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US Appeals Court: RIAA's Tactic "Borders Upon The Silly"

US Appeals Court: RIAA's Tactic "Borders Upon The Silly"

by , 12:00 PM EST, January 7th, 2004

Twelve-year-old girls and elderly technophobes may find it easier to make it through life without being subpoenaed by the RIAA thanks to a United States appeals court ruling. According to an article at, the ruling forbids the Recording Industry Association of America from pressuring ISPs such as Verizon to give up information on suspected music downloaders, overturning an earlier ruling. The court even went so far as to call the RIAA's tactics "border[ing] upon the silly." What we really found interesting about the article, however, was the magazine's look at broader issues beyond the ruling. From Rolling Stone:

Just before the holidays, a United States appeals court ruled against the recording industry, which had been trying to wrest the names of suspected pirates from Internet Service Providers. The court said that the industry's strong-arm tactic "borders upon the silly." No joke.

This in important step to preserving privacy amid the hysteria over piracy. The ruckus started when the Recording Industry Association of America attempted to force Verizon, one of the country's largest Internet Service Providers, to turn over the names of subscribers suspected of swapping pirated tunes. The new ruling reverses an earlier decision that allowed the RIAA to subpoena companies such as Verizon to get user names. As a result, the recording industry will now need to go through the courts to identify suspects. Someone can still get sued for swapping one too many Missy Elliott songs, but it's going to make the RIAA's job all the more difficult.

The latest ruling came on the heels of a similar verdict in Europe, where the Dutch supreme court ruled that Kazaa, the popular file-sharing service, should not be liable for the actions of its users.

Hopefully, these determinations will set the tone for a smarter, hipper 2004.

The article goes on to hope that the ruling will somehow force the recording industry to accept and embrace the digital music revolution, thanks in part to legitimate music download services, such as the iTunes Music Store.

You can read the full article at Rolling Stone's Web site.

The Mac Observer Spin:

The motion picture industry rallied against the VCR when it was released, fearing that it would kill the industry, but the VCR later went on to become a huge profit source for the industry. As has been shown by the iTMS, legitimate digital music downloads are set to do the same thing. Unfortunately, the music industry seems to be the only one to not "get" this. The sooner they "get" it, the sooner they can get in on the action. It's up to them.

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