December 2nd, 2003, 22:45 PM
RIAA Case Moved to DC
By now, most of us are familiar with the RIAA's subpoena campaign that commenced on June 26, 2003. The RIAA began scanning hard drives across the nation, and in July subpoenaed ISP's under the DMCA. When the RIAA collected enough evidence against a particular individual, they would use their wide subpoena power to extract personal information of alleged music "pirates."
At that point, most ISP's folded under the immense pressure. There were a few holdouts, SBC Communications (AKA Pacific Bell Internet Services) and Verizon. Verizon attempted to hide the identity of certain Kazaa users, however was ultimately forced by a Washington DC court to hand the names over (pending appeal.)
Like Verizon, SBC Communications is choosing to fight the RIAA rather than hand over the names of their customers. In addition, SBC cites that the subpoenas were issued improperly.
Feeling there were enough similarities in the two cases, San Francisco Federal Judge Susan Illston agreed to the RIAA's request and moved the case to Washington DC.Unfortunately for SBC Communication, a Washington judge has already ruled against Verizon. Although the ruling has been appealed, an unfavorable precedent may have already been set.
Moving SBC Communications' case to Washington is certainly a blow to the ISP's plight to keep its customers identities confidential, however the ISP remains secure."This ruling is procedural in nature and does not address the substantive issues we are raising about the recording industry’s continued misapplication of DMCA subpoena power," the company said in a statement. "SBC companies will continue to stand firm and continue our legal action in order to protect the privacy rights of our customers."