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Verizon to appeal in music download ID case

'Chilling effect on private communications'

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US ISP, Verizon, is to appeal against a court ruling which forces it to reveal the identity of one of its customers who is alleged to have illegally made available more than 600 copyrighted music files over the Internet.

Yesterday, US District Court Judge John Bates ruled in favour of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) in its dispute with the ISP Verizon.

He agreed that Verizon must release the identity in response to an "information subpoena" served by the RIAA last summer.

Verizon had refused to hand over the information claiming that the subpoena did not meet the requirements of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

Welcoming the court's decision Cary Sherman, President, RIAA, said: "Now that the court has ordered Verizon to live up to its obligation under the law, we look forward to contacting the account holder whose identity we were seeking so we can let them know that what they are doing is illegal."

But Verizon has condemned the ruling claiming that it will have a "chilling effect on private communications".

In a statement Sarah B Deutsch, VP and associate general counsel for Verizon said: "The court's decision has troubling ramifications for consumers, service providers and the growth of the Internet.

"It opens the door for anyone who makes a mere allegation of copyright infringement to gain complete access to private subscriber information without the due process protections afforded by the courts.

"This case will have a chilling effect on private communications, such as e-mail, surfing the Internet or the sending of files between private parties."

She said that Verizon was not attempting to shield customers who break copyright laws but sought to protect people's right to privacy.

Verizon said it would appeal the decision. ®

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