life, the universe, and everything
a loss, but hope
Posted: 2003-06-06 01:46
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Author: Phil Gengler
Section: Stuff

Two main things to talk about here. Firstly, after months of court battles, Verizon lost it's appeal to prevent having to release the name of subscribers subpoenaed by the RIAA. The initial request had come in January, and Verizon appealed at the time. In the various courts since, Verizon has been handed nothing but defeats, with the exception of injunctions that prevented then from having to reveal the names, pending appeals to higher courts. This makes sense, since if Verizon had to release the names, then it would be a serious blow to any case they tried to use on an appeal, since the point would be moot. But the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit denied Verizon's request for an injunction; as a result, Verizon now has to turn over the names to the RIAA. Despite this, Verizon plans to continue the appeals process, even if the names are revealed. The case will be heard by the court sometime in September, and could have a serious impact for either side. If the court upholds the subpoenas, then the RIAA will likely ramp up it's requests for the names of users who are suspected (with no need to show any evidence, mind you) of copyright infringement. If the court were to rule in Verizon's favor, it would be a major victory for the legal process, not to mention ISPs and their users.

The written decision of the court is not yet available, but when it is, I'll add it to the files section.

The second major thing is very closely related to the Verizon case. Senator Sam Brownback of Kansas is working on legislation that would fix some of the problems the DMCA has created. The bill would require the approval of a judge before a copyright holder could subpoena the name of an Internet subscriber, require plain notification of the use of anti-copy technologies, and ensure that people would be able to resell copy-protected material. The FTC would be given the authority to ban the use of any DRM technology that is determined to limit a consumer's ability to resell a copy-protected product, and would require the FTC to create a standard identification for DRM-protected works, if the industry does not independently create a reasonable system of their own.

Following up on Lessig & Eldred's petition to reclaim the public domain (I mentioned this last time), the petition now has (as of this writing) 9400 signatures. I encourage everyone who has any support for the cause of restoring a balance in copyright term to sign the petition, and pass word of it along to anyone who might remotely be interest.

Lastly, I've added a couple of things to the files section, like an MP3 recording of the oral arguments in the Aimster case. I also added a couple of sections, and moved some files around, so that the files section isn't a large, unwieldy list.


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