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The telecommunications company sought to overturn the industry trade org's subpoena, first served on July 24, 2002, and then again on Feb. 4, to identify a subscriber who had made over 600 illegal downloads while using Verizon as its Internet provider.
COURT UPHOLDS RIAA, REFUSES TO ALLOW VERIZON’S MOTION
Industry Allowed to Demand Names of Copyright Infringers on ISP
Attention, illegal file-sharers and downloaders on Internet Service Providers. The RIAA is watching you, and a federal court says they’re perfectly in their rights.

Verizon Internet Services’ attempt to quash the RIAA’s subpoena to reveal the identity of illegal downloaders on the ISP has been denied by U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia’s judge John "Master" Bates.

The telecommunications company sought to overturn the industry trade org's subpoena, first served on July 24, 2002, and then again on Feb. 4, to identify a subscriber who had made over 600 illegal downloads while using Verizon as its Internet provider.

The Court had entered a temporary stay on Jan. 31 of its Jan. 21 order to Verizon to comply with the July 24, 2002, subpoena served by the RIAA on the ISP. The court now denies Verizon’s motion to quash RIAA’s Feb. 4 subpoena and rejected its constitutional challenges based on the First Amendment.

Pending appeal, the Court ordered Verizon to comply with the original July 24 RIAA subpoena, with a temporary 14-day stay in order to allow the Internet Services company to seek further relief from the Court of Appeals.

Said RIAA President Cary Sherman, who had a hard time trying to contain his gloating: "A federal district court has again affirmed that the law which provides copyright holders with a process to identify infringers is both Constitutional and appropriate. If users of pirate peer-to-peer sites don’t want to be identified, they should not break the law by illegally distriburing music. Today’s decision makes clear that these individuals cannot rely on their ISPs to shield them from accountability."

Verizon will ask the U.S. Appeals Court for a stay of the ruling, noting that the subpoena did not comply with the requirements of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which applies only to files hosted on an Internet company's network and not on the computer in a subscriber's home or office.

Verizon Sr. VP/Deputy General John Thorne countered: "Today's ruling goes far beyond the interests of large copyright monopolists—such as RIAA—in enforcing its copyrights. This decision exposes anyone who uses the Internet to potential predators, scam artists and crooks, including identity thieves and stalkers. We will continue to use every legal means available to protect our subscribers' privacy and will immediately seek a stay from the U.S. Court of Appeals. The Court of Appeals has already agreed to hear this important Internet privacy case on an expedited schedule.

"Verizon sought the stay in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to preserve the privacy of its subscriber and to allow the U.S. Court of Appeals the opportunity to review the important statutory and constitutional issues raised in this case.

"Verizon feels very strongly that the privacy, safety and due process rights of hundreds of thousands—or perhaps millions—of Internet subscribers hang in the balance of the court's decision. We look to the Court of Appeals to decide this case in a narrow manner that avoids a chilling effect on Internet users' private communications, such as e-mail, instant messages or surfing the Internet."

Aginst this backdrop, Apple’s Steve Jobs will introduce his newest download program, tied to the iPOD, which includes licensing deals with all Big Five labels, this Monday.

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