Now They're After You: Music Cops Target Users

Wednesday, 12 March 2003, 4:42 PM EST

Millions of people download copyrighted songs and even movies from the Internet with little fear of being caught. That's about to change.

"[The music industry is] starting to move down the food chain," says Lawrence Hertz, a partner at New York law firm Hall Dickler Kent Goldstein and Wood, and a specialist in online law.

He predicts that music publishers and other content owners will soon use 1998's Digital Millennium Copyright Act much more aggressively--prosecuting not only companies like Napster but also individuals who download copyrighted content--and that they will start with the biggest users of peer-to-peer networks.

The new strategy became evident last year when the Recording Industry Association of America served Verizon with a subpoena demanding that the service provider disclose the identity of a user who uploaded more than 600 songs while connected to the company's Internet service.

Verizon protested, but recently a U.S. district court judge ruled in favor of the RIAA and ordered Verizon to reveal the user's identity.

[ Read more ]




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