trying to invade your privacy is definitely a good thing, since that's what they're trying to do.

    And heck, who doesn't love the irony of using one underhanded business tactic to undermine another underhanded business tactic? RIAA wanted to get lawyers involved, and now they find themselves fighting 800lb gorillas rather than poor students.
    • by zurab (188064) on Wednesday September 17, 2003 @04:18AM (#6983788)
      Somehow, I'm more willing to believe that the whole protection of privacy thing is a PR hoax and that they are really worried about the extra operational overhead necessary to hand the RIAA the information it needs. I mean, figuring out who had which IP and when in an ISP as big as SBC probably isn't a trivial task.


      You are underestimating the situation. When ISPs are forced to reveal their customers' personal information to a 3rd party for the purpose of suing them without judge's authorization this is going to generate a lot of customer backlash; and, in the end, people getting caught up in this are more likely to place blame on their ISPs rather than RIAA.

      Take an analogy: I believe you owe me $100; I don't know you personally, but I know your name and I noticed Bank of America check card in your wallet. So I go directly your bank and demand that they give me your personal information, and, while they are at it, to freeze all your accounts too. I get your personal information and sue you. You are going to be mad as hell at your bank and definitely think it's unfair that banks are legally required to do and believe what I told them.

      Also, keep in mind that SBC does not exactly have a clean image in California (where they filed their suit), and additional backlash will only hurt them. On top of that, competition for broadband is not as easy as local telephone service market. While FCC allowed telcos to cut out access to competition to any new lines they lay, competition is still tough in the existing markets, as well as from cable broadband providers.

      All in all, I think it's a little bit more than just saving on operational expenses. Hell, I think it would have been cheaper for SBC to hire few more people to process subpoenas than to file this lawsuit and keep pressing on. Keep that in mind also. Now, maybe I don't have all the politics behind SBC's actions but surely, it's not only to save on few additional expenses.
  • by a.koepke (688359) on Wednesday September 17, 2003 @01:57AM (#6983362)
    I was reading the article and this really struck me

    A record industry official pointed to a past print advertisement from SBC's Pacific Bell unit that read, in part: "Download all the music you like. And all the music you sort of, kind of, maybe even a little bit like. Go MP3 crazy. Try new music. Build a song library. Whatever."

    "Sure beats going to the record store," the advertisement concluded.

    -- snip --

    Matthew J. Oppenheim, the trade group's senior vice president for business and legal affairs, said the ad was important because it suggested a strong motive for SBC's position. "SBC believes that free music drives its business,"


    Hmmm... I guess they would make quite a bit of money from the excess bandwidth charges from people who download heaps of music. Certainly that would be a strong motive to take this stance, money is a strong motive for a lot of things.

    Also.. it may be unrelated but their share price [marketwatch.com] is up $0.35 :)
    • by descentr (296258) * <descentr4@@@yahoo...com> on Wednesday September 17, 2003 @02:23AM (#6983472) Homepage
      I've had SBC DSL service for 4 years, and at least during that time SBC has not had any kind of bandwidth limitation or fee.
    • by poptones (653660) on Wednesday September 17, 2003 @02:41AM (#6983530) Journal
      And SBC wants to be able to talk about it. I think it's fucking absurd that we should be eleventh on the list and be tethered to a phone system (and soon an HDTV system) that is completely unique in the world. It's technological isolationism, and it's biting us in the ass. Laws like this one just add weight to that burden.

      If you don't do a lot of file sharing why do you need broadband? To have the convenience of never having to tie up the phone line? Forget it - I can wire this entire rural village with "broadband." We don't get any other form of broadband out here but if no one changed their online habits I could funnel every one of those wireless users through a 128K ISDN line and no one would complain.

      File sharing is the only reason to have broadband. Well, actually, buying movie downloads would be a great application, but Hollywood refuses to go there. And legally downloading music would be another great app, but thanks to our antiquated legal system kept fat by dollars from hundreds of lobbyists, we won't have that, either. the thing is...

      "Download all the music you like. And all the music you sort of, kind of, maybe even a little bit like. Go MP3 crazy. Try new music. Build a song library. Whatever."

      I can point you to a half dozen russian sites where, for $20 a month, you can get on legal on-demand MP3 downloads of just about any popular artist. That includes lots of Russian artists you've prbably never heard of, but it also includes Britney and Madonna and Christina and all the rest. These sites are operated completely legally, paying royalties to the russian licensing agency (ROMS) responsible for copyrighted "multimedia" works. So, technically, the above statement is 100% true and can be done legally and in a very cost effective fashion (how about a dime a song for 256kbps?).

