January 3, 2005
../ RIAA Loses Second P2P Identity Appeal
The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) lost its second appeal in
the US Circuit Court of Appeals for the Eighth District in St. Louis. The 2-1 ruling affirmed another appeals court decision that
the music industry cannot force Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to identify their
users who are suspected of downloading copyrighted music over the Internet.
The ruling is another blow to the RIAA who has been struggling to stay above legal
water in their fight against illegal downloading and Peer-To-Peer
(P2P) network piracy. The court cited a Missouri case involving Charter Communications as the determining factor for their decision. In that case, it
was concluded that the ISP was not immediately responsible for the actions of about one hundred of their customers, and should not have been required
to identify them under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).
The setback comes on the heels of the RIAA suing 754 individuals in December for
alleged copyright infringement. The "John Doe" litigations were filed
in federal district courts across the country, including: Pennsylvania, Virginia, Georgia, Missouri, New York, Connecticut, Illinois, and the District
of Columbia. A good number of the lawsuits was brought against users of university computer networks
including twenty individual file sharers at Columbia University, Old Dominion University, the State University of West Georgia, the University of Pennsylvania,
Westchester University and Widener University.
The Future: This decision will not impede the RIAA from suing individuals, but forces it to continue its labor-intensive, time consuming and more
expensive method of working each case through the civil courts to acquire the identities of alleged copyright infringers. However, as the RIAA loses more
and more cases that reinforce the principle that networks cannot be held responsible for the content that moves through their "pipes," the ISPs and P2P
networks gain valuable precedent in their favor for future cases.
>>> Digihear? January 2005
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