Saint Louis, Missouri - The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and 21 other consumer and privacy groups today sided with Charter Communications, Inc., in its struggle to protect customer privacy.

The groups urged a federal court to prevent the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) from forcing Internet Service Provider Charter Communications to identify customers the RIAA has accused of offering infringing music on a peer-to-peer system. In December 2003, a federal appeals court in Washington, DC, ruled that the RIAA could not use special, non-judicial subpoenas under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) demanding that Verizon identify unnamed alleged filesharers.

"The RIAA wants to use the Charter case to erase the D.C. court's Verizon decision and set back Internet users' privacy," said EFF Legal Director Cindy Cohn. "The courts should require careful judicial consideration of facts supporting any accusations and hear the other side of the story before violating the privacy of any Internet user."

EFF, along with 21 other groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union, Consumer Federation of America, and the Computer & Communications Industry Association, filed a "friend of the court" brief urging that the same strong protections that apply for anonymous speech in other contexts also apply for claims of copyright infringement.

"Our privacy and free speech rights should not be collateral damage in the RIAA's war against the digital music revolution," added Cohn.

The groups that have signed on to the consumer privacy amicus brief are, in alphabetical order:

* Alliance for Public Technology
* American Association of Law Libraries
* American Civil Liberties Union
* American Civil Liberties Union of Eastern Missouri
* American Legislative Exchange Council
* American Library Association
* Association of Research Libraries
* CSE Freedom Works Foundation
* Computer & Communications Industry Association
* Consumer Action
* Consumer Federation of America
* Digital Future Coalition
* Electronic Frontier Foundation
* Electronic Frontiers Georgia
* National Coalition Against Domestic Violence
* Pacific Research Institute
* Public Knowledge
* PrivacyActivism
* Privacy Rights Clearinghouse
* US Internet Industry Association
* Utility Consumers Action Network

RIAA v. Charter Communications was filed in St. Louis, Missouri, federal district court. EFF is supporting Charter's appeal to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals.

* EFF and other groups' amicus brief in RIAA v. Charter
* More information on RIAA v Charter


Cindy Cohn
Legal Director
Electronic Frontier Foundation

Wendy Seltzer
Staff Attorney
Electronic Frontier Foundation
About EFF:

The Electronic Frontier Foundation is the leading civil liberties organization working to protect rights in the digital world. Founded in 1990, EFF actively encourages and challenges industry and government to support free expression and privacy online. EFF is a member-supported organization and maintains one of the most linked-to websites in the world at