      But you're not likely to hear about this from Hollywood. Doesn't anyone wonder why Hollywood isn't throwing giant canninption fits over these sites offering legal downloads (for years now) to anyone with a Franklin in their Paypal account?

      Hollywood isn't going to mention these legal services because they would risk further losing control of the market. Imagine if word got around that you could go online and pick any CD you want, select the level of quality you want, and download it from a completely legal website!

      It's the elephant in the room. The record industry zoots don't want to talk about it, the lobbyists and lawyers don't want to talk about it, and the only way they know to keep the discussion stifled is to throw around the red paint of piracy. You think the record industry wants this case to actually go to court? And have their entire case mooted when all [mp3search.ru] this [mp3zzz.ru] becomes a matter of public record?

      • by Polyphemis (450226) on Wednesday September 17, 2003 @03:56AM (#6983738)
        File sharing is the only reason to have broadband.

        I realize this isn't the main point of your post by any means, but I'd like to point out that there are LEGAL and legitimate uses \ needs for broadband.

        I'm a remote contract artist working in game development. I work fulltime hours from home and have to be on call constantly and able to quickly and reliably send and receive my assignments at a moment's notice. I'm working for two companies right now, one of which is developing a full game in a very tight six-month development cycle, so having constant, fast and reliable connectivity is a must.

        Even more importantly than simply sending and receiving assignments from my bosses, I have to log into the SourceSafe (a central repository for all the latest project files) several times daily and download the latest version of however much of the project I need, usually ranging from 1mb to 600mb.

        Keeping current with the rest of the team remotely is VITAL in my line of work, and it would be impossible to do on dialup. By the time I downloaded half or even a fourth of the project, it would probably be updated by then and I'd have to download it all again. Without broadband, I'd be shit out of luck and out of a job.

        I guess by a very broad definition that this does fall under 'file sharing' but it's almost certainly not in the same sense that you meant it. :)

      • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Wednesday September 17, 2003 @03:56AM (#6983739)
        beyond just downloading music. I'll list just a few of them, all relivant to me personally:

        1) Always on access. I use the Internet as a seemless part of my computer. I just look at it whenever I feel like it or need info. I don't thik about "logging on", I'm ALWAYS on. I like it that wany and don't want it any other way.

        2) General fast access. My computer these days is fast. Most programs load in under 5 seconds and everything works quickly. I want the Internet to be responsive like that too. I don't want to wait 20 seconds for a page to load, I want it loaded immediatly.

        3) Games. Many online games (first person shooters mainly) function better with lower latency. Also many like to have more bandwidth than a modem can provide. I want to have these games preform as well as possible.

        4) User-user file transfers. I frequently need to share data with friends, or to or from my work computer. To do this over a modem would be very slow (we are often talking hundreds of megs here for audio and such). To do so on CD is technically inconvienent (requiring getting in a car) for people locally, and very slow for people out of city/state/country. I want to be able to easily and quickly get data to and from people.

        5) General purpose file transfers. I find I download lots of things like patches for applications, product demos, video (like from iFilms) , technical docs, user guides, etc. I don't want to sit and wait 20 minutes to get a little user guide for a product, I want it quickly.

        6) Multiple users. I have two roomates, we all use the Internet. If the three of us tried to share a modem it would go from slow to intolerably slow. To get 3 additonal phone lines and 3 ISP accounts is finincally inefficient. However one broadband account costing less than the 3x modem service works just fine.

        7) Servers. I want to run my own server. It is of use to me in many ways. Well this requires a static IP, an always-on connection, and a fair bit of bandwidth. A modem connection provides none of these.

        Those are just the 7 reasons off the top of my head that are teh most important to me personally for having broadband. #1 and #2 are the biggies for most people. Like my mom, sh'es an art teacher and not very technically adept. She just uses the Internet for shopping and getting information. None the less she has a cable modem and wouldn't have it any other way. She likes having it always on in the background, able to use it on a whim, and she likes things to move quickly, at near realtime speeds.
      • File sharing is the only reason to have broadband.
        Damn straight! In fact, the only reason for the internet is filesharing--whether it be mp3s, html pages, images, tarballs, exes, etc.

