Pac Bell Sues Over Online Music Tracking

from the good-for-them dept

Pac Bell (who I had thought was SBC now, but apparently, they still occasionally go by Pac Bell) is suing the music industry, questioning the methods they’re using in trying to track down file sharers. Specifically, they’re saying that the subpoenas were filed incorrectly. They were filed from the wrong jurisdiction and were requesting info on multiple users on a single subpoena – something Pac Bell says is too broad and not allowed under the law. Furthermore, they make the claim that, as a service provider, they really have nothing to do with people sharing music. Interestingly, they ask to make this a jury trial, suggesting they believe that a jury will rule against the music industry for their heavy handedness. This sounds like they’re basically making the same complaints that a few universities made in refusing to give up names. However, instead of just withholding names, they’re actually suing back.

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Comments on “Pac Bell Sues Over Online Music Tracking”

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munich says:


Someone with deep pockets fights back. Not that SBC/Pac Bell cares about the consumer (I have SBC and am not a huge fan of them), but I think SBC is fighting this action to prevent a precedent where SBC ends up with whole teams of people serving subpoenas from the music, movie, etc. industries.

Or, if we want to be really jaded, we could say that we know that SBC, which sells DSL at a pretty hefty mark-up, knows that music downloading has been one of the “killer aps” for people upgrading from 56K modems (along with porn, ofcourse). By making music swapping easier, demand for broadband increases and SBC benefits.

I vote on the first analysis (cost savings) over the second (increasing revenue). Either case, I would try to follow the money.

LittleW0lf says:

Re: No Subject Given

Pretty much the only reason people get broadband is to download large amounts of data on P2P.

Maybe in your small, insignificant world, but I have broadband and the only reason I have it is to quell the intense pain I get when loading Techdirt via 56k modem takes 20 minutes. Speed for Nerds. That is why Cox gets my $30 a month, so I can get a quick hit of speed after a long day in an office with 100mBps (or more) thoroughput to the internet.

KevinK says:

Munich gets it...

SBC does not do anything unless it makes Ed Whitacre a wealthier man… For example SBC has decided to cut costs by eliminating bottled water for employees, they force managers to work 12+ hour days and they are required to work holidays, I mean really it is a wonderful company. Oh and if a customer moves locations they immediately send your account to collections because they have found that some companies do not pay their bills promptly during a relocation- they don’t wait until the bill is due they automatically assume everyone is out to screw them, the list is never ending. And please when do we get competition on DSL rates???

Munich says:

Re: Munich gets it...

Thanks Kevin. My favorite comment you have is “when will we get competition on DSL rates”. I pay something like $65/month for SBC DSL and have my friends with cable modems laughing at me (I have satellite and don’t want to hook up cable to my home just for internet).

In the original issue of the RIAA practices, perhaps the political backlash has started:

Coleman launches inquiry into RIAA’s piracy crackdown
Associated Press

WASHINGTON – Sen. Norm Coleman on Thursday began an inquiry into the recording industry’s copyright lawsuits against online music swappers, saying the tactics could ensnare innocent people.

jeff says:

Re: Re: Re: Munich gets it...

Excuse me, but the last time i checked the phone bill was absolutely the cheapest bill I pay. The increase in basic telephone service has been so minimal over the years that u can still get basic phone service in most areas for 18.00 bucks. Hell i can barely get my car washed for 18.00 bucks anymore. And this big mark up in DSL where does that come from ,well that comes from someone who thinks dsl is just basically a modem over an exissing phone line. Well quiet the contrary ,the phone company has spent 10’s of billions for DSL. Dslams to serve every 100 people cost $100,00.00 Also when dsl first came out the modems bell gave to their customers cost bell 500.00 a piece. DSL has not been a money maker for anyone. iT will probably be another 10 years before they see any profits.

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