Dec 19, 2003

CNN reports that a US Appeals Court has ruled that the RIAA is not authorized to force Verizon and other service providers to disclose the names of individuals it suspects of illegally downloading music. This decision overturns a District Court ruling that did allow the RIAA to file 382 civil lawsuits.

USA Today reports, "The ruling does not make it legal to distribute music over the Internet, but it removes one of the most effective tools used by the recording industry to track such activity and sue downloaders."

As I've said before, I support the notion that artists should be paid for their creative labor, and I hope the industry can figure out how to accomplish that amid the current anarchy of file sharing on the internet. I do not agree with the RIAA's tactics in attempting to quash this unstoppable giant. I think the Appeals Court got it right, here, but only time will tell if this decision sticks, as the RIAA is committed to "continue to defend our rights online on behalf of artists, songwriters and countless others involved in bringing music to the public."

On the other hand, while I haven't dabbled in P2P file sharing very much - I used Napster from time to time in its old form - I am feeling deterred from exploring this world b/c of the RIAA's threats against my money and my privacy. That said, most of the music I listen to is available for free on the internet legally anyway, or from websites like Fresh Tracks, which charges $2/month for unlimited legal downloads.

HERE is the DC Circuit Court of Appeals Decision...

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