        In other news, the only reason to have a car is to drive somewhere.
    • "Download all the music you like. And all the music you sort of, kind of, maybe even a little bit like. Go MP3 crazy. Try new music. Build a song library. Whatever."

      It's just sad that, whenever MP3 or downloading music comes up, people instantly assume you are talking about copyright infringement, and not about the MILLIONS upon millions of freely and legally downloadable MP3s available. Or perhaps they are talking about legally purchased music files.

      First "hacker", now "mp3". Pretty soon, every possibl

  • This is 1/SCO (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dudle (93939) on Wednesday September 17, 2003 @01:59AM (#6983370) Homepage
    SBC is doing the same thing that SCO is doing, only in reverse. Read on and you'll see what I mean.

    There is a saying in the PR industry that goes something like this: "Every PR is good PR". The attacks that SCO has made against us has been one of the best demonstrations of this saying. Even though they showed a face of humanity that would make most criminals throw up, their stock went up substantialy and the officers made some serious cash.

    Now look at what SBC is doing

    IANAL, nevertheless I believe SBC doesn't stand a chance in court. They know it. Their General Counsel has huge balls but I think he knows that this is a great publicity. GREAT publicity.

    At a time of software patents, monopolies held by incompetents and failing companies trying to kill Open Source, it sure feels good to see someone doing The Right Thing. Or at least it would seem.

    After reading this story, I would switch to SBC if they covered my area ...

    What about you?

    • So, how much would it really cost SBC if they had to go to court?

      Compare that with the price of:

      • adhering to the whims of the RIAA
      • putting together a marketing campaign with this much exposure

      While I may agree with the actions that SBC has taken, namely telling the RIAA to go fsck themselves, the motives behind it may be entirely financial. In the end, does it really matter?

    • Re:This is 1/SCO (Score:3, Insightful)

      by curunir (98273) *
      As a current SBC DSL customer (I signed up when it was still Pacbell DSL), here's my take on it.

      There's very little for SBC to lose if they wait for a court order forcing them to turn over customer information. They just have to make a few court appearances. On the other hand, since I've been a customer, I've had the opportunity to be a part of 6 class actions against SBC for things that always seemed really stupid (slower-than-advertised speeds due to being too far from the CO...what ever happened to ac
  • by danielsfca2 (696792)
    As someone who never used to have any significant amount of respect for SBC (my "local" telco), this decision gives me much more respect for them. This will give them an advantage next time I change my broadband, local, local toll, and long distance service. (Currently I only get my $10 worth of local service from SBC.)

    Hm, and they just called me today to try to sell me LT and LD service.

  • by turvalon (668877) on Wednesday September 17, 2003 @02:00AM (#6983374) Journal
    The article said that Verizon kept its log files indefinitely where as others may have kept logs for 30 days meaning those other companies wouldn't be able to provide any information if legal battles took the courts over that amount of time. I wonder if companies like SBC start gaining customers because of these practices if other companies would jump onboard.
  • Good move for SBC (Score:4, Insightful)

    by neyneyjung (704430) on Wednesday September 17, 2003 @02:01AM (#6983380)
    It's a good PR for them since they will gain nothing giving RIAA their customer list w/o a fight (even worse if people know about it). And they also have deep enough pocket to pay for legal fees which are more likly to be even when more ppl switch to SBC for their piece of mind and just to piss RIAA off.
  • nice (Score:3, Funny)

    by 00RUSS (549125) on Wednesday September 17, 2003 @02:04AM (#6983389) Homepage
    Nice to know some ISP's still have balls. I dont see why ISP's tend to upgrade from FreeInformation 1.0 to Profiteering Bafoon 2.0 and now load the corprate slave modules.
  • by iamacat (583406) on Wednesday September 17, 2003 @02:08AM (#6983402)
    Basically, request an address from DHCP and then use another one. Or spoof packets from my neighbors PC. Maybe some simple things are blocked, but I don't feel cable modem network is especially secure. At least its not using secure IP and everyone gets to see everyone's packets with tcpdump.

    Anyway, if there are some known hacks, won't it be very easy to defend against RIAAs lawsuit by saying it wasn't you?
    • by phauxfinnish (698087) on Wednesday September 17, 2003 @02:50AM (#6983556)
      Issue 19:4 [2600.com] of 2600 [2600.org] had an article you may be interested in called DHCP is your friend!

