CE comments on RIAA v. Verizon ruling

“Yesterday’s ruling marks a dark day for privacy, free expression, and technological innovation. If this ruling stands, anyone claiming to be a copyright owner will be able to obtain the identity of Internet users without any prior legal determination that the user has engaged in an illegal activity.

“No American should live in fear that their ISP will be required to turn over their identity to any self-asserted copyright holder simply because someone claims you are doing something illegal.

“This ruling could have a chilling effect on manufacturers who seek to develop new technologies that help consumers harness and leverage the power of the Internet. This ruling also could expose Internet users to enormous risk by facilitating fraud, stalking, or “fishing expeditions” for personal information.

“This case underscores the critical need to develop a balanced, common sense approach to legitimate concerns about transmission of copyrighted content over the Internet that respects copyright while preserving established fair use rights. Surely when it passed the DMCA, Congress did not envision that the Act’s subpoena provision would be used against home Internet users.

“Clearly, we need Congress to act quickly to acknowledge and reinforce the crucial distinction between illegal infringement and authorized fair use. Specifically, Congress should provide a fair use exception to the anti-circumvention provisions of the DMCA and insist that judicial review be required prior to the grant of a subpoena under 17 USC 512 (h).

“Meanwhile, CEA will continue to work closely with our colleagues in the content community and with the Congress to establish pro-innovation, pro-consumer solutions to digital rights management issues.”

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