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Verizon Loses Suit Over Subpoena of Subscriber Info 670

Brian Golden writes "As a result of a suit filed by the RIAA, the identity of a Verizon customer with a penchant for mp3's was ordered to be released. Man, how many people are now sweating bullets trying to remember what they downloaded?" also has a story. If you've forgotten about this case, see our earlier story. Verizon wasn't making any sort of principled stand to protect its users' privacy, it just wanted to avoid the costs of complying with the (many) subpoenas it will now receive.
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Verizon Loses Suit Over Subpoena of Subscriber Info

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  • too easy... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Sparr0 ( 451780 ) <> on Tuesday January 21, 2003 @05:19PM (#5129511) Homepage Journal
    It wasnt me, it was my brother/son/wife/cousin/neighbor/someone-using-my- WAP
    • Re:too easy... (Score:2, Insightful)

      by yohaas ( 228469 )
      Not exactly, once they get a hold of your computer, they can figure it all out.
      • Re:too easy... (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Sparr0 ( 451780 )
        But who is to say it was you using that computer? It is exactly like those automated speeding ticket cameras, just tell them someone else was driving (unless they were smart enough to take a picture of the driver, which very few of the systems do).

        Oh, yeah... FP!
        • Re:too easy... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by jdreed1024 ( 443938 ) on Tuesday January 21, 2003 @05:29PM (#5129624)
          It is exactly like those automated speeding ticket cameras, just tell them someone else was driving

          Uh, no. In most places, if you lend someone your car, and they get a ticket, you're responsible. You should carefully consider who you're lending you're car to.

          Now, if you report your car as stolen (and it actually was stolen), and itshows up on one of those speed cameras, then yes, you can probably get out of the ticket, but not if you just lent it to your lead-foot friend.

          • Re:too easy... (Score:3, Informative)

            by Mantrid ( 250133 )
            In Canada anyways, Ontario long ago gave up the idea of photo-radar because the tickets never held up and basically everyone contested them.
          • Re:too easy... (Score:3, Informative)

            by Ioldanach ( 88584 )
            It is exactly like those automated speeding ticket cameras, just tell them someone else was driving

            Uh, no. In most places, if you lend someone your car, and they get a ticket, you're responsible. You should carefully consider who you're lending you're car to.

            IANAL, but, in my experience, there are two kinds of tickets. There are tickets for your car doing something wrong (parking tickets for example), and for the driver doing something wrong (speeding).

            For the first kind, the ticket always goes to the owner, and I've never heard of an owner being able to claim someone else did it. An automated ticket, of course, only refers to the second kind. A traditional driver at fault ticket happens when a police officer pulls the driver over, identifies who's driving, and gives the driver a ticket. In the current automated systems, a photo of the car is taken. Then, later, if the driver wants to say my lead-footed friend borrowed the car, he'll have to tell them the lead-footed friend's name so they can serve the ticket to him instead. There's photo-proof that the owner wasn't driving, in that case, but they'll probably hold the owner liable until the driver at the time is located.

    • Re:too easy... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by geekoid ( 135745 ) <dadinportland&yahoo,com> on Tuesday January 21, 2003 @05:27PM (#5129605) Homepage Journal
      tell it to the judge, you're going to court and will have to foot the bill for the expenses.

      Sure you may get off, but it will be 25,000 dollars later.
    • Re:too easy... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by xmedar ( 55856 )
      Even better excuse number 42-

      I run a Wi-Fi hot spot and I don't log anything
  • by crankyspice ( 63953 ) on Tuesday January 21, 2003 @05:20PM (#5129533)
    The power's concentrated in the hands of the copyright holders, who have the money and the control. The DMCA was passed because they wanted it; the Verizon motion was decided this way because they wanted it... w/
  • At least Verizon had the balls to stand against the RIAA... too bad they lost...
  • by swordboy ( 472941 ) on Tuesday January 21, 2003 @05:21PM (#5129540) Journal
    Stop keeping logs of users. Just issue DHCP at random and be done with it.
    • Can't do that (Score:3, Interesting)

      by cscx ( 541332 )
      What if someone launches a large scale DDoS attach from their netblock? You'd think they'd like to be aware of it...
    • by Tackhead ( 54550 ) on Tuesday January 21, 2003 @05:27PM (#5129608)
      > Stop keeping logs of users. Just issue DHCP at random and be done with it.

      Won't work, at least not without one hell of a tradeoff. If you still wanna be able to LART Joe Luzer for running the open SOCKS proxy through which you got spammed or DDoSed, RIAA has to be able to LART Joe Musicfan for running the Gnutella note through which they downloaded HilaryRosenIsABigFatBitch.mp3

      If ISPs could blocked outbound port 25 traffic from residential cablemodem and DSL users, that'd greatly cut down the amount of spam the rest of the 'net has to deal with, but logs would still have to be kept with regards to DDoS issues.