      It's a little long to type up here, but I can give you the jist of the article. Basically it describes a way of getting all the active MAC address (of Windows machines) on your subnet by performing a portscan on Netbios (port 139), and using those (ifconfig in linux or perhaps MAC address cloning on you linksys router) to register an IP thru DHCP.

      Since most Cable ISPs require the MAC of the connecting device to be registered, you need a vaild one. Any thing you do with an IP registered under an assumed MAC gets blamed on the person with the MAC you stole.

      Thats the theory anyway. Could be traced, but probably enough to get you off the hook.

      • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Wednesday September 17, 2003 @04:01AM (#6983745)
        As with many articles of the like, it only works in certian cases. The cable ISP I used to have didn't care one bit about any MAC address on your network, all they wanted was your CM's MAC. That was registered with your line, no other CM would work on your line unless you caleed to change it. Their DHCP server would then dole out the number of IPs you paid for (default 1) and no more. The router then wouldn't accept traffic from or send traffic to anything but those IPs.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    So this ISP has announced that they refuse to disclose the names of their customers that have quite possibly (99% chance) broken the law?

    Bottom line: Publicity stunt aimed at gaining popularity and consumer confidence by pandering to the most prevelant public opinion - regardless of righteousness. This ISp cares about generating profit, not the privacy of their customers. Rest assured that RIAA lawyers are already in talks with the ISP over possible compensation for the release of the names. Once a satisf

    • by Cooper_007 (688308) on Wednesday September 17, 2003 @03:35AM (#6983680)
      If you read a little bit less between the lines and pay a little more attention to the lines themselves you'll see that they're objecting to sending out your personal information because some guy went to see a clerk, said someone did something nasty and they wanted to sue him.

      At no point are they saying that what their customers did is legal. All they're saying is they want a judge to OK the subpeana.

      Cooper_007
      --
      If you can read this you're probably not dead yet.

  • W00t for SBC corp! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by zealotasd (700001) on Wednesday September 17, 2003 @02:12AM (#6983423) Journal
    SBC's general council has obviously had some council! They are not disagreeing with the RIAA; merely conditionaly agreeing with the RIAA upon proof of claim. For those of you sovereignty-type people, perhaps you would piss your pants to discover that while SBC is conditionaly agreeing to the RIAA, that subscribers to SBC are actualy vulnerable by acting in a Public/Body Corporate capacity and that SBC is not Private as it is governed by the FCC. The content of the RIAA's claims is not meritless, yet neither has the RIAA provided oath of office to represent the copyright and patent holders of the allegedly "infringed" data being processed through SBC's securitities (their data network services). Perhaps a lesson in copyright law should warrant that copyrights only apply to commercial actions. Using copyrighted and patented property is not against the law in the realm of non-commercial; be weary of using copyrighted software in a corporation, as corporations are inclusivly commercial in their nature. So, this leaves us whether SBC is liable for their (think commercial) corporation transporting copyrighted and patented tangible property to its subscribers. Be afraid for SBC...non-commercial use, need not apply unless by the RIAA's administration of force and intimidation [reference.com] has taken effect.

    Question for slashdotters: are you a secured party [securedparty.org]?
  • by MaximusMentiz (701590) on Wednesday September 17, 2003 @02:19AM (#6983456)
    In the Chicago area, SBC just took over our phone service a few years back. They screwed everything and jacked up the prices. The people at SBC engage in some of the most underhanded busniess practice this side of the ENRON debacle. I do have to say that I am quite impressed by this move, though. But look for the hidden motives. Publicity is the name of the game here not some sense of loyalty they have to thier customers.
    • I'm thinking this is a move to improve customer relations. They KNOW they have a bad reputation and have alienated many customers. This kind of decision seems uncharacteristic of them, given prior behavior, so it's logical to conclude that they're trying to get business back from their competitors who are more willing to sell you out to the RIAA.

      Maybe a permutation on an old geek addage is in order:

      Pick Two:
      -quality of service
      -low price
      -privacy

      I say this because it seems some of the better reputed ISPs
    • Im in the chicagoland area as well, and have my DSL serv ice through DSL. Personally, you sound like an angry ex-employee since thats all Ive ever heard from people who work there. But honestly, I could care less how people react to the way they provide the services they do. And dont go drawing any parallels between not caring and slave labor or killing kittins, thats NOT whats going on and you damn well know it.

