RIAA Wins Over ISPs

Judge Denny Chin of Manhattan has ruled that Cablevision and other ISPs must hand over details of file swappers to the RIAA to assist in their pursuit through the courts.

This contradicts a previous decision by the Washington DC appeals court, and only applies in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. Specifically, it states that Cablevision has to provide personal details of a subscriber even before the RIAA has decided to sue him or her. The decision has surprised many in the industry.

It was the previous Washington decision that forced RIAA to prosecute downloaders as John Does, with decidedly mixed results – the RIAA only found out targets’ identities when it got to court.

It is staggering that a commercial body now has the power to extract personal information about members of the public from another company. Although the recent ruling does contain a provision that the RIAA must have a firm case against a user before demanding personal information – though of course, “a firm case” is always open to interpretation.



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Fraser Lovatt

Fraser Lovatt has spent the last fifteen years working in publishing, TV and the Internet in various capacities, and believes that they will be seperate platforms for at least a while yet. His main interests at the moment are exploring where Linux is taking home entertainment and how technology is conferring technical skills on more and more people. Fraser Lovatt was born in the same year that 2001: A Space Odyssey was delighting and confusing people in the cinemas, and developed a lifelong love of technology as soon as he realised that things could be taken apart, sometimes put back together again, but mostly left in bits or made into something the original designer hadn't quite planned upon. At school he was definitely in the ZX Spectrum/Magpie/BMX camp, rather than the BBC Micro/Blue Peter/well-behaved group. This is all deeply ironic as he later went on to spend nine years working at the BBC. After a few years of working as a bookseller in Scotland, ("Back when it was actually a skilled profession" he'll tell anyone still listening), he moved to England for reasons he can't quite explain adequately to himself. After a couple of publishing jobs punctuated by sporadic bursts of travelling and photography came the aforementioned nine years at the BBC where he specialised in internet technologies and video. These days his primary interests are Java, Linux, videogames and pies - and if they're not candidates for convergence, then what is?