Charter Wants Verizon Treatment

from the hey,-no-fair! dept

Seeing the recent Verizon/RIAA subpoena decision the folks at cable provider Charter Communications have responded with a "what the hell?" since they just got a completely different ruling and were forced to hand over the names of 200 subscribers. So now, in light of the newer Appeals Court decision, the folks at Charter are going back to court and asking to have their decision overturned and asking the RIAA to give back the information on their 200 customers. Of course, I'm no lawyer, but I'm pretty sure the Verizon ruling is in a completely different circuit, so the Verizon ruling isn't actually a precedent. Still, it could make a court reconsider. Either way, it sounds like these sorts of cases may take a while to settle.

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  • identicon
    deekayen, 25 Dec 2003 @ 12:24am

    IANAL

    AFAIK, any legal ruling, regardless of circuit is a precident. That includes *opinions* written by respected lawyers like in Janet Reno's office. The loophole with precidents is exactly as you suggested... they don't have to be followed, it's just a custom. No case is exactly the same and a judge can say a precident from another case somehow differs enough from what they're hearing to ignore the previous ruling. If precidents were always followed, Verizon wouldn't have immunity as the appeals court said.

    Some of the formal legal training I have does give me enough background to know that Congress passed a law that says ISPs are not different than a traditional mail carrier. You can't make your local mail guy go to court for delivering a CD with pirated software on it and Congress and Federal court said that should apply to ISPs too in 47 U.S.C. Section 230(c)(1) and Zeran v. America Online, Inc 129 F.3d 327 (4th Cir. 1997) respectively.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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