      My bottom line, I used to have broadband through the local cable company, and when I started a

  • SBC and privacy? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    This is the same company that will sell local phone service customers' information unless the customer requests that they don't...even if the number is unlisted and even if the customer has subscribed to SBC's Privacy Manager service whose only function is to keep companies from buying the customer's information and calling them!

    And even with your unlisted number...even with your Privacy Manager...even if you got in before the deadline and asked them not to sell your information...SBC'S TELEMARKETING DIVIS
  • SBC (Score:5, Interesting)

    by CySurflex (564206) on Wednesday September 17, 2003 @02:22AM (#6983468)
    I little OT but it comes around:

    I'm an SBC DSL subscriber. Tonight I got a letter from a laywer suing SBC for class action lawsuit, claiming the service wasn't all it was claimed to be, and demanding one month free service or $20 for each participant. At first I thought "oh cool" and started filling out the form to be part of the lawsuit. After filling it out completely, and even addressing the letter, I realized I really was pretty satisfied with their service, and that this seems a little bit of a frivolous lawsuit. I tore up the letter and threw it out thinking "i'm not going to support a stupid lawsuit like this that will end up raising DSL prices for consumers".

    After reading this story - I'm glad I did. Go SBC!

    • Re:SBC (Score:3, Informative)

      by CySurflex (564206)
      Tonight I got a letter from a laywer suing SBC for class action lawsuit

      If you're interested, you can read about the lawsuite here [bizjournals.com] and here [sanmateocountytimes.com].

    • I agree. Aside from annoying delays in initial setup (mainly due to the fact that I assumed that they had to come to my apartment complex to turn it on, and none of the customer support people would tell me otherwise), speed was generally better than advertised, and service outages were no more frequent than what I experienced in my dorm at the university.
  • Yay SBC (Score:4, Funny)

    by MillionthMonkey (240664) on Wednesday September 17, 2003 @02:24AM (#6983477)
    Doctor David Banner:
    file trader, scientist;
    searching for a way to download the hidden copyrighted files that all you little liars know you have.
    Then an accidental overdose of typical SBC service alters his body chemistry.
    And now, when David Banner hears any news about SBC,
    whether it has to do with their patent abuse, layoffs and overseas outsourcing, or the general degradation in service quality that occurs whenever SBC takes over an outfit,
    a startling metamorphosis occurs.

    The Creature is driven by rage,
    and wanted for sharing a file he didn't upload.
    David Banner is believed to be dead,
    and he must let the world think that he is dead because those bastards can sue you for $100,000 per copyright violation,
    until he can find a way to control the raging spirit that dwells within him...

    But now David's eyebrows are merely raised in suspicion.
    What is SBC's motive in acting in the interests of their customers?
    What's in it for them? What are they up to?
    The Creature does not understand.
  • Why not (Score:2, Interesting)

    by stewwy (687854)
    Don't know about the law in the states, but can the Isp not ask the RIAAssholes for a reasonable fee for doing the work of identifying their customers? I know your ale to ask for compensation in the UK for copliance with the data protection laws ( such as they are :( ) ...... I suggest a fee to the RIAA of $10,000 per identified customer
  • People who pay the money for bandwidth are a desire for internet providers. The ISPs who give up information at the drop of a hat look like wimps who have no loyalty to their customers. But this ISP might have a good idea hear. Spend some money on the lawyers so the customers think they're behind them. The RIAA will win eventually, but this is cheap and effective advertisment. I know I sound really cynical here, but I think there is some truth to it. But if I'm wrong and these people really want to ma
    • by vidarh (309115) <vidar@hokstad.com> on Wednesday September 17, 2003 @04:29AM (#6983827) Homepage Journal
      SBC have two reasons to fight this: Customers want to be able to use P2P, regardless of whether it's legal or not, AND it will cost SBC a lot if they keep having to spend resources on dealing with RIAA requests all the time. If they make it hard for the RIAA now, it can only be a PR win for them at the same time as it might make RIAA decide it's better to concentrate their efforts elsewhere. Also, if SBC had cooperated now, you can be the RIAA will start pushing for fun stuff like mandatory log retention etc. to make it easier for them to gather evidence. No ISP in their right mind would like to have something like that forced down their throats.
  • by FullCircle (643323) on Wednesday September 17, 2003 @05:10AM (#6983966)
    Obviously they are protecting both their image, i.e. future sales, and their current revenue stream.

    Seriously, how many people need dsl to check email and browse? Nobody.

    P2P is the killer app that drives the internet these days.

