While Verizon failed in its original bid to protect the privacy of one of their users from random RIAA subpoenas not backed up by a lawsuit, the case is still going on. In fact, Verizon has expanded the case. While, originally, they argued that they were exempt from the DMCA subpoenas since they weren't storying anything on their own servers - but that the file sharing was being done on individuals' home computers. Now, however, they're challenging the very constitutionality of the DMCA subpoena power, which makes it possible for anyone to send a subpoena just by filling out a form and claiming that a copyright violation has occurred. There's simply no oversight, and Verizon says they wonder how this can be constitutional. While (obviously), Verizon is doing this out of self-interest (not to be bombarded with subpoenas - and possibly because they know that file sharing is a prime motivator for getting folks to sign up for DSL), the claims do make sense. Already there have been stories of porn sites using the subpoena power to hit up ISPs to get records on everyone who visits their site. Of course, we have a long way to go before a final decision. The latest set of arguments will go before the Court of Appeals, meaning we still have to wait a while before it is (inevitably) appealed again to the Supreme Court. It may be years before a decision is reached. In the meantime, all we can hope for is that some politicians come to their sense and pre-emptively change the law. Update: Meanwhile, the NY Times is reporting that SBC remains the lone holdout refusing to cough up names to the RIAA, claiming that they feel obligated to protect their subscribers' privacy. The RIAA says the case is all about how SBC profits from file sharing - but I'm not sure why that would matter. After all, one assumes the RIAA is filing these lawsuits in the first place because they're hoping (wishfully, it seems) to profit as well.
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