      • Stop breaking the net for millions of legitimate home users.

        My mail server is much better run, much more reliable, and much more secure than most ISPS.

        Instead of using DHCP at all, move to IPV6 and give everyone static addresses.

        Give everyone a static IP and stop logging what users do. There is no need, apart from marketing private information, for an ISP to log their own users. Filter spoofed IP packets from emerging from their networks, and then let complaints about malicious user activities (DDOS, SPAM) come with a logged IP address and then the ISP under the right circumstances can track the attacker down, securely, correctly, and without violating everyone's privacy.

        And if the complaint is without merit, issue a new IP at the user's request.
  • cash money (Score:2, Funny)

    by Ptahian ( 113302 )

    Finally the money to RIAA will really start rolling in. If they can just put a few more of
    their custom^H^H^H pirates in jail it'll be good times for artis^H^H^H shareholders.
  • Come on! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by gmajor ( 514414 )
    This guy downloaded over 600 songs in a day! If and only if this behavior was not limited to a single day, then it is obvious this guy was pirating music. He took music without paying for it, plain and simple.

    Of course, if he owned the CDs, that is a different story, but the probability of the guy (it has to be a guy!) owning those CDs just isn't there.
    • Re:Come on! (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I don't think it is clear that the person had downloaded 600 song files in a day.

      The version of the story on MSNBC states that the person was sharing more than 600 song files.

      I'd expect the MSNBC story may be more correct since it would be easier to tell that a user was sharing a large number of files instead of telling how many they downloaded.

      Unless of course the user happened to download them all from the same RIAA honeypot in which case he might have a defense that they were publically available for download just as a page on a HTTP server is publically available. After all if he downloaded the songs from the RIAA and that is how the found out he downloaded 600 file then they be at fault for sharing them in the first place.

      Of course IANAL and that is just my 2 cents worth.

      As far as taking the music without paying for it anyone can do that over the radio and in any case I don't recall the RIAA giveing me any sort of recompense for attempting to take my fair use rights.
    • Re:Come on! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by TheRealFixer ( 552803 ) on Tuesday January 21, 2003 @05:40PM (#5129757)
      It's interesting to note that downloading music you already own is most likely perfectly legal, whether the RIAA likes to admit it or not, simply because of they way they are trying to categorize the sale of music.

      Say for instance, a bunch of my CDs get scratched and are now unplayable on a couple of my players. So, I just download the whole albums off of Kazaa to replace them. Technically, I am within my rights to do this. Why? Because the music industry is trying to look at it like the software model, where the content is wholy apart from the media. Therefore, I've a payed for a licence to listen to this music, and not for a fragile disk that's been destroyed.

      Interestingly, if they looked at it like they were selling you the CD (something they're loathe to do; see: the hard, bitter battle against used CD sales), instead of licencing the content, it could be argued illegal to do that. After all, if you scratch your car, you can't just walk down to the lot and drive another one off without asking, can you?

      Of course, the RIAA once tried to convince people on their website that making backup copies of music you've bought was against the law. So, pesky legal "rights" are of little concern to them anyway.
      • Re:Come on! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by CharlieO ( 572028 ) on Tuesday January 21, 2003 @06:07PM (#5129996)
        As I see it the music industry has two models:

        1) Physical ownership - i.e. you own the music CD

        This is like buying a book - you decide what to do with the CD, lend it to your mates, play it in the car, your laptop whatever

        2) Licensing - i.e. you buy a license to listen to an album, the CD is just a delivery medium

        This is basically how most software is shipped.

        But copy protecting CD's hurts the consumer in both ways.

        If I own the CD outright then I'm entitled to my money back because you crippled it and it won't play in my laptop - the goods are faulty.

        If I license the music then once I have the delivery medium I'm entitled to listen to the music anyway I want - but I can't because it won't play in my laptop.

        Now try as I might I can't see another 'model' that the music industry can use.

        Music wants to be made and the people involved must be compensated for thier skill and effort. I want to listen to a good range of music in a way that is convenient to me and I'm willing to provide that compensation.

        I'm fed up of hearing that an album is deleated, or I can only get track X on this compilation. I want to listen to music that I've already heard or heard about and I'm willing to pay for it.

        The challenge for the record industry is to build a buisness model on that, which sadly they show no inclination to do.

        As one of my pasttimes I've run discos and compiled themed compilations for local pubs - all legal uses of downloaded MP3s as all the venues have paid thier PPL fees (This is in the UK) and yet I now can't find the one offs, the deleted tracks, the special mixes that I could on Napster.

        Treat consumers like criminals 24/7 and they will start to act like criminals.

        Bahh - sorry off topic a bit.
    • Re:Come on! (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ianjk ( 604032 )
      This guy downloaded over 600 songs in a day! If and only if this behavior was not limited to a single day, then it is obvious this guy was pirating music. He took music without paying for it, plain and simple.