    Oddly enough, AOL, SBC and other broadband providers may actually do us a great service by protecting our rights (and possibly helping grant a few new ones)

    How many other companies have enough money to both successfully fight the RIAA in court and lobby (pay for) changes in law?

    These are the companies we need to rally around instead of bashing at every chance.
  • by E-Rock-23 (470500) <lostprophytNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Wednesday September 17, 2003 @05:15AM (#6983991) Homepage Journal
    Hello. My name is Eric Jacobson. I'm a freelance computer consultant from Houtzdale, PA. And I am a filesharer.

    I currently use iMesh, version 4.2, to share files over the Internet, which I get access to through Pennswoods.

    Currently, I'm sharing the following eight files:

    Songs by the rock band Tempered Edge:
    Fade Away
    Slip Into Never
    Pull The Trigger
    Madness Follows Me
    I Need You
    It's Alright
    Picture This
    Footsteps.

    These songs are copyrighted, and I am offering them up, free of charge, to anyone who wishes to download them. The trick is, I'm the singer for this band. We own our own copyrights. We are not signed by any label, major or independant.

    Come and get me...
  • Some thoughts (Score:5, Interesting)

    by incog8723 (579923) on Wednesday September 17, 2003 @05:44AM (#6984064)
    The ridiculosity of this is getting out of hand. ISPs should not be responsible for this, any more than common carriers should be responsible for listening in on the voice transmissions on their copper or fiber for potential terrorist threats. This country is lost.

    The *issue* here is that if litigation is going to be the order of the day, then small ISPs will be SQUASHED. If the burden lies upon the ISP, then it will loosen competition, so that only the largest ISPs (Verizon, the baby Bells, the common carriers) will be able to defend these ridiculous lawsuits. The ISP should NOT have to worry about its customers' activities. They are providing a SERVICE... nothing else.

    Let's use an analogy. Imagine the year 2300.

    Imagine a cell phone with close to perfect translation (A/D, with a bandwidth and sampling rate greater than CD). I send a song that I like to Joe Blow, for his opinion. Obvious copyright violation, under current laws.

    Imagine now, that the common carrier of the phone service is responsible for the mutiny of the masses. The economic model devised by excessive and frivolous litigation raises prices on technology services in GENERAL.

    In short, carriers should not be responsible for investigating the deeds of their customers! It's heresy! This seemed VERY clear 10 years ago. To stifle a technology that is so clearly beneficial is LUDICROUS. Copyright laws exist for a reason... to ensure that the owner makes money. Now that the ability to copy almost anything is ubiquitous, and people have demonstrated time and time again that they have no respect for the law, it would seem that copyright law should be REFORMED. If the majority of people don't agree with the law, change it!

    I think most people here would agree that once you buy a CD, or a song from the internet, you should be able to listen to it a BILLION times if you want, and PLAY it for any ONE of your friends that you deem fit to hear it! I sometimes wonder... Does it matter whether I invite a friend over to hear a new album, or whether I stream the audio to him by changing the audio properties in Volume Control (in Windows) to stereo mix, so that rather than selecting microphone, you select WAV out?

    I'm totally confounded by the greed in this world. Artists deserve to make a living, and I fully support them, but it ain't gonna happen if they're affiliated with the RIAA. The RIAA is a child molester, pure and simple.

  • by Milo77 (534025) on Wednesday September 17, 2003 @10:21AM (#6985419)
    about your privacy. they want to keep selling you dsl. most people have few actual uses for broadband. if most of sbc's dsl customers were suddenly too scared to download music or were forced to actually purchase music, they would most likely go back to hit'n the malls with their friends and go back to a 56k modem. it seems like basic economics here: you always want your complimentary products cheap (or in this case free). E.g. hardware people are always pushing to keep the software cheap and software people are pushing to keep hardware cheap.
    • ...but it's a good example of Ayn Rand's philosophy, which is that selfishness leads to practical efficiency and maximal outcomes. My hat's off to SBC for doing the right thing, whether it's for the right or wrong reasons.
  • GO SBC! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by nurb432 (527695) on Wednesday September 17, 2003 @10:28AM (#6985475) Homepage Journal
    They will of course loose in the end since our conutry is going to hell when it comes to rights/freedoms, but its good to see they are trying to protect their customers privacy.

    I am NOT supporting illegal practices and hiding behind the 4th amendment, but using just the DMCA to demand records is wrong, you should be getting a court order to do the request...

