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PROCEDURAL RULING HALTS A FEW RIAA SUBPOENAS
Judge Says D.C.-Issued Subpoenas Can’t Be Served In Massachusetts
Law tips are the hottest thing being swapped on KaZaA, as three Boston College students and a M.I.T. students, suspected by the RIAA of online piracy, got a reprieve from RIAA efforts to uncover their identities.

U.S. District Judge Joseph L. Tauro said on Friday that federal rules declare subpoenas issued in Washington D.C. cannot be served in Massachusetts.

The ruling, which the RIAA dubbed a “minor procedural issue,” means more paperwork for its laywers, and according to the group “does not change an undeniable fact—when individuals distribute music illegally online, they are not anonymous and service providers must reveal who they are.”

The subpoenas were among the more than 1,000 filed by the RIAA demanding that internet service providers disclose the names of those sharing large amounts of music online. A few universities and ISPs have challenged the subpoenas, and Senator Norm Coleman (R-MN), chairman of the Senate’s permanent subcommittee on investigations has raised concerns about the process and has launched an inquiry into them.

Last week, Columbia University lawyers in New York filed a similar motion to squash subpoenas it received. Lawyers for Boston University contend that no legal action on their part was necessary. They sent a letter to the RIAA informing the group that its subpoena was issued by the wrong court, though they have also made public comments that they are sympathetic to the recording industry’s plight.

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