      Of course, if he owned the CDs, that is a different story, but the probability of the guy (it has to be a guy!) owning those CDs just isn't there.

      So, how does the RIAA know he downloaded 600 tracks?
      Would the courts order Verison to give me someone's name if I thought they had downloaded one of my copywrited songs? (I bet not).
      What about software, can any publisher now go and ask for the names of people they SUSPECT of illegal downloading their product???
      The courts just set a precedent and the RIAA is probably going to continue with this activity until they realize it is futal and they go back to what they were originally supposed to do, set and maintain standards for recording.

    • Re:Come on! (Score:3, Interesting)

      by cybercuzco ( 100904 )
      Say for arguments sake that my music library was recently destroyed due to a harddrive issue. I download maybe 1 song a week (if that) but ive got over 600 songs, i could get busted if i restored my collection in one day? (hypothetically, assuming i had such a collection. At any rate, I would LOVE to see the RIAA go after EVERYONE who has downloaded an MP3 from the internet. A word to the wise, if you do get busted for this, demand a jury trial and dont take any plea bargains. For that matter, dont hire an attourney, let the court provide one. If everyone who gets busted does this, pretty soon the court system breaks down. Currenttly only 5% of cases are tried by a jury, the other 95% are pleabargained down.
  • by Amsterdam Vallon ( 639622 ) <> on Tuesday January 21, 2003 @05:23PM (#5129559) Homepage
    Let me get this straight.

    We now live in a world where anonymity no longer exists, we have to pay for music, and an ugly 18 year old Canadian chick is at the top of the US music charts?

    I need a Tums...
    • Please explain why anonymity should be a guaranteed means of avoiding persecution. Should all crimes committed though the internet be unpunishable? Just because you don't agree with the laws in question is not a reason to claim that the internet should be a place for actions without consequences. What if instead of MP3s this guy was suspected of transferring 6000 kiddy porn images?
      • by _bug_ ( 112702 ) on Tuesday January 21, 2003 @06:05PM (#5129989) Journal
        What if instead of MP3s this guy was suspected of transferring 6000 kiddy porn images?

        And what if some cracker has rooted your machine with some trojan and is doing the downloading of kiddy porn. But the FBI only sees your IP address and when they ask the owner of that IP address (the ISP) to identify the user using that IP at that specific time, they come to you. You "claim" you "don't know anything about this" but of course the FBI won't believe that. They take your computer, your fax, all your CDs, all your disks, your home movies, go through your closets, your drawers, ask you to open up that safety deposit box you have at the bank that your spouce doesn't know about, ect...

        Far-fetched? Not at all.

        And as far as I can tell from the parent post, the poster isn't claiming that the internet should be a place for actions without consequences.

        What we're talking about is the loss of privacy. Now any organization can subpoena your ISP claiming they saw W.X.Y.Z IP address downloading or sharing copyrighted music. They don't stop to question whether or not it's legal. (Yes, downloading an mp3 off an album you own is very legal.) The ISP, after this court's ruling, will be far more inclined to give up that information outright and most likely without your knowledge.

        So now the company can go and subpoena a thousand IP addresses a week to an ISP. From that they can start to keep track of who is online and when and what they're doing. Suddly there's a database that notes who you are, your typical online hours, and what FILES (not songs, remember p2p is more than just mp3s) you may have on your computer.

        Sure you might be innocent.

        But they've got all this personal information about you and they've done it legally.

        Is that the kind of world you want to live in?

        'Cause that's where we are.
      • by _ph1ux_ ( 216706 ) on Tuesday January 21, 2003 @06:08PM (#5130007)
        "What if instead of MP3s this guy was suspected of transferring 6000 kiddy porn images?"

        I HATE this type of logic!!

        What if this guy killed 6000 people?!
        What if this guy raped your sister 6000 times?!
        What if this guy stuck his finger in your ass all day long?!!
        What if he traded 6000 images of churches or trees?!

        He DIDN'T trade 1 or 6 or 600 or 6 million kiddie porn images - and probably would NEVER THINK OF IT!!

        But you on the otherhand did think of it - and are equating this action with it. What the fuck are you thinking.

        First of all these two things are not even remotely close. Second there is no point in trying to make him look like a kiddie porn pusher - and last the only reason why you would say something like this is to try to make your weak point look more valid - but instead it just invalidates your point.

        First of all - anonymity should not be a guarantee against anything - but that does not mean that you should have no right to be anonymous. Just because you agree with the laws in question doesnt mean that you should claim that any and all actions of another person should be open and scrutinized by any organization or individual.

        There should be the right to remain anonymous until you do something wrong.

        But for God sakes - not all things that are "wrong" are the same. Pirating overpriced music from a fucked up monopolistic greedy industry (however illegal) is no where in the same solar system as kiddie porn.

