Piracy Deserves No Privacy

By: Frank Chao

The Recording Industry Association of America (“RIAA”), the music industry’s trade and lobbying group, recently initiated a controversial tactic to bring to surface previously anonymous digital pirates of the Internet. This aggressive tactic aims to make safe the digital oceans for copyright and involves identifying and bringing claims against infringing individuals who download, swap, and/or post copyrighted music illegally via the Internet. The RIAA cares not who the infringers are or whether the infringers know the illegality of their actions. Nor does the music industry concern itself with the inevitable storm of backlash bound to fall upon them for suing uninformed or unintentional infringers. Internet users and privacy advocates, however, care all too much. This i-brief attempts to alleviate the fears of privacy infringement by bringing to light certain safeguards built into the Digital Millennium Copyrights Act (“DMCA”) to deal with the possibility of both fraudulent identity subpoenas and infringement into personal privacy. In addition, case law will show that the subpoena powers of the DMCA will not be abused by those who truly wish to enforce copyright laws and legitimate claims of ownership, thereby maintaining the privacy of law abiding Internet users.

Cite: 2003 Duke L. & Tech. Rev. 0034