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Federal Court Spurns Recording Industry Enforcement Tactics

August 8, 2003

Federal Court Spurns Recording Industry Enforcement Tactics

Rejects Music Sharing Subpoenas Sent to MIT, Boston College

Boston, MA - A Massachusetts district court today dealt the
Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) a serious
setback by rejecting its Washington, D.C., subpoenas for
the identities of Massachusetts students. For the moment,
MIT and Boston College need not respond to the RIAA demands.

"Today's ruling requires the recording industry to file
subpoenas where it alleges that copyright infringement
occurs, rather than blanketing the country from one court in
D.C.," said Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) Staff
Attorney Wendy Seltzer. "The court ruling confirms that due
process applies to Internet user privacy nationwide."

Massachusetts District Judge Joseph Tauro granted requests
from MIT and Boston College to reject RIAA subpoenas
demanding identities of students the RIAA claims are
violating copyright. The subpoenas are part of a
nationwide effort by the RIAA to identify and crack down on
alleged copyright violators using peer-to-peer (P2P)
software to share music on the Internet.

"We urge other colleges and Internet service providers to
take similar steps to protect their users' privacy," said
EFF Legal Director Cindy Cohn. "ISPs should notify users
whose information is sought, and fight against improper
subpoenas."

Pacific Bell Internet Services has filed suit in California
complaining of the threat to subscribers' privacy and the
burden on Internet service providers. The RIAA has
reportedly filed more than 2,000 subpoenas through the D.C.
court and has announced plans to sue file-sharers later this
month.

EFF offers an online database users can check to see whether
their identities have been subpoenaed by the RIAA. EFF
urges concerned citizens to learn more about ways to make
filesharing legal while getting artists paid as part of the
Let the Music Play Campaign.

Links:

Contact:

Wendy Seltzer

  Staff Attorney
  Electronic Frontier Foundation
  wendy@eff.org
  +1 415 436-9333 x125 (office)

Cindy Cohn
  Legal Director
  Electronic Frontier Foundation
  cindy@eff.org

  +1 415 436-9333 x108 (office)

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