      • by u19925 ( 613350 ) on Tuesday January 21, 2003 @06:14PM (#5130077)
        the question is not about anonymity to avoid prosecution. the question is about who should be forced to cooperate at what cost for what crime. verizon or any other isp now needs to comply with potentially millions of subpeona automatically generated through viruses and worms by RIAA. they must not make mistake, lest they get sued by users for violating their privacy. this is a huge burden on any isp. in the past, it was presumed that isps just carry information and they should not need to comply with such subpeonas, but now that has changed.
  • by ackthpt ( 218170 ) on Tuesday January 21, 2003 @05:23PM (#5129562) Homepage Journal
    It just goes to show, you should register your domain offshore, in some bohemian backwater which refuses to cooperate with US courts.

    That applies to all other forms or needs of business as well.

    "We shall strangle them with our laws!"

    "But won't that hurt us as well, I mean we're all part of the world economy..."

    "Ha ha! Then we shall strangle ourselves with our own laws first, to show them we mean business!"

  • by joebeone ( 620917 ) on Tuesday January 21, 2003 @05:24PM (#5129567) Homepage
    This means that the (MP|RI)AA can serve as many goddamn subpoenas as they want and the ISP's lawyers will advise them to comply in light of this decision. The next logical step is for the (MP|RI)AA to serve cease and desist letters to individuals... then lawsuits will result if they don't comply.

    Many people involved in this will agree that it's probably time for the (MP|RI)AA to start working on consumer dis-satisfaction... if they start to sue individuals, things will get very bad.
  • Serves him right, that loser downloaded Justin Timberlake's new CD. Can't do that without SOME kind of repercussions, and it's either the RIAA or Satan, right? I say choose the lesser evil.
    • So why is Microsoft entering the argument? Are they getting into Broadband now?
    • Serves him right, that loser downloaded Justin Timberlake's new CD. Can't do that without SOME kind of repercussions, and it's either the RIAA or Satan, right? I say choose the lesser evil.

      I completely agree, but he didn't get the lesser of the two.

  • Court Opinion (Score:5, Informative)

    by Jim Tyre ( 100017 ) on Tuesday January 21, 2003 @05:24PM (#5129574) Homepage
    The Court's Opinion is here [].


    The Recording Industry Association of America ("RIAA") has moved to enforce a subpoena served on Verizon Internet Services ("Verizon") under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 ("DMCA" or "Act"), 17 U.S.C. 512. On behalf of copyright owners, RIAA seeks the identity of an anonymous user of Verizon's service who is alleged to have infringed copyrights with respect to more than 600 songs downloaded from the Internet in a single day. The copyright owners (and thus RIAA) can discern the Internet Protocol address, but not the identity, of the alleged infringer -- only the service provider can identify the user. Verizon argues that the subpoena relates to material transmitted over Verizon's network, not stored on it, and thus falls outside the scope of the subpoena power authorized in the DMCA. RIAA counters that the subpoena power under section 512(h) of the DMCA applies to all Internet service providers, including Verizon, whether the infringing material is stored on or simply transmitted over the service provider's network.

    The case thus presents a core issue of statutory interpretation relating to the scope of the subpoena authority under the DMCA. The parties, and several amici curiae, agree that this is an issue of first impression of great importance to the application of copyright law to the Internet. Indeed, they concede that this case is presented as a test case on the DMCA subpoena power.Based on the language and structure of the statute, as confirmed by the purpose and history of the legislation, the Court concludes that the subpoena power in 17 U.S.C. 512(h) applies to all Internet service providers within the scope of the DMCA, not just to those service providers storing information on a system or network at the direction of a user. Therefore, the Court grants RIAA's motion to enforce, and orders Verizon to comply with the properly issued and supported subpoena from RIAA seeking the identity of the alleged infringer.


  • From the article: (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Gentoo Fan ( 643403 ) on Tuesday January 21, 2003 @05:25PM (#5129582) Homepage

    The recording industry asked Verizon last summer to reveal the name of a customer believed to have downloaded more than 600 songs in one day, but Verizon refused

    (Emph mine.) So just based on the fact that the customer might have downloaded [any number] of songs, they have convinced the federal government to step in and force Verizon to release information to a group of record companies? This is revolting.

  • Sooo.... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by cybermace5 ( 446439 ) <> on Tuesday January 21, 2003 @05:26PM (#5129589) Homepage Journal

    What happens if, say, I have my MP3 collection on my computer at home. I get permission to temporarily use the storage at work while doing a reformat of my computer. When I download all the files back to my computer at home, is the RIAA going to come knocking?

    Two choices: encrypt the entire collection or re-rip from CD. I don't know which would take longer.
  • ...and all other ISP's that treat customers similarly. They were worried about dealing with possibly hundreds of suits, but what of the potential loss of thousands of customers? Might that threaten their bottom line? If service companies won't stand up for their customers against the RIAA nazis, then they aren't worth paying monthly fees to.

