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Court Allows Unmasking of P2P Downloaders 244

bricko writes "A federal appeals court says copyright-infringing downloaders can now be outed. If you use or have used P2P, this may interest you. From Wired: 'The RIAA detected what it claimed to be infringing activity on an IP address the university linked to the student. The unidentified student moved to quash a federal judge’s order that the university forward the student’s identity to the RIAA. The student asserted a First Amendment right of privacy on the Internet, in addition to a fair-use right to the six music tracks in question. The appeals court ruled in the RIAA’s favor (PDF) after balancing a constitutional right to remain anonymous against a copyright owner’s right to disclosure of the identity of a possible “trespasser of its intellectual property interest."'"
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Court Allows Unmasking of P2P Downloaders

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  • Title is nonsense (Score:4, Informative)

    by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Saturday May 01, 2010 @09:11AM (#32055540) Homepage Journal

    A better title would be "court upholds right to serve warrant".

  • by gclef ( 96311 ) on Saturday May 01, 2010 @09:30AM (#32055648)

    Anonymity and political speech have been connected for quite a bit of the US' history, starting even from before independence: many of the messages pushing for independence from the UK were sent around as anonymous pamphlets. So, while it may not be explicitly mentioned the inferred right to privacy and the tradition on anonymous free speech does exist. Whether either of these are applicable to a college kid sharing music is a whole other story, though.

  • Re:Title is nonsense (Score:5, Informative)

    by SJ2000 ( 1128057 ) on Saturday May 01, 2010 @09:30AM (#32055652) Homepage
    It's civil law, you don't have to prove it "beyond a reasonable doubt".
  • Once again, people (Score:1, Informative)

    by DaveV1.0 ( 203135 ) on Saturday May 01, 2010 @09:45AM (#32055716) Journal

    One does not have an absolute constitutional right to privacy or anonymity, especially when interacting with in public space, such as on the internet. You might not want your identity made available, but all it takes is a subpoena to get it. Seeing as the RIAA is suing those they believe are violating their copyrights, they have a valid reason to request the subpoena, namely to properly name the defendant. "I don't want them to sue me because I don't think I did anything wrong" is not a valid reason to quash a subpoena because no one wants to be sued and the suit in question is about whether one did something wrong. The fact that it involves the Internet doesn't matter either. If plaintiff had your University parking pass number, do you think the court would refuse to allow a subpoena to get your name from the University?

    Giving away or selling unauthorized copies of a work, be they physical or electronic, is not fair use. It really is as simple as that. Just because it is effectively free to make and give those copies away doesn't make doing it fair use. Just because you made no money making and giving the copies away don't make it fair use. Just because you are a poor college student using a university network, doesn't make it fair use. Whether or not making the copies is fair use is for the court to decide, not the respondent.

    He may as well have said, literally, "I don't want them to have my name because I don't want to be sued and I don't think I did anything wrong."

    Every time one uses either or both of these arguments, you look like a selfish, childish asshole.

  • by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Saturday May 01, 2010 @09:47AM (#32055732) Homepage

    This is what the supreme court said in 1995:

    Protections for anonymous speech are vital to democratic discourse. Allowing dissenters to shield their identities frees them to express critical, minority views . . . Anonymity is a shield from the tyranny of the majority. . . . It thus exemplifies the purpose behind the Bill of Rights, and of the First Amendment in particular: to protect unpopular individuals from retaliation . . . at the hand of an intolerant society.

    That's not to say that everyone doing anything bad is protected by anonymity. But it should put strong bonds on whether the government can force a company (your ISP) to disclose your personal information to a third party. For example imagine that someone anonymous is coming with scolding political criticism and you file a slander case against them, not with any intent of winning only with the intent of exposing that person. But no, the word "anonymity" is not in the constitution so the question is very much real and on topic. Shame on the moderators.

  • Re:Title is nonsense (Score:4, Informative)

    by Gordonjcp ( 186804 ) on Saturday May 01, 2010 @09:50AM (#32055744) Homepage

    The BT Homehub doesn't ship with a default wifi password, or open wifi. Out of the box the first thing you must do before it will even pass wired traffic is change the admin password. It doesn't require you to change the SSID or default WPA key, which is a biggish string of alphanumerics generated by some pseudorandom process. The SSID and WPA card are supplied on a plastic card inside the box, and don't appear to be (trivially) derived from the MAC address or serial number.

  • by TubeSteak ( 669689 ) on Saturday May 01, 2010 @11:28AM (#32056306) Journal

    Now, please post the article and section of the Constitution of the United States where it says that you have an absolute right to privacy and anonymity.

    It's because of people like you that many writers of the Constitution did not want to include the Bill of Rights.

    The Constitution is not an exhaustive or complete list of your rights.
    It is only a list of rights the government has.

    As a concession to those who did not want the Bill of Rights,
    the 9th and 10th Amendments were tacked on to the end.
    You should really go back and read them [usconstitution.net].

    A more appropriate challenge would be:
    "please post the article and section of the Constitution of the United States where it says that you do not have an absolute right to privacy and anonymity"

Today is a good day for information-gathering. Read someone else's mail file.