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Finally, a Fair Fight with Big Music
September 12, 2002 8:17 AM   Subscribe

Finally, a Fair Fight with Big Music From a Business Week Online column..."Telecom giant Verizon is battling the industry's bid to make it name a file-sharing subscriber. It's also defending your right to privacy. On July 24, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) made an unprecedented request of Verizon Communications (VZ). The music industry's trade association served the telecom with a subpoena, seeking the identity of a Verizon subscriber who had allegedly illegally traded digital songs by artists including Britney Spears, Jennifer Lopez, and "boy band" N'Sync. The RIAA didn't specify why it wanted to know who the user was or what it would do with the information."
posted by fpatrick (22 comments total)

 
Oh my God, I'm actually rooting for Verizon. Up is down! Black is white!
posted by mkultra at 8:19 AM on September 12, 2002


Best part of the article: "Perhaps Verizon's "John Doe" should be charged with bad taste in music -- but not with anything else."
posted by stevengarrity at 8:25 AM on September 12, 2002


The less money that is made off of disingenuous, pre-fabricated music, the better we all are for it.
posted by Dark Messiah at 8:26 AM on September 12, 2002


News.com (who knew that their URL was news.com.com?) ran a story about this a few weeks back, wherein they interviewed Verizon's attorney, Sarah Deutsch.

There were links on slashdot and elsewhere, I believe.
posted by Sinner at 8:27 AM on September 12, 2002


Though I don't see a compelling optimistic outcome in either side, I think what this article means to emphasize is that both parties, simply by being ridiculously large and wealthy, can essentially have this fight tangled in court for years.

My personal fear is that this leads to a settlement in which Verizon suddenly realizes that a mass database of its users information, collected as per a forced update to their EULA, can be very profitable to someone like the RIAA that has enough spare cash to make access to that databse worth their while.

If Verizon is truly concerned about privacy, however, they should do what most huge companies ordered to do something usually do in this country: ignore the demands. Seems to have worked for Microsoft. (Not that I'm saying this is a good thing)
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:30 AM on September 12, 2002


allegedly illegally traded digital songs by artists including Britney Spears, Jennifer Lopez, and "boy band" N'Sync

Whew, it isn't me then. RIAA vs. telecom to the death! Let's face it...once file trading is effectively shut down (or severely restricted) there won't be as much of a reason to shell out for broadband DSL.
posted by JoanArkham at 8:30 AM on September 12, 2002


RIAA vs. telecom to the death!

I guess it would be unrealistic to hope that the battle ends with the bloodied corpses of both RIAA and Verizon lying in the dusty gutters...
posted by Sapphireblue at 8:35 AM on September 12, 2002


I guess it would be unrealistic to hope that the battle ends with the bloodied corpses of both RIAA and Verizon lying in the dusty gutters...

We can only hope...

I don't think that Verizon will cave on this issue, and then decide that their customer databases are valuable commodities for sale. If they went bonkers selling their customer information, they would get in additional legal trouble, as well as lose all respect of their customer base. Selling customer info isn't in their business plan, because it wouldn't be smart business.

I also don't think they will capitulate to RIAA's demands. No company likes having their stuff subpoenaed. If I had a company, i wouldn't want no pushy lawyers coming around to get into my records. I don't care who they are, those records are MINE and you can't have them. Also, this is a politically good position from Verizon to be in. Like some of the comments here, people will root for Verizon. Verizon would like their customers to think "Wow, good thing I chose Verizon as my ISP, they really fought for my rights." Among consumers, fighting off prying eyes is considered a good thing. Verizon has no reason to please the RIAA, but they have everything to gain by being seen as a champion to their customers.
posted by phidauex at 8:48 AM on September 12, 2002


I hope it's some 12 year old girl and they put her on some big public event perp walk and seethes at the audacity of the RIAA for persecuting children. Bastards.
posted by mogwai at 8:51 AM on September 12, 2002


OK, spell check just isn't enough this early in the morning.... make that "....and EVERYONE" seethes..."
posted by mogwai at 8:52 AM on September 12, 2002


Wow, look at that, I'm actually proud of my DSL provider.
posted by callmejay at 9:15 AM on September 12, 2002


"Can you hear me now?... Good."
posted by hotdoughnutsnow at 9:50 AM on September 12, 2002


hotdoughnutsnow: "Can you hear me now?... Good."

You just had to go there, didn't you :)?
posted by freakystyley at 9:57 AM on September 12, 2002


Will anonymity even matter in a few years?
posted by rhizome23 at 10:25 AM on September 12, 2002


err...?
posted by rhizome23 at 10:28 AM on September 12, 2002


I hope it's some 12 year old girl and they put her on some big public event perp walk and seethes at the audacity of the RIAA for persecuting children. Bastards.

Better yet if its's the nerdy child of some prominent Senator.
posted by HTuttle at 10:40 AM on September 12, 2002


Better yet -- if its a Senator.
posted by stvc15 at 11:39 AM on September 12, 2002


To borrow a phrase from JWZ, "what's next? Union Carbide vs. Philip Morris?"
posted by britain at 11:54 AM on September 12, 2002


everything phidauex said...

I would also think that one of the major reasons people purchase broadband connections is to gain easier access to music and video on the net. Anything that makes multimedia content easier to get at on the internet works in Verizon's favor.

The easier multimedia content is to get at, the easier it will be for more potential broadband customers to make the leap. File sharing has probably done more to make accessing multimedia content simple and inexpensive than any other phenomenon or business on the web. The presence of this easy access to content makes it easy for potential customers to justify paying 5 to 10 times more for a faster internet connection.

Therefor, anything or anyone who seeks to destroy the phenomenon of (multimedia) file sharing on the internet is working against Verizon's interests.

Even if you could successfully sell user information to groups like the RIAA, they would most likely be using it to prosecute your customers...which might mean the loss of a DSL line when that customer is arrested and fined/jailed/ordered off the net. It would have to be worth a LOT of money to the RIAA to make this worthwhile to Verizon.
posted by ruggles at 12:03 PM on September 12, 2002


Better yet, a member of Metallica.
posted by WolfDaddy at 2:06 PM on September 12, 2002


Be sure VERIZON isn't doing this for us! The law creates a record keeping nightmare for ISP's. They come out looking good but even they have admitted the provisions for logging ALL traffic from EVERY user on its system for 5 years would be expensive and almost impossible
posted by hoopyfrood at 7:14 AM on September 13, 2002


JoanArkham....I agree! Just the inflated prices of music makes up for the amount of business they loose. I remember as a youngin' about 15 years ago the music industry began promising us that the price would drop when "cd technology became the norm" I believe that was almost a decade ago. Most 30 somethings like myself use p2p to check out new music or to cull that 1 good song from a shitty record (the norm I'm afraid). Mostly myself I use it to find out of print "abandon ware music"
posted by hoopyfrood at 7:22 AM on September 13, 2002


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