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October 14, 2004
Verizon lawyer chats about online privacy and RIAA case
Washingtonpost.com has the transcript of an interesting online chat with Sarah Deutsch, a lawyer for Verizon, about online privacy, including the Supreme Court's recent denial of cert. in the RIAA v. Verizon case about DMCA subpoenas and file-sharers:
U Boulder, CO: I have heard that the RIAA has technologies that can find illegal downloaders online and track them. Is this stuff legal? Isn't that hacking? Do ISPs allow this kind of software on their networks?
Sarah Deutsch: The RIAA, MPAA and even the pornography industry (acting as a "copyright owners") are increasingly hiring Internet "bounty hunters" who use search tools, including search bots to scour the Internet for infringing files. Just like those mechanical spiders in the movie "Minority Report," the spiders go into users' shared folders on their hard drives and match file names to the names of copyrighted songs and movies. Unfortunately, the bots make mistakes,which is why one ISP received a notice demanding that they terminate a subscriber who had allegedly downloaded the Harry Potter movie when the attachment was actually the Harry Potter book report.
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