for Internet Users
If you are an Internet Service Provider, the
following information is critical for you:
Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) provides limitations on service
provider liability with respect to information residing, at direction of a
user, on a system or network that the service provider controls or operates,
if the service provider has designated an agent for notification of claimed
infringement by providing contact information to the Copyright Office and
through the service providerís
publicly accessible website.
You should be aware that, under a December 19,
ruling by the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, unanimously
ruled that the subpoenas processes in use by the music industry were
illegal. This court case means that the music industry cannot continue
to use subpoenas stamped by the clerk of the court, but rather that the
Recording Industry Association of American must file "John Does" lawsuits
that require the oversight of a judge or magistrate.
If you have not already registered a designated
agent with the library of Congress, you should do so immediately.
Information on the process and the registration form is available
If you have received a subpoena, letter or other
notification regarding copyright infringement by one of your subscribers,
the following steps are suggested:
Contact an attorney for legal assistance.
If you do not have an attorney familiar with copyright laws as they relate
to the Internet, there is a
list of attorneys on this site.
You may also refer you customers to this list of attorneys to assist in
Report any suspicious subpoenas you have
received to the
database being compiled by ChillingEffects.Org.
Also, subpoenas from persons you suspect legitimate copyright holders,
or who have intentions other than the enforcement of a copyright should
be reported to the database. Suspicious subpoenas include those
that are not accompanied by a court order; those issued under section
512(h) of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act; subpoenas that ask for
more information than the subscriber's name and address; or subpoenas
that do not permit you sufficient time to notify your subscribers that a
subpoena has been issued.
Be aware of court rulings on this issue.
In October of 2004, the RIAA asked a Pennsylvania district court to
issue subpoenas to ISPs for the names and addresses of people they
suspect of infringement. The court
ruled that the ISPs must first send
their customers detailed notices about the subpoenas, including
information about how the accused suspects can contest the subpoenas.
While this ruling applies only to subpoenas filed in Pennsylvania, it is
likely to become a precedent for other cases before the courts in other
Copyright holders cannot subpoena information that is not on the
ISP's server or in the logs. For information on user privacy for ISPs and accidental ISPs see the EFF page
on ISP Privacy.
If you have questions regarding your rights
and obligations or need help in locating resources, contact the
US Internet Industry Association.