EU - Privacy, Piracy and Due Process in Peer-to-Peer File Swapping Suits +/-
(FindLaw) by Anita Ramasastry. Since 2003, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has been suing peer-to-peer (P2P) file swappers and downloaders. The RIAA alleges, in its suits, that P2P file swapping and downloading, when it involves pirated files, violates copyright law - and, at times, also the Digital Music Copyright Act (DMCA). RIAA typically files a "John Doe" lawsuit based on an Internet Protocol (IP) address connected to P2P trading via Kazaa, Grokster, Limewire, or another, similar system. The suit is often filed in the jurisdiction where the relevant Internet Service Provider (ISP) is located. Once the suit is filed, the RIAA subpoenas the ISP to force it to disclose the real name of the "John Doe" associated with the IP address. That person, however, is not necessarily the file trader - it may instead be a relative, college roommate, or landlord. And neither that person - nor the file trader, if he or she is a different person - is given prior notice and a chance to fight the subpoena. In a Pennsylvania civil copyright infringement action, Elektra Entertainment Group et al v. Does 1-6, the court held that before revealing the "John Does'" information, Penn must first alert the John Does; explain what has happen; and explain how they may contest the charges against them. The court also provided a model notice attached to its order for Penn to use.