- “The court’s decision has troubling ramifications for consumers, service providers and the growth of the Internet,” said Sara Deutsch, vice president and associate general counsel for Verizon. “It opens the door for anyone who makes a mere allegation of copyright infringement to gain complete access to private subscriber information without the due process protections afforded by the courts.”
Until now, the entertainment industry has largely used the fast-track subpoena process to request information on people who post copyrighted material on individual Web sites that reside on computers owned by an Internet service provider. This time, however, the recording industry group asked for information on someone who was distributing material from a personal computer using the popular file-trading program KaZaA, rather than a central server.
….Anyone who can connect to the Internet from home can place files in a “shared folder,” and simply by running one of the sharing programs make material available to millions of users who search for it. Judge Bates’s ruling, the recording industry said, would prevent people from shielding themselves with this type of software.
….Verizon argues that the bargain was not intended to get service providers to police subscribers who used their own computers to perform illegal acts. Some legal experts said the ruling could allow copyright holders to privately threaten people who might have a defense but lack the resources to fight the entertainment industry.
“I’m concerned about the number of enforcement actions that don’t ever get to court,” said Jessica Litman, author of “Digital Copyright” (Prometheus, 2001) and a law professor at Wayne State University. “It’s one thing to say I want this person’s identity so I can file suit. It’s another thing to say I want this person’s identity so I can interfere with their connectivity to the Internet.”