CEA Comments On Recent RIAA Court Ruling

“The holiday season began in earnest today for U.S. consumers, entrepreneurs and technology manufacturers. Today’s ruling is an important victory for privacy, free expression, and technological innovation. The tactics of the copyright holders, now blocked by the Circuit Court, created an Orwellian world of privacy invasion, secret police and no judicial oversight. Generally, under the initial ruling, anyone claiming to be a copyright owner could obtain the identity of Internet users without any prior legal determination that the user had engaged in an illegal activity.

“The Appeals court decision reaffirms what should be a basic principle of the digital age: 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 also sends a strong message of encouragement to manufacturers who seek to develop exciting and innovative new technologies that help consumers harness and leverage the power of the Internet.

“Millions of consumers are enjoying the benefits of viable, fee-based digital content downloads now that these services provide them with the flexibility to record and move that content from platform to platform for reasonable costs. We urge copyright holders to continue to develop these types of viable business models that offer high value to consumers instead of pursuing draconian measures which invade basic privacy.

“The overall case underscores the critical need to develop a balanced, common sense approach to legitimate concerns about transmission of copyrighted content over the Internet. Such an approach must respect copyright and intellectual property enforcement while preserving established fair use rights and our fundamental right to privacy. We urge Congress to reinforce the crucial distinction between illegal infringement and authorized fair use, as well as ensure fundamental rights to due process and judicial review.

“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.”