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ISP strikes back: Pac Bell Internet arm sues RIAA

Howard Wen
09:45 AM ET (US)
Here's the deal: What if one of the customers that the RIAA sues claims that s/he is completely innocent, and that there was a technical error of some sort? What if the defendant, with the money and will to fight, requests that their service provider supply records of some kind that would help his/her defense? What if this person also sues the ISP for this supposed technical screw-up, which caused them to be mistakingly marked by the RIAA? These possibilities are not unlikely -- they probably will happen. This will require expanded legal departments, which, in turn, will raise the price of broadband service, which could also stymie growth in the broadband sector -- one of the few areas where the telcos still have some advantage over the mobile phone marketplace.

I am stunned, actually, that the telcos haven't started questioning this till now. If this continues, then it's not at all unrealistic that the telcos will, essentially, be having to serve as copyright policemen for the RIAA and the MPAA, and not get directly compensated for it. Never mind their customers -- the telcos themselves should be mightily pissed about this.
Ernie LongmirePerson was signed in when posted
04:17 PM ET (US)
I doubt it's out of any true concern over the constitutional issues or resentment over having to jump through the RIAA's hoops -- more likely, the big telcos realize if the P2P networks get shut down, that's 60 million people with one less reason to pay for a 24/7 home Internet connection.
Edited 07-31-2003 04:20 PM
Eli the BeardedPerson was signed in when posted
02:34 PM ET (US)
First Verizon not wanting to reveal a customer's name to the
RIAA, now this.

I'm a surprised by this turn of events. I didn't think the
baby bells had it in them.
DarkORBPerson was signed in when posted
11:58 AM ET (US)
haha. oh yeah, I just hope more of the telcos follow PAC Bell's lead.
Howard Wen
11:02 AM ET (US)
This could be the start of a fight that's similar to SCO's against the Linux community. SCO is threatening the bottom line of a much bigger rival, IBM, and IBM will probably prevail in the end due to its sheer size, experience, and resources.

The telco industry is far more powerful and richer than the music industry. But for some reason, they haven't flexed their clout that much as of late. The RIAA's actions could threaten the telco industry's future growth. If they have to keep acting as a clearinghouse for the RIAA's subpoenas, this could affect their bottom line. Plus, the telcos may feel that they're being asked to do the RIAA's work, at their own expense, and I could see them becoming resentful of this.
Edited 07-31-2003 11:02 AM
cypherpunksPerson was signed in when posted
08:32 AM ET (US)
The communications companies are an order of magnitude wealthier than the recording companies. If they were smart, they would buy the recording companies, embrace P2P, make the music free, and make their money selling DSL to everyone.
08:03 AM ET (US)
that owns. RIAA should die, nothing but trouble.
05:48 AM ET (US)
oh yeah! Lawyer fight between horribly rich corporate entities! I'm completely psyched about this.

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