    Then again, this looks like a publicity stunt by the RIAA et. al. Keep pissing people off, and see what happens.

    Cops not amused at drunk hacker's smiley [] Weird News

    • Re:Dump Verizon (Score:4, Insightful)

      by micromoog ( 206608 ) on Tuesday January 21, 2003 @05:30PM (#5129627)
      What's your complaint with Verizon? They did stand up against the RIAA . . . but lost.
    • Re:Dump Verizon (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jeffy124 ( 453342 )
      whoa! back up a second!

      Verizon was trying to stand up for one of their customers! The fact that they stood up to the RIAA is respectable itself. I'd rather boycott the ISPs which say "here's the info you requested, Ms Rosen."

      Of course, I think Verizon is gonna appeal this, meaning that whatever John Doe is wanted by the RIAA is safe for just a little longer.
      • Re:Dump Verizon (Score:3, Informative)

        by Ioldanach ( 88584 )
        whoa! back up a second!

        Verizon was trying to stand up for one of their customers! The fact that they stood up to the RIAA is respectable itself. I'd rather boycott the ISPs which say "here's the info you requested, Ms Rosen."

        They only sort-of tried to stand up for one of their customers. They really tried to stand up for their checkbook, which will take a big hit if the RIAA can suddenly subpoena thousands of IP #'s every week. The fact that this caused them to stand up for one of their customers was really only a side effect. Trust me, I live in one of their service areas, and they're not known as a great company. Then again, I don't know any phone company anyone actually *likes*.

    • by CharlieO ( 572028 ) on Tuesday January 21, 2003 @05:40PM (#5129756)
      I'll say it again - it's not Verizon's Fault

      A court has ruled that they are legally bound to provide the information - if they do not provide it they will be acting illegally.

      Whether Verizon choose to fight it from a consumer protection issue, or so that they were not open to a flood of court actions it is no longer in thier hands.

      So they did stand up to it - and they lost.

      It is not a customer service issue - its a matter of law - they have no choice.

      If the bad law upsets you write your congresscritter - I can't because I'm not a US resident.
  • This could be good? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by jaylen ( 59655 )
    Um, is this not a good thing?

    This might end up pushing more people off Kazaa and onto more secure/private P2P's like Gnutella, etc?

    Just a thought.


  • not surprising (Score:4, Interesting)

    by tps12 ( 105590 ) on Tuesday January 21, 2003 @05:26PM (#5129600) Homepage Journal
    I'm sure none of us are shocked. But we shouldn't necessarily be outraged either. Remember, a subpoena is how a court obtains information for deciding a case.

    Historically, the only way to avoid subpoenii has been to demonstrate that the information in question must remain secret for reasons of national security. This is, to put it lightly, a special case reserved for the President and other state officials.

    We're not talking about the RIAA having access to your mp3 playlists, we're talking about giving the court the data it needs to make an informed and just decision.
  • by snowpuppy ( 153096 ) on Tuesday January 21, 2003 @05:27PM (#5129602) Homepage
    Johnny Cochrane: It does not make sense. Look at me. I'm a lawyer defending a major record company and I'm talkin' about Chewbacca. Does that make sense? Ladies and Gentlemen I'm am not making any sense. None of this makes sense. And so you have to remember when you're in that jury room deliberating and conjugating the Emancipation Proclamation, does it make sense? No. Ladies and Gentlemen of this deposed jury it does not make sense. If Chewbacca lives on Endor you must acquit. The defense rests.

  • RIAA = new nazi (Score:2, Interesting)

    by joeldg ( 518249 )
    Jeez.. come on, you think they are going to go after your little brother for downloading Weird Al recordings?
    hrm.. maybe they will...
    But I doubt it. However, they are using tactics like these to scare people, and it is working (the comment about sweating in the main post) and that is ridiculous.
    We need a good encrypted filesharing app, with each box running it using a PGP key which is publically available *offshore* somewhere.. This could all be automated of course.
  • An idea (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Amsterdam Vallon ( 639622 ) <> on Tuesday January 21, 2003 @05:28PM (#5129613) Homepage
    A federal judge ordered Verizon Communications Tuesday to turn over the name of a customer suspected of downloading songs over the Internet, handing a victory to recording companies in their fight against online piracy.

    But what if I start my own ISP and the database of customer records is indexed without any information that would be able to identify the person or phone line that's dialing in to use our Web access services?

    Any payment information would be done with cash only and written on pencil and paper kept in a lockbox or safe of some sort so that no matter what a court rules, my customers remain anonymous.

