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ComputerWire: IT Industry Intelligence

The copyright infringement lawsuit filed against four major US backbone ISPs by the Recording Industry Association of America has been dropped, the RIAA said yesterday, after a controversial music download site went offline of its own accord.

"In an apparent response to the extensive anti-piracy efforts of the international music industry, www.listen4ever.com has been offline since Sunday," the RIAA said in a statement, before adding: "The voluntary withdrawal of today's lawsuit does not preclude further litigation if www.listen4ever.com should reconstitute itself."

The organization had sued AT&T Corp, Sprint Corp, Cable & Wireless Plc and UUNet Technologies Inc (a unit of WorldCom Inc) late last week, saying that the companies were in a position to block US internet users from access the site, which was hosted on servers in China.

The case would have been the first test of a provision of the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act that allows copyright holders to force ISPs to block certain sites from their users when the site in question is hosted outside the jurisdiction of US law. Some critics fear this provision could ultimately mean an ISP copyright police force and slower international internet traffic.

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