  • by mactari (220786) <{moc.liamg} {ta} {krowfur}> on Wednesday September 17, 2003 @10:58AM (#6985722) Homepage
    I get so fed up with RIAA FUD that "trading music == illegal activity, no matter what". There's a pretty pointed bit in the linked story, above, about an SBC advert that said, in part, "Download all the music you like. And all the music you sort of, kind of, maybe even a little bit like."

    That doesn't mean the users are being told to do anything illegal (admittedlty nor does the ad educate users in how to trade legally, but anyhow...). Here's my letter to SBC (disclosure -- I do own SBC stock):

    ===

    Mr. Bingol:

    I wanted to comment quickly on a quote I read in an article on SBC and the RIAA today.

    From: http://www.tuscaloosanews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/articl e?AID=/20030916/ZNYT01/309160363

    > A record industry official pointed to a past print advertisement from SBC's Pacific Bell unit that read, in part: "Download all the music you like. And all the music you sort of, kind of, maybe even a little bit like. Go MP3 crazy. Try new music. Build a song library. Whatever." ...

    > An SBC spokesman, Selim Bingol, said the advertisement was irrelevant. "It's ludicrous to suggest that an ad that has not appeared for many months has anything to do with today's debate," he said. "We are opposing these subpoenas because under the R.I.A.A.'s interpretation, they are a threat to consumer privacy and safety."

    Though I agree with your statement, I'd like to point out that the ad says nothing that explicitly insinuates anything but a legal venture on the part of your customers. Services such as Furthurnet (http://www.furthurnet.net) offer legally downloadable music files from bands that allow taping and trading of their shows -- everywhere from The Black Crowes and The Grateful Dead and Phish to some much more fringe bands (like "The Screaming Cheetah Wheelies") that people might be interested in downloading.

    There *are* gigabytes of free, high-quality, and legal music out there. Putting together a song library over the Internet is certainly a great use of the services you provide your customers, and doesn't "cost" the RIAA a dime in "lost revenue".

    Thanks for your time, and best of luck with your work.

    Ruffin Bailey, SBC stockholder
  • by dcavanaugh (248349) on Wednesday September 17, 2003 @11:30AM (#6986011) Homepage
    I think it would be cool if SBC was to copyright the user logon data, burn it to CD (adding DRM that wastes 95% of the space), price each one at $100,000 each. After all, this is valuable marketing data, and royalties should be paid to the "artists" who created it, right?

    When RIAA tries to invoke their subpoena power, SBC responds with DMCA protection -- accusing RIAA of using a subpoena as a "circumvention method" to avoid paying the true market value for SBC's "intellectual property". The fact that it's mostly junk and wildly overpriced is a mere coincidence. After all, it's worth whatever SBC says it is, right? SBC could reasonably claim that they are doing precisely what RIAA does.
  • by b-baggins (610215) on Wednesday September 17, 2003 @11:54AM (#6986207) Journal
    >>We've got a long heritage in which we have always taken a harsh and hard rule on protecting the privacy of our customers' information.'

    OK. Assuming the above statement is a lie, since these companies will sell your information in a heartbeat to telemarketers, the question to ask is: What is the REAL reason SBC is holding out?
  • by schmiddy (599730) on Wednesday September 17, 2003 @12:12PM (#6986380) Homepage Journal
    Looks like SBC is probably set to lose this one, if the Verizon case is any precedent. However, maybe the big ISPs could learn a valuable lesson from all the RIAA lawsuits -- since I'm sure they don't like having to dole out information to RIAA subpoenas or DMCA notices, why not just destroy logs after a short period, say one day? Better yet, compress just the basic pertinent information and hire a corporation in, say, Madagascar to store the logs. Make the claim that you don't have the storage space or whatever. Then, if the RIAA wants the logs, they'll have to deal with an out of country entity... GOOD LUCK! Plus, the logs would still be available in case it was a serious case, such as child pornography or something. Just a thought.
  • I'd switch, but... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by eGabriel (5707) on Wednesday September 17, 2003 @05:17PM (#6989174) Homepage
    I used to use SBC/Southwestern Bell for my phone service, and their customer service was consistently the most rude I had ever encountered. They'd disconnect me if I was a day late on my bill, refuse to answer questions about certain parts of my service, and call me EVERY DAY to ask if I will switch back.

    Maybe it is different on the DSL side of the company, I don't know, but the phone company was just a nightmare to work with.

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