Riaa V. Verizon, Metro Goldwyn Mayer Studios

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Category: Music and Cinema

Date Submitted: 03/30/2015 08:25 PM

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Group 4

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RIAA v. Verizon Internet Services U.S., 351 (2003)

In the summer of 2002, the Recording Industry of America (RIAA) requested that Verizon Online reveal the identities of four subscribers who were accused of harboring copyrighted music material on their personal computers. Verizon refused to reveal this material, and the RIAA sent the ISP a subpoena pursuant to 17 U.S.C. ß 512 (h) of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA), which allows a copyright owner or a person on the owner's behalf to ask a district court clerk "to issue a subpoena to a service provider for identification of an alleged [copyright] infringer." Verizon did not comply with the request because the alleged copyright materials were not on Verizon's computer servers, but rather on the user's personal computers, which the company argued was an invalid use of the subpoena. The RIAA sued Verizon on July 24, 2002, due to its refusal to comply with the subpoena, and on January 21, 2003, the district court ruled for RIAA, finding that the process used by the RIAA was correct. Verizon appealed the decision, arguing that allowing an ISP to reveal the identity of a subscriber upon a mere allegation of copyright infringement violates the subscriber's privacy rights and is likely unconstitutional because of the lack of due process. Verizon's request for a stay of the lower court's order. Was denied on June 4, 2003 by the appeals court. According to the court, Verizon "has not shown so great a likelihood of success on the merits as to outweigh the clearly greater harm that would accrue to the [RIAA] if the stay were granted." Verizon turned over the names of the four subscribers to the RIAA on June 5, 2003, but will continue arguing the merits of the case in the pending appeal. Oral argument in the case took place in...