    Is this feasible?
  • by jgerman ( 106518 ) on Tuesday January 21, 2003 @05:28PM (#5129614)
    Mentions that John Doe was accused of sharing over 600 files. I guess that would make a little more sense for them to go after him. I can't imagine that trying to go after everyone who has downloaded mp3's would be economically feasible. Especially since they would have to 1) prove that the downloader didn't own the cd, 2) prove that the mp3 was actually a copywritten song (it could easily be a homework assignment with an odd filename. Those are two hurdles off of the top of my head that would probably throw a wrench into any attempt to prosecute. Likely this is more of an RIAA bid to scare ISP's into trying to crack down on use of P2P apps over their networks.
  • by goingincirclez ( 639915 ) <goingincirclez.msn@com> on Tuesday January 21, 2003 @05:34PM (#5129664)
    Rip. Mix. Burn.

    Has been superceded by

    Track. Subpoena. Litigate.

    Which had damn well better begotten by

    Boycott. RIAA. NOW.

    The ONLY way to get them to shut the hell up and off our backs, is to make sure their sales suck long after file-trading has been smacked-down.
  • I propose a cash only, recordless DSL ISP. In our customer agreement we specifically state that people may pay by cash, or money order, and even if they do pay with credit cards, no records will be kept, beyond, payment received for modem #12345. No customer names are ever to be kept. Why do I care what your name is, all that matters to me is that you pay your bill, all that matters to you is that your DSL modem works. For obvious reasons, no outgoing port 25 traffic allowed, otherwise this could be spammer heaven. Customers would have to submit payment along with the uniq number identifying thier DSL modem. That keeps the modem on for another month. Once the transaction is verified, no records are retained, and we never link IP address to DSL modem. Maybe we implement a daily rotating DHCPd IP scheme for good measure. Supeona my business records? sure, here's 100000 cash receipt stubs with no names, have a ball.
  • by koehn ( 575405 ) on Tuesday January 21, 2003 @05:36PM (#5129686)
    I guess this means I can use the DMCA to force ISPs to give me the IDs of people whose machines have sent me spam. Since there's no due process involved, nor (seemingly) any right to appeal (at least by the ISP, and there doesn't seem to be a provision for user to appeal), I should be able to find out who they are, where they live, and their phone number.

    What happens then? Use your imagination.

    But what's the DMCA violation with spamming? The spammer has bypassed the technological measures installed on my machine (spam filters) preventing me from copying (receiving) their spam. Remember, the courts don't review this, so I can get their personal info just by asking.

    Here, spammer...
  • by guido1 ( 108876 ) on Tuesday January 21, 2003 @05:37PM (#5129703)
    The president of the RIAA says:
    "The illegal distribution of music on the Internet is a serious issue for musicians, songwriters and other copyright owners, and the record companies have made great strides in addressing this problem by educating consumers and providing them with legitimate alternatives."

    I am interested in legal methods of attaining high-quality, non restricted use .mp3s (or oggs), for relatively cheap (e.g. $.25 a track...) I have not been educated or informed of a legitimate alternative to peer networks.

    Exactly what strides have they been making? What alteratives are they giving us?
  • Old rule of life... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by wowbagger ( 69688 ) on Tuesday January 21, 2003 @05:37PM (#5129706) Homepage Journal
    There's an old rule of life which states:
    Never record anything you wouldn't want on the 6:00 news.

    Anything you write down, record on tape, commit to a file on your computer, or store in any way other than in the meat between your ears can come back to haunt you.

    Verizon should make sure they log as little as possible - keep IP to User ID logs for not more than a day, don't log ANY actions of your proxy servers, and so on.

    Then, when the *AA comes and says "We need all your logs for the past week so we can find this pirate", Verizon can say "Here's all the logs we have - the last 23 hours. Cheers!"

    If you absolutely feel you must have the possiblity of accessing logs older than that, then encrypt them with a public key. Let the private key be held by an individual in another country. If you need to access the logs, you mail the encrypted log to him, he decrypts it and sends it back.

    Then if you are served, you give the logs to the nice officers, and then tell your friend that you have been served. Then, even if you want the logs decrypted, your friend won't.

    Let them go to East Elbonia if they want the logs decrypted.
  • Ownership (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PhxBlue ( 562201 ) on Tuesday January 21, 2003 @05:38PM (#5129728) Homepage Journal


    "The illegal distribution of music on the Internet is a serious issue for musicians, songwriters and other copyright owners. . ."

    The "other" copyright owners are the record companies. In fact, I'm sure the record companies are the only copyright owners most of the time--but it's a lot easier to stick up for the rights of a well-known (or not) musician, than it is to stick up for the rights of a faceless, multi-billion-dollar corporation.

    Seriously--if artists owned any share of the copyright after their CD hit the market, do you think we'd see the flood of remade songs that are on the airwaves today?

  • two words.. (Score:3, Informative)

    by warpSpeed ( 67927 ) <> on Tuesday January 21, 2003 @05:39PM (#5129753) Homepage Journal
    Freenet baby!

