The New York Times reports that the US Court of Appeals has held that copyright owners cannot force internet service providers to disclose information about downloaders without a court order approved by a judge. A previous district court decision had allowed owners to compel the disclosure of downloaders’ information after presenting a subpoena submitting to a court clerk without the need for a judge's approval. RIAA has condemned the decision, saying that it will no longer be able to warn people that it is considering bringing action against in advance, giving them the opportunity to settle. Instead, it claims that it will have to bring John Doe cases against anonymous downloaders and only actually make personal contact once court proceedings are under way and their identities are unmasked.

The IPKat welcomes the decision. He things that downloading copyright-protected music isn’t a good (or legal) idea, but that this doesn’t justify the suspension of due process of law in tracing downloaders.

Full text of the decision (via the Trademark Blog) here
John Does isn’t as anonymous as he’d like – meet him here, here, here and here

US DECISION TAKES A (DOWN)LOAD OFF ISPS' MINDS US DECISION TAKES A (DOWN)LOAD OFF ISPS' MINDS Reviewed by Anonymous on Tuesday, December 23, 2003 Rating: 5

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