- Four Internet users at the center of a legal battle over copyright violations will receive cease-and-desist letters demanding they stop illegally offering free music for downloading, the Recording Industry Association of America said Wednesday.
A U.S. appeals court ruling earlier this month compelled Verizon Communications Inc. to hand over to the association the names of the four subscribers. A spokesman for the RIAA, Jonathan Lamy, declined to identify the subscribers or release copies of the letters.
Lamy said that a fifth person, a customer of Earthlink Inc., also will receive an identical cease-and-desist letter. Earthlink lawyers had balked at identifying their customer to the association until after the recent appeals court ruling.
….Critics of the procedure contend judges ought to be more directly involved, given the potential privacy issues involved when a corporation is asked to reveal personal information about customers over an allegation of wrongdoing.
Verizon has challenged the constitutionality of such copyright subpoenas. Arguments in the appeals court are set for Sept. 16. [AP]
So the RIAA isn’t suing them (yet), or charging them with anything (yet), just telling them to cut it the hell out. I would guess they are doing this for PR reasons, and because of the Verizon appeal set for September. Sounds like the music police still aren’t sure they are going to win this in the long run, and given the constitutional implications of guilty until proven innocent, how can they?