    Sure it is not as fast as the P2P clients, but it is slowly getting there. The more poeple use it the better it will get.

  • by g_adams27 ( 581237 ) on Tuesday January 21, 2003 @05:44PM (#5129791)
    Could it possibly be that maybe the RIAA has over-extended themselves this time? Up till now, they've mostly gone after individuals and small, poor companies. And geeks on their own haven't had much success in getting DMCA-restricting laws passed. DMCA abuses have probably been largely under-the-radar for most congressmen, and for those who have noticed them, there's probably been plenty of RIAA lobbyists (and cash!) to convince them that these really aren't abuses.

    But now, with this one-two punch aimed at ISPs (see 16255&mode=thread&tid=141 [])they've started annoying the big boys - corporations with real money. No ISP in their right mind wants to have to give up their user's personal info without a fight - it makes them look bad and generates a lot of bad will with their customers.

    So might it be that Verizon, AT&T, BellSouth, Earthlink, etc. will start some counter-lobbying on the Hill to get the DMCA limited? Sure, they're not really doing it for the best reasons... but you know what they say about "the enemy of my enemy."

  • by c13v3rm0nk3y ( 189767 ) on Tuesday January 21, 2003 @05:44PM (#5129795) Homepage

    The Globe and Mail [] also has an article about this.

    Check out the scary "John Doe" clause.

  • by buss_error ( 142273 ) on Tuesday January 21, 2003 @05:48PM (#5129822) Homepage Journal
    it just wanted to avoid the costs of complying with the (many) subpoenas it will now receive.

    Great. It isn't enough that RIAA taxes blank media, now they are taxing ISP's by increasing the ISP's costs, and thus the price we pay for internet service.

    It's starting to look like RIAA is a world wide government. I wonder if if RIAA has nukes, and if Blix is going to inspect them.
    Oh wait. They do have a nuke. It's called DMCA.

  • by otterpop378 ( 254386 ) on Tuesday January 21, 2003 @05:52PM (#5129864)
    This is:
    1.An attempt, and order BY the government to uphold the will of a corporation, above and beyond that of the citizens. Therefore:
    2.A hostile act by the government against the citizens of this nation.

  • If... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dex22 ( 239643 ) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [resucitsalp]> on Tuesday January 21, 2003 @05:52PM (#5129868) Homepage
    If the RIAA doesn't know who the person is, how do they know the person unlawfully downloaded the music? That person may be legally entitled to possess copies of those 600 tracks as they may already own the CDs. For all they know, this person may be a record company employee!

    I certainly feel I am doing nothing wrong if I download tracks I already own on CD, and I certainly own right to play more than 600 tracks. More like 6000!
  • by lynx_user_abroad ( 323975 ) on Tuesday January 21, 2003 @05:54PM (#5129889) Homepage Journal
    Did Reuters get this wrong, or have I misread something?

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A federal judge ordered Verizon Communications Tuesday to turn over the name of a
    customer suspected of downloading songs over the Internet, handing a victory to recording companies in their fight against online piracy.

    According to what I read in the complaint, the DMCA authorizes a publisher to subpoena the identity of an alleged copyright infringer. "...RIAA believed a computer on Verizon's internet service was distributing to the public for download unauthorized copies of hundreds of copyrighted sound recordings..."

    Was the verizon subscriber targeted because he was downloading RIAA music files, or because he was publishing (offering for download) RIAA music files?

    Enquiring minds want to know? I expect a retraction (or a re-write) of the Reuters quote any time now. I suspect the RIAA FUD campaign is working too well, inadvertently causing some journalist with average integrity to because a part of their FUD engine. Can a publisher assert copyright infringment charges against a posessor (rather than a publisher) of an unauthorized copy of a copyrighted work?

  • Hmmm (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bogie ( 31020 ) on Tuesday January 21, 2003 @05:57PM (#5129920) Journal
    Wouldn't it be funny if all the file were fake? Ie they either used that Kazaa cheating program which makes it seem like you have more files then you do, or they just renamed some text files Brittney_Spear_mp3.

    Also true story. My girlfriend was at a wedding recently in Washington(I couldn't make it). On both sides of her were two lawyers. One worked for MS the other for the RIAA. She said they were lucky I wasn't there :-). Actually she said they were both very nice, and she mentioned to the RIAA guy about downloading music. The one thing he said besides explaining about some madeup revenue losses is that in the coming year aka now, the RIAA was going to go full tilt against private citizens who share their files on peer2peer programs. Now I know this is a big "no shit", but this was from someone in the thick of it and he said suits against individuals was going to become VERY common as opposed to suits against just the networks. So take it FWIW, but if your still sharing mp3's on Kazaa etc you may be in for more than you bargined for.
    • Re:Hmmm (Score:3, Insightful)

      by starseeker ( 141897 )
      This will be entertaining. First off, this is exactly what they should have done in the first place - gone after those who were actually downloading/distributing illegal material. Second, they are going to set a record for number of lawsuits brought by any entity other than the government. Where they will fund it I don't know.

