US court quashes subpoenas to produce personal details of file sharers

February 2005

Record Labels

Just as Justice Konrad von Finckenstein turned down a Canadian Recording Industry Association (CRIA) request that would have forced five Canadian ISPs to hand over the names of 29 people the CRIA alleged were distributing hundreds if not thousands of music copyright files to millions of others, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) have failed in an effort to force ISP Charter Communications Inc. to turn over the names and addresses of Internet subscribers suspected of illegally sharing copyrighted music after a U.S. appeals court ruled against them. “A three-judge panel of the U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis quashed subpoenas issued in 2003 by a federal judge. The appeals court said the Digital Millennium Copyright Act doesn’t allow the RIAA to subpoena Charter for user information because the files at issue aren’t stored in the company’s computers. U.S. Circuit Judge Diana Murphy issued a dissenting opinion in which she said the other two judges defined the copyright act too narrowly: She argues that ‘to interpret the statute in the way Charter urges, and the court adopts, is to block copyright holders from obtaining effective protection against infringement through conduit service providers’.


Law Updates September 2004: Ninth Circuit rule Grokster & Morpheus not liable for infringement
Law Updates May 2004: Federal Court of Canada dismisses the CRIA’s motion for disclosure [subject to appeal]
Law Updates February 2004: Netherlands Supreme Court judgment in Kazaa v BUMA & STEMRA
Law Updates February 2004: RIAA lose valuable tool in fight against piracy as Verizon win appeal

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