Getting the names of file-swappers will now require a judge’s approval, according to a federal district court ruling on December 19. The news comes as a setback to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), which had filed more than 3000 subpoenas to get the identities of individuals suspected of illegally trading music online. A previous ruling would have allowed the RIAA to get this information from an ISP without any judicial approval. Chief Judge Douglas Ginsburg overruled this interpretation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act because it “lacks sufficient safeguards to protect an internet user’s ability to speak and associate anonymously.” Prof. Jonathan Zittrain comments on the decision in a report in The New York Times.
Last updated February 19, 2008