      One thing it might do, if it succeeds, is limit online distribution of music to truly independant music. Then we might see them lose their grip on the music industry, because people start listening to the indie bands which will be all they can legally download. I actually hope they do succeed, now that I think about it. The internet music community is now a force in its own right, and it may be ready to have its tie strings cut. More power to the RIAA - they may be doing something which will benefit both the indie bands and hurt their bottom line. Let's get a real independant music site established - maybe some music oriented university could set it up. Strictly regulate it, get signed permission from any singers who upload songs, make them free download (in ogg format, of course) and stand back.
  • by Illserve ( 56215 ) on Tuesday January 21, 2003 @05:59PM (#5129942)
    Some sort of accountability must exist on the internet, just as it does in other forms of communication (phone, broadcast). If someone were making prank calls to a corporation from a phone, it's perfectly reasonable that said company be able to take action against them. The same would hold true if a person were broadcasting a pirate radio station. Noone would shed a tear if the FCC tracked them down at the request of the legitimate companies. We must compromise certain things to live in a civilized society.

    We always talk about how the RIAA shouldn't be sueing providers, but sueing the pirates themselves.

    Well now they're doing it. Let's not get our panties knotted when the RIAA actually follows the correct legal/moral path in their struggle to survive.

    Besides, I sure as hell don't recall reading any privacy guarantees in my cable modem contract.
  • by mestes1999 ( 460450 ) on Tuesday January 21, 2003 @06:02PM (#5129954)
    In recent weeks I have had KaZaa open 24/7 for sharing. Not 600 files, I share over 3000 files, simply to thumb my nose at these zealots.

    With this said, let us take into consideration a suit by the RIAA against me, given that they get my name and information. A cease and desist letter? Sure, I'd probably cease, but what if I continued to share?

    I'm a senior in college. I own a crappy car, rent an apartment, and have quite low income. So what then? What will they get if they sue me? Nearly nothing. They can have my student loan, my car, and my apt. Kick me off my ISP, I'll find another.

    The RIAA seems to not understand that civil lawsuits mean nothing to those who have nothing. This means most college students. This means most of the file sharers.

    Do you think I'd be downloading all the free music I want if I could afford it? (Yes, probably, but I'm just making a point)
    • by base3 ( 539820 ) on Tuesday January 21, 2003 @07:24PM (#5130683)
      You forgot that the DMCA and the NET Act both provide criminal penalties for copyright violation--that means federal pound-me-in-the-ass prison. So you may want to reconsider the "so sue me" approach that was appropriate back before the "content" "industry" bought laws making copyright infringement criminal.
  • on subponeas (Score:3, Interesting)

    by frovingslosh ( 582462 ) on Tuesday January 21, 2003 @06:10PM (#5130030)
    Verizon wasn't making any sort of principled stand to protect its users' privacy, it just wanted to avoid the costs of complying with the (many) subpoenas it will now receive.

    One should really be asking, why in hell would Verizon even have captured that information in the first place? If they didn't have the information, they couldn't be forced to turn it over.

    As to the subpoena, how can they get a subpoena to gain information about a customer who may have done nothing wrong? I hold in my hand a box of CDR marked "CD-R DA", "Digital Audio", "for Music Use". I've paid an extra tax that goes right to the music industry because they expect me to use these CDRs to record copyrighted audio onto them. How can I be doing anything that merits a subpoena and invades my privacy if they have already accepted my money based on the expectation I will record music on these CDRs?

    I hope his isn't the only wave of Subpoenas that Verizon is dreading. I sure want to see the subpoenas flooding in when people want to know why the hell Verizon snooped on their Internet use and logged this.

  • by geekee ( 591277 ) on Tuesday January 21, 2003 @06:39PM (#5130324)
    From reading a similar article on CNET, I think CNN is mistaken in saying the person DOWNLOADED 600 songs in one day. I think it's more likely he UPLOADED 600 songs to various other people in one day, which is why the RIAA is interested in him.
  • by dcavanaugh ( 248349 ) on Tuesday January 21, 2003 @08:19PM (#5131078) Homepage
    Perhaps Verizon could copyright the DHCP logs, add some lame encryption (CSS?) and then offer each log file as a "product". The price, of course, would be rather steep ($1,000,000 each). Such a copyrighted work would naturally be protected by DMCA, right?

    Of course, RIAA wants just one line, but they would have to buy the entire overpriced "album". If Verizon is forced to hand over their digital "log file product" because of a DMCA subpeona, then they make up a stupid song and then subpeona the entire RIAA catalog, so they can search for "infringing" uses of their song lyrics.

1 Angstrom: measure of computer anxiety